Out And About: Kasi Style Street Food From Langa Township In Cape Town

Out And About: Kasi Style Street Food From Langa Township In Cape Town

 

Do you ever buy food from the street vendors? Or are you one of those concerned about the hygiene?

Personally growing up I used to sneer at the thought of buying, let alone eating street food.  My mom used to buy for herself while my sisters and I watched in disgust.  One day she bought fried sheep liver and we were drawn by the mouth-watering aroma,  we actually wanted to taste …..maybe we were hungry.   Ever since I never looked back……..

 

Kasi Style Street Food

Umbona / Braaied Mealies

I recently visited Langa Township in Cape Town on a Saturday afternoon and had chats with three street vendors, MaDlamini, Mam’Msobo and Zukisa.  They are selling chops and wors; cooked & braaied mealies and braaied chicken, respectively.  Their stalls are situated around the taxi rank where the streets are buzzing with people everywhere.  There are many of them in the same area selling raw and cooked food.    I was thrilled by the courtesy they showed me despite their competitive work.

 

The first time I visited Mam’Msobo we spoke about how she could improve the hygiene and she was very keen on improving.  I visited again after a month and I was very happy to see that she’s made a few changes and planning to do more.

The food sold by these vendors is very tasty and most of it has cultural relevance for an example the braaied mealies and cooked tripe.

I asked the people who say they wouldn’t buy the food why they say so.  They all say it’s a concern about the hygiene that compels them not to buy.   Some say there are usually a lot of flies around the food especially in the summer season and that puts them off.  Fair enough, the visibility of flies around food can put anyone off.  However, these vendors solely survive on the money they make from selling the food.  Families are raised, houses are built, and children are sent to school all from the money made from selling food on the streets.  The families also get involved in the business i.e. MamMsobo has her teenage son Simphiwe helping her, MaDlamini’s teenage daughter always comes to help on weekends and Zukisa was working with his teenage nephew on the day I visited.

 

Everyone is talking about the 25% of the population that is unemployed.  Honestly, there’ll always be people that are unemployed, but what is inspirational about these food vendors is the initiative they took to make a living.  They could have been beggars on the street with cutouts reading “unemployed, I need money to feed my family” but they are not.

Evidently,  they are getting support from the locals judging from the mere fact that they continue being committed to the business.  Perhaps they just need help on how they can improve the hygiene aspect i.e. if hygiene is the only thing putting people off.

My plea is that we support and advise the food vendors on how they can improve their business.

What’s your opinion on street food?  Do you ever buy it?

Author Info

Thuli

Thuli Gogela is a Food Technologist with 8 years of experience developing products in food manufacturing. She is dedicated to discovering wholesome traditional dishes and recipes with a distinctive taste from different parts of the African continent. Thuli is well known for her food blog, Mzansi Style Cuisine which was established in 2010. She saw a gap in the traditional food market that people were hungry for. From there, it didn’t take long to build her brand. In 2013, she started writing a recipe column for the Cape Times for and has collaborated with some of the biggest brands in South Africa namely, Knorr, Nedeburg Wines, First Choice and Spekko rice. Not only does Thuli feature traditional African dishes, she’s also open to developing recipes, food consultations and brand collaborations.

Comments ( 6 )

  • Great stuff! I love shisa Nyama and in Pretoria those white corn we dont get in the western or eastern cape.

    • Hi Baglady! Now that you mention it I haven’t seen the white mealies in western cape….I’ll make a turn in Pretoria sometime next week…please join me if you can 🙂

  • BlueWolF

    Perhaps, in general, the street vendors, having open fires is also a real problem.
    As for the flies and other general riff-raff, there is a possible solution.
    I haven’t tried it yet, mebbe you guys can !!!

    I would consider enclosing the cooking area,
    on the stall beams, at cooking height,
    hang fresh herbs renowned for insect repellant properties,
    rosemary, thyme, lavender etc – in bunches – like they are being dried.
    My favourite is Lemon Verbena.
    They can be used, (except the verbena) to flavour marinades (when dried or fresh),
    and also creates a culture for preserving the earth and her magic herbs.
    It may inspire “permanent” street vendors to set permanent stalls,
    with these type of hedges around them – I would love to see it happen !!!!
    Then I would partake !! *W0lF Gr1n*

    Take it easy Thuli
    *best regards*

    • Hi BlueWolf, you know what they say say “where there is smoke there’s a fire” in this case its “where there’s a fire there’s smoke” haha! I’ll work with one of the vendors put your suggestions to the test (I’ll make it my own little project) but in summer. Seriously though you should the food..its great you’ll love it 🙂

  • Great post! I don’t mind eating street food as long as I know the people preparing the food try to keep everything clean. I would also be put off if there are a lot of flies or insects around.

    • Hi Alisa! Some people I have spoken to argue by saying flies are everywhere even at home. It’s just a matter of managing them. If I notice that a vendor is at least doing something to reduce / prevent flies i.e. covering up the food then I buy. Thanks for the visit and your comment !:-)

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