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Cape Malay Cuisine in the Bo-Kaap



2010-03-10

Cape Town is a fascinating place, famous for its iconic Table Mountain, beautiful beaches, shimmering Atlantic Ocean and breathtaking landscapes. But beyond the natural splendour, South Africa's Mother City is filled with history and hosts a melting pot of peoples and cultures, exuding a vibrancy and multiculturalism that still woos even your regular Capetonians.

And at Bike & Saddle, we like to delve beneath the surface, to show you the Cape Town beyond the picture perfect postcards and tourist brochures. We are passionate about this city, and while it has its problems, we see ourselves as part of the solution rather than part of the problem. It is for this reason that we support Community Libraries in underprivileged areas through our Books on Bikes campaign.

And it is also for this reason that we integrate local communities into our tours. On our full day Discover the Cape Cycle, we ride around the charming peninsula in the morning before enjoying a spa treatment in the afternoon. It is then that we embark on a guided walk of the Bo-Kaap (Upper Cape), a historic area known as the Cape Malay quarter of Cape Town. The residents of the Bo-Kaap are mostly descended from the slaves “imported” to the Cape by the Dutch in the 17th century. They were incorrectly called Cape Malays as not all were entirely of Malaysian descent - many came from India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Mozambique and other parts of Africa. The Dutch imported slaves who were political exiles, convicts, skilled craftsmen, artisans, famous scholars and religious leaders. Declared an exclusive residential area for Cape Muslims under the Group Areas Act of 1950, people of other religions and ethnicity were forced to leave.

Today this area is a vibrant, colourful and cultural melting pot. On our guided walk, we wander the colourful streets, visit the Bo-Kaap museum, learn about the history, hardships, and accomplishments of the Cape Moslem community and mingle with the locals. And no visit would be complete without sampling Cape Malay cuisine, which has become an integral part of wining and dining in the city. We stop at Latiefa Larney’s house, a local who has been resident in the Bo-Kaap for over 30 years. Latiefa’s cooking is renowned - her food has been featured in the New York Times and she has been welcoming guests into her home for many years. Here one can enjoy traditional Cape Malay cuisine, such as samoosas, bobotie (curried mince with egg custard), sosaties (spicy chicken kebabs) and much more, while Latiefa delves into the fascinating history of the area – this is a unique experience exclusive to Bike & Saddle!

The walk through the colourful streets ends with the muezzin’s call, having experienced Cape Malay hospitality at its very best. We presently stop for snacks and drinks in the Bo-Kaap but if guests would like a freshly prepared Cape Malay meal, instead of dinner at the Signal Restaurant (at the Cape Grace Hotel), we are happy to arrange this and Latiefa Larney will provide a full spread after the guided walk. It is our way of putting you first!

Want to know more? Contact us to book your Cape Town trip of a lifetime!