Eating and drinking in the Karoo is a culinary experience not to be missed. The Karoo is a large area with many towns! The region offers a variety of traditional and wholesome Karoo dining experiences to suit all tastes and budgets! From the deliciously diverse flavours of South Africa’s indigenous and multi-cultural rainbow cuisine to culinary specialities from all over the world.

Well known Karoo dishes include:

The Karoo is well known for its Lamb...It is here in the Karoo that many international chefs source lamb and mutton for their acclaimed kitchens. Just ask any renowned South African chef where he or she sources lamb, and the answer is likely to be, "From the Karoo, of course!"

It is believed that Karoo lamb is tastier and more flavoursome than lamb from other regions, the reason being the different types of shrubbery which the sheep in this region feed on. The fragrant bushes in the Karoo impart an unmistakable ‘herbiness' to the lamb. Here, the sheep roam freely on farms eating the Karoo vegetation to their hearts content!

How you prepare your lamb depends on the cut you are using. The tougher cuts of lamb need to be treated accordingly. Shanks and stewing cuts need to be cooked for longer at a lower temperature and served cooked through. The more premium cuts like the rack, fillets and rump can be grilled or roasted and served pink. Rosemary and garlic are used to bring out the best flavours in lamb.

But whatever method you choose to prepare your lamb, when cooking specifically with Karoo lamb, avoid using large amounts of herbs and spices, as this will spoil the unique taste of the Karoo Lamb!

Areas where you will taste delicious karoo lamb include the western part of the Northern Cape, through the southern Free State, Eastern Cape and the Western Cape towns of Prince Albert, Laingsburg and Beaufort West.

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Ostrich: Ostrich meat is known as the most healthy of all red meat. Its distinct, subtle taste and versatility has made ostrich meat a most sought after menu item by hoteliers, restaurateurs, home cooks and caterers throughout the world. It is high in protein, cholesterol free and low in kilojoules & fat.

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Braaivleis (BBQ): The word braaivleis is Afrikaans for “roasted meat.”  The word braai (pronounced “bry”, rhyming with the word “cry”; plural braais) is Afrikaans for “barbecue” or “roast” and is a social custom in South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia. It originated with the Afrikaner people, but has since been adopted by South Africans of many ethnic backgrounds. The word vleis is Afrikaans for “meat”.

The traditional South African braai is a social event... a big fire is made with wood, while the men & woman socialise enjoying a few glasses of wine or beer! Once the wood has made sufficient coals, the meat is placed on the grid and cooked over the hot coals. The "Braai" is a regular weekend activity for most South Africans!

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Potjiekos: Potjiekos ("Small pot of food") originated with the Voortrekkers, evolving as a stew made of venison and vegetables cooked in the potjie. Traditionally, the recipe includes meat, vegetables and potatoes all slow-cooked with various spices. Traditionally, liquid should never be added to the pot and the contents should never be stirred, as the lid keeps all liquids and flavors circulating throughout cooking. Usually served with rice or "mielie pap".

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Bredie: South Africans are the kings (and queens) of a wide array of comforting bredies (Afrikaans for stew), that will warm the coldest of hearts! From Tamatie Bredie (tomato stew), Boontjie Bredie (bean stew) to the somewhat more quirky ones like Waterblommetjie Bredie. Ingredients usually include meat (lamb or beef), vegetables (either tomato, green beans or waterblommetjies) and potatoes. Usually served with rice.

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Bobotie: Bobotie, a staple of South African cuisine. It is believed to have originated with the Dutch and gets its name from the Indonesian word "Bobotok". Bobotie has been part of the South African cuisine since about the 27th century. Back then it was made mainly with mutton and pork which were combined. Nowadays it is usually made using either beef or lamb mince. Dried fruits such as raisons and apricots can also be added. Flavoured with mild curry, the mince is then topped with a milk and egg mixture and baked in the oven. Usually served with yellow rice with raisins.

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Biltong: Biltong is basically cured, spiced, air-dried meat. Biltong was developed as a means of preserving meat so that there would be meat available during the lean hunting season (many African tribes still use a version of biltong in this context), as well as to provide a non-perishable source of meat to early pioneers as they travelled inland. Traditionally, the whole beef carcass was used to make biltong, although today silverside, topside and flank are most commonly used. Although beef is the meat most commonly used, other meats used include ostrich and various types of game (kudu, springbok, blesbok and impala). The meat is cured using salt, then washed with vinegar and finally seasoned with spices (usually salt, pepper, sugar and coriander).

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Roosterkoek: Roosterkoek is the traditional bread to accompany a braai (BBQ). The roosterkoek are simply balls of bread dough cooked on a grid over the coals, and are best eaten piping hot, straight off the grill with butter and jam!

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Koeksisters: Koeksisters are a South African pastry, deep-fried and then dipped in a spicy sugar syrup. Similar to a doughnut, the koeksister is made by twisting/ braiding either 2 or 3 small strips of dough, deep frying them and dipping them in a ginger and cinnamon spiced sugar syrup.

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Rusks: Rusk biscuit recipes vary - the basic recipe can include flour, a raising ingredient such as yeast, potato yeast, baking powder and buttermilk, oil or butter and eggs. Other ingredients such as aniseed, muesli or almonds may be added to the mixture. Rusk biscuits are a snack food, commonly enjoyed when dunked in hot drinks such as coffee or tea.