Explore your city, through your stomach
The Street Food Festival has nibbled its way into the hearts and calendars of SA’s foodies, becoming one of the most fun culinary events of the year
It’s not every day you get dolled up like a hot dog. And yet, there I was at the Street Food Festival (SFF) two years ago, hopping into a sausage suit in a flashy, silver-lined room, my friend festooned as a loose leaf of garnish. Honestly, dressing up as food for the simple purpose of taking selfies was really one of the more fun food experiences I’ve had. Stuffing my face with a Thali fish taco at the same festival a year later ranks up there too.
The SFF has nibbled its way into the hearts and calendars of SA’s foodies, becoming one of the most fun culinary events of the year. Last week it was named by National Geographic as one of the world’s top 25 unmissable food and drinks festivals.
The SFF has always been more than a single market day.
Now in its fifth year, the festival has evolved into a 10-day gathering across Joburg and Cape Town — from August 31 to September 9, to be exact. In short, it’s a bonanza of all things edible, on the go.
Of course, there will be a lot of great food on offer. In Cape Town, you can gorge yourself on treats from Sharky’s Tacos, Kleinsky’s and Exotically Divine.
There will also be DJs, an acclaimed Indian food movie screening and a treasure map of places across town that will serve special tasty treats for the week.
There are various food walks lined up, but I particularly like the sound of one that will delve into the heart of the Joburg’s West African food scene.
Prefer something more sedentary? The festival’s "crate talks" are essentially mini conferences at which some of SA’s more ingenious and inspiring local food purveyors enlighten crate-seated audiences. This year Capetonians can learn a thing or two from Dial-A-Koesister, which delivers delicious warm koesisters to your door on a Sunday morning; Toast Ale, which brews beer using unsold bread loaves and unused crusts; and Jeremy Barty, founder of BreadRev, an organisation built to uplift communities through artisanal bread sales in Cape Town.
In Joburg, Kgosi Rampa and Sifiso Dlangamandla will break down how they co-founded Soweto’s beloved (and endlessly cool) Locrate Market and the Makhelwane Festival, for which houses along Poka Street are transformed into eateries and art galleries for three days.
Mokgadi Mabela of Native Nosi, an FM favourite, will talk about the first black woman-owned bee farm, where she and her family produce incredible organic indigenous honey.
As a plus, Studio H, the design outfit that conceptualises and produces the festival, has also created SFF Loves.
This initiative supports a different food-related cause every year.
For 2018 it has chosen FoodForward SA, an organisation that collects surplus food from manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers to redistribute to nonprofits running food programmes that feed thousands daily. You can support this by buying some virtual street food from its online store, whether you get to SFF or not.
• For info and tickets visit streetfoodfestival.co.za