Just about every matchup we create here on The World Cup of Food has been interesting and exciting for us, teaching us things about the cuisines and cultures of the world that we probably would never have stumbled upon on our own. In no region is this more true than in Africa. We are coming to realize that we enjoy African food a great deal, and choosing African nations for elimination has been a tough process. The case of Egypt versus South Africa is no exception. On the one hand, there is probably no greater melting pot cuisine on the continent than that of South Africa, where influences from what seems like about fifty different cultures have melded together to form what we see today on the South African table. Egypt, on the other hand, with its early advances in agriculture and technology, has laid much of the groundwork in ancient times for the modern cuisines of the Middle East and North Africa.
South African food is the result of the influences of its indigenous cultures, like the Sotho and the Nguni, and of the many waves of colonization and immigration from Europe and Asia that have come in over the last few hundred years. The Dutch, Germans, French, Indonesians, Malays, Indians, Afrikaaners, and British have all come to South Africa throughout its history and have all had significant impacts on the national table. Many dishes, like Potjiekos (a meat and vegetable stew of Afrikaaner origin) or bunny chow (hollowed-out bread filled with curry of Indian origin) are mainly descended from a single influencing cuisine. Others, like bobotie (recipe follows) borrow a little bit of everything.