What are the differences in etiquette when it comes to dining in South Africa?

By Go Touch Down Travel and Tours
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Food etiquette in South Africa is mostly westernized, with some of its own idiosyncrasies.  For instance, it's acceptable to eat pasta by twirling it onto a fork with the aid of a spoon, and to eat lobster with your hands. The popular braai (barbeque-grill) is another occasion where you can use your hands. In rural areas, traditional stew and mealie pap are also eaten with the hands - use your right hand only and roll the pap into a ball with your fingers, then dip it into the stew and eat.

Most restaurants supply bread rolls as you wait for your meals - these should be broken and buttered a piece at a time.


At fine dining restaurants, dress a little more formally towards a smart-casual look.  Most other eateries, however, are extremely informal, and in the many family-friendly establishments South African food etiquette is relaxed.


If you are invited to dine at the home of South Africans or share a braai with them, it is good etiquette to take a box of chocolates or a bunch of flowers, or a small gift as a token of appreciation.

Want to learn more? Go back to Frequently Asked Questions.

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