What’s the difference being hungry and having the munchies? Let me give you an example. If they were hungry, Harold and Kumar would have settled for the Mc Donalds on the corner, but they had the munchies so Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle. We’ve curated a list of the best munchies, however there will be no Skittles or Doritos on this list – these munchies are as South African as Siyaya’s swerving sideways down Jan Smuts. The list is not ranked and is in no way definitive – if you find yourself with a packed bowl in one hand, and of these munchies in the other, the goal would’ve been achieved.
Pink, blue, green, red or purple? Either way, fizzers deliver a sensational fizzing in your mouth and couple that with its chewy elasticity, you get a knockout of a confectionary. The sweet is made by Beacon and has been a staple for goodie bags since the beginning of time.
Simba put their best foot forward with this spicy tomato snack, or is it ghost flavour? Ghost Pops first appeared on the scene around 1989 to coincide with the release of Ghostbusters 2 in South Africa, the first packages even featured a “no ghost” sign in the “O,” which was very similar to the Ghostbusters logo. The baked snack is irresistible and the sweet and spicy flavour is nothing short of haunting.
The classic Simba Chippie deserves its own section when it comes to proudly South African munchies. A stalwart of our food industry, they deliver quality goods and introduce new flavours regularly (some with distinct South African flavours like Steers Monkey and Mrs Balls’ Chutney.) However, the Creamy Cheddar flavour is currently the king of Pride Rock. The cheddar flavour seems to form and melt with each crispy potato that passes into your mouth. Go ahead and lie to yourself that you never wanted to be a Simba Chippie.
Ouma Buttermilk Rusks
A staple of the South African diet; Ouma Rusks are the perfect companion to a cup of coffee and a wake ‘n bake toke. There are a few different flavours available, however the Buttermilk is the ideal one for tea and coffee dunking. Although they are touted as a breakfast cuisine, rusks are perfect as a winter snack. Cuddling with a box and bowl during winter is probably the best getaway.
There is absolutely no way, that a list that purports to be South African, does not include biltong. The dried meats are as South African as can be. Biltong can be prepared in many different ways, to create many different flavours, with many different meats. All with the intended result of making a perfect meaty snack that can be consumed in kilograms or as a snack at the office, however it’s best enjoyed in a sweaty, oily brown bag being passed around – chasing something else that’s being passed around.
The second breakfast dish on the list, Pronutro is a truly South African cereal and is made by the proud house of Bokomo. The wheat cereal is best served with cold milk. The grainy texture of the cereal is bound to have your mouth feeling amazing and the variety of flavours means everyone can enjoy it. The best thing about Pronutro is how healthy it is, therefore having four bowls won’t be detrimental to you. The cereal is so healthy, that it was not allowed to be classified as a cereal in Australia and New Zealand back in 2003.
Also known as amagwinya, the vetkoek is a ball of dough deep-fried in hot oil. They can be eaten by themselves or with literally any and every filling you can think of. From cheese to jam, mince to Russian sausages, polony to egg. This is a very pretty heavy snack and with all its interchangeable bits, is perfect for stoners and their ingenuity.
Kota & Gatsby & Bunny Chow
Each of our big three cities have their own local sandwiches, stuffed to the tee with a variety of ingredients to satisfy a starving stoner. The kota, Gatsby & Bunny Chow are entire meals and are pretty cheap, perfect for those of us who ball on a budget.
In Cape Town, you can get a Gatsby. It’s usually made from a foot-long sandwich roll and is stuffed with slap chips (fries), eggs and whichever meats you desire; usually chargrilled steak, masala steak, fresh or pickled fish, calamari, chicken, polony, curry, Vienna sausage or Russian sausage.
In Johannesburg, you can get a Kota or a Spatlo, which is similar to the Gatsby, except that it’s made from hollowing out a quarter of white bread and stuffing it with the above ingredients.
Whilst in Durban, you should try get your hands on an authentic Bunny Chow. Also made by hollowing out a quarter loaf of bread, it’s then filled with curries such as chicken, mutton, beef, lamb and beans.
Chicken Licken Wings
A proudly South African franchise that has been around since the 70’s and even served black South Africans during apartheid, when the laws said they shouldn’t. Chicken Licken is SA’s direct response to KFC and it is mind-blowing. The hot wings are perfect for stoners with a penchant for spicy foods and their oiliness is also kept at a minimum. The wings are a decent size and are cheaper than that other fried chicken company.
Spur 2-for-1 Burgers
Spur Steak Ranches just off the bat are confusing; a steak house using Native American themes and tribes to advertise a family fun time, in South Africa. However, Spur is as much of the South African identity as an underperforming football team. Spur was once synonymous with fantastic ribs and today, they appear on our list for their burger special. The steakhouse also earns a special mention for their BBQ, Cheddaamelt & “Pink” sauces.
Steri Stumpie is the first beverage on our list and has to thank its fun vibrant colourful nature for this honour. The flavoured milk comes in a whole NINE different flavours with the much-hyped “Caramelfie” as the most recent edition and, if you’re lucky, you can find a 1 litre version at your local supermarket. The creamy, silky taste of the milk is the perfect accomplice to the vibrant colours they used. They make the act of thirst quenching incredibly fun.
Stoney Ginger Beer
Lastly, and definitely not least, is Stoney Ginger Beer. Stoney has a more gingery bitter flavour than most ginger ales on the market and this is where it derives most of its thirst quenching powers. Stoney’s intense flavour is explosive and reminds many of us of our heritage. It is also a formidable weapon against cotton-mouth and reigns as king among beverages.