The Growing Food Truck Industry in South Africa

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Not lagging behind in food trends is South Africa where a growing number of new food trucks are seen sprouting all over the main cities and many of them doing exceptionally well. Aside from being convenient, food trucks are a good way to get your feet and hands dirty as a budding entrepreneur provided you have an intense love for food.

The growth of food trucks in South Africa is not as frenzied as in the United States but one noticeable difference is that many of the new South African food trucks are well-thought out and planned. Even obtaining permits is not as big a hassle as the licensing hardships in other countries. There is a Food Truck Association that helps food trucks set up and market their business. Like most food trucks around the world, the most problematic problem is finding a good location that is permissible to park in without encountering problems with authorities and local residents. For instance, according to the Cape Town City Council, Cape Town does not have laws about food trucks so much of the work is done by the private sector who consider food trucks as street vendors.

Some of the exciting food trucks to watch out for while in South Africa are:

Balkan Burger Bus – This family-run business which claims to be the first “proper food truck” in South Africa is actually a bus that serves lunch every day in Johannesburg. Their bestseller is their Balkan burger which is served with a red pepper sauce in special somun buns. They have been getting excellent reviews from respected individuals like Anthony Bourdain and the local food authorities.

Limoncello –  Limoncello is the first food truck under the Cape Town Food Trucks banner. It is owned and operated by Chef Luca who serves spaghetti vera, calzone, fresh tuna, risotto, and other Southern Italy cuisine.

Durban’s Finest Curry – Bunny chows and curries are the specialties on the menu for this food truck which also has meat-free Mondays, low carb meals, and an amazing cauli rice. They travel around a lot so the best way to catch is by following them on Twitter.

Full of Beans – This is a unique street food concept that serves coffee from a trike that looks like a truck. Owned and operated by Brazilian Marco Mordoh, Full of Beans started in 2007 and uses a Piaggio Tri-Vespa to mount his food truck coffee business.

Other food trucks in South Africa that are making a name for themselves are Die Wors Rol (gourmet hotdogs), Treat frozen yoghurt, Tutto food truck (paella), Vuyo’s (boerewors), and Down to Earth Farm Feast.

South Africa’s Food Road Trip with the South African Baz Bus

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Baz Bus
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Just like Europe has the Eurorail, South Africa offers backpackers and those who have an adventurous spirit to try their Baz Bus. This is a hop on, hop off bus service with a one ticket system. All you need to do is buy one ticket to your destination. You can hop on and hop off at any point from the time you leave your point of origin to the time you reach your ticket destination. From end to end, there are 40 cities, villages, and towns. A ticket holder is not pressured to get to his or her destination because there is no time limit. Is this not the food trip, fully-packed adventure of a lifetime or not?

The best way to plan your trip on the Baz Bus is to indulge in your food cravings for local street cuisine. Some of the most popular street foods in South Africa are:

Biltong – This is dried meat you can buy at any convenience store, bus stop. It’s a salty snack and comes in chili or barbeque flavors. Read the packaging before you buy since different meat is used. Some are made from springbok, beef, or ostrich.

Gatsby – This sandwich is found in many streets in Cape Town. It looks like a typical deli sandwich but has hot chips, hot sauce, and a South African pickle called atchar served with meat on a baguette.

The Smiley – Be ready to grit your teeth when you bite into this barbequed sheep’s head usually sold with bread good enough for 4 people and a liter of soda. The eyeballs and brains are especially delicious. It’s a great meal on the road and is called so because of the toothy smile you see on the sheep when it comes off the braai.

The Bunny Chow – This meal is common in many places around the country but more so in Durban because of the large Indian community. It’s a fabulous curry meal served on a hollowed bread bun.

Samoosa – Found in Cape Town, the samoosa is a cheap pastry-filled fried snack that can contain meat and vegetables or just vegetables for those who can’t eat meat. It has Malay and Muslim influences and is convenient because you can easily tuck into your backpack to eat on the bus.

There are other South African street foods like the sausage sandwiches called the boerie roll, sosatie which is lamb or beef barbeque, and pap en vieis which is a corn meal with chicken. With pap, just make sure you buy from a vendor who has a lot of customers or is recommended by someone you can trust. There have been cases of poorly slaughtered chicken that have caused stomach and digestion problems.