Comfort food: Like a hug from the inside
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Comfort food: Like a hug from the inside

27 Jun 2018 FOOD

By: Natasha Archary



Comfort food. It’s what we lean towards when we’ve had a day straight from hell. If you’re in your feels about the stresses of life or the Winter blues have got you good, and all you want is to collapse onto the couch with a tray of freshly baked brownies…do so.


Psychologists say we crave the comfort of food when we feel emotional or stressed because of our social connection to particular foods. The nostalgia of a favourite family meal or feeling when you first tried chocolate (insert your favourite snack or food here) is something we are in search for when we feel down.


It’s also linked to the people who we shared that meal with for the first time. In other words, human beings tend to equate happy memories with food. This is how we remember a good or bad experience. Which may explain the notion of stress eating.


South Africans definitely have a huge food culture, we love sharing meals with friends and loved ones. In many cultures, food is an expression of love and this is why comfort food makes us feel better, even if we’re not hungry.


There are many who swear by family recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation but with our health obsession, there are now twists on traditional comfort food recipes. Including beetroot, baby marrows, carrots, avocado and other veggies and fruit into dessert recipes means fewer calories but promises no compromise on taste.


Here’s a list of South Africa’s favourite comfort foods:


Amagwinya (Vetkoek)

Devoured with atchar, polony or preferably mince, these light and fluffy balls of fried dough are a firm favourite. Living up to its name, “vetkoek” literally translates to fat cake. You can also serve these with apricot jam but the savoury fillings and atchar are…(wipes drool) yummy.

Shisa Nyama/ Braaivleis

South Africans love their meat, we love braaied meat even more. All year round, rain or shine, if you have an indoor braai or ventilated patio, nothing stops us from charcoal grilling meat perfection. Boerewors, “tjops” (chops), steak, chicken, pork, the more variety the better the braai.



There’s been social media panic after local celebrities, chefs and home cooks shared their modern way of serving this much loved staple. We’ve seen it with pretty much every cuisine around the world and some things are just better left untouched. If it isn’t broken why fix it right? You can serve it with chakalaka (another South African favourite) or gravy.



Samp and beans to the un-initiated. A meal that is said to have been a favourite of the late Nelson Mandela himself. It’s great with stews but can be served any way you please.



Nothing beats a potjie with friends and family. Bringing everyone together over food cooked on open coals, in a cast iron three-legged pot, the potjie is a South African tradition. Potjie’s were traditionally stews with meat and veggies but there are so many South African recipes for a “lekker” potjie that it can be enjoyed no matter the season.



Different parts of the country, have their own unique way of preparing stewed tripe. Enjoyed practically everywhere around the world from France, to China this South African delicacy is slow cooked for hours until tender. Usually served with fermented stiff porridge called ting.



Other South African comfort foods include:

Chicken feet

Chicken livers

Milk Tart

Malva Pudding


Bunny Chow


What are you favourite comfort foods and how do you feel when you eat them? Share with us using the hashtag #KayaOnline and tweet @KayaFM95dot9

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