When I think of Durban my nose immediately fills with the fierce spices of a typical Durban curry, my eyes water from the heat of a bunny chow and my mouth yearns for a taste of a hand-made samoosa. One of the best parts of travelling to Durban is the food, especially if you crave something a little – or a lot – hot.
Durban markets are some of the best places to get stuck into some local cuisine. Markets are great if you are unsure whether or not you will like Durban food, as they offer up a chance to taste a little bit of everything without paying heaps of money on one dish that you end up not eating.
Most markets have stores serving up small, easy to eat dishes. I recommend getting stuck into a curry roti, potato samosa or a kofta (an Indian type of spicy meat ball). There are so many markets to check out in Durban and some are more tourist orientated while others are frequented by locals.
The I heart market at the Moses Mabhida Market offers a unique range of homemade goods as well as a wide range of local food which can be enjoyed on the lawns surrounding the market. Youngsters, hipsters and families frequent the I heart market. The market is open once a month on a Saturday.
The Shongweni Farmers and Craft Market is open every Saturday morning and is ideal for breakfast with the family. The market is great for local produce such as fresh breads, meats, vegetables and local cheeses. Situated in Assagay just outside of Durban, the surrounding hills offer a real country market feeling.
The Victoria Street Market is actually more of a mall and is the ideal place to stock up on Durban spices that are difficult to find elsewhere in the country. This is a place where tourists and locals unite and you will need to keep your wits about you. Shopping at the Victoria Street Market is a hum of activity, and a great bargain can be found on food as well as traditional clothing.
Durban has a host of restaurants to choose from ranging from the expensive to the local, cheaper hangouts and the food ranges from a typical Durban bunny-chow to an Italian meal or a luxurious, local steak.
If you are after a great vibe, great food and a more sophisticated atmosphere then Florida Road is the place to be and be seen. Quaint restaurants with relaxing outdoor areas line the streets and offer up a host of local and international cuisine to choose from.
Local hangouts can be daunting, especially for a tourist, but if you are up to the challenge then these places are where you are most likely to find the best curries. If you’re weary of heat then order a mild, as even the mild curry at a local Durban hangout can be hot! Durban’s most famed dish is their bunny chow, which consists of a half loaf of bread which is hollowed out and filled with curry.
The Britannica Hotel in Umgeni Road offers up take-away options, a pub style sit down area and a more upmarket restaurant and locals are often seen there chowing down on ‘the best bunny in town’. www.hotelbrits.co.za
For a more relaxed meal head on down to the harbour.
Wilson’s Wharf offers up a great selections of restaurants where the boats can be viewed while enjoying a great meal with a glass of wine.
Royal Natal Yacht Club has great lunches that can be enjoyed on their lawn next to the pool; their Sunday roast is divine, as is their chicken and prawn curry and their curry toasted sandwiches.
Ushaka Marine World offers a host of chain restaurants as well as a few upmarket choices. You can dine right next to the shark tank or enjoy an African affair at Moyo restaurant.
There are so many ways to get stuck in to Durban’s gorgeous food that this list could go on forever but here are just a few of my personal favourites:
The locals that patrol the beaches offer up a heap of tasty snacks including samosas (my all-time favourite). I would stay away from the meat options and order a potato or corn samosa rather if you want to avoid food poisoning. Alternatively, a packet of peanuts and sev (a fine vermicelli type savoury snack) makes for the perfect between-meals filler.
I am a sucker for deserts and after a humid Durban day filled with some spicy Indian curries I really need something to cool me down. Durban (aside from Stellenbosch) is the only place that hosts the Wakaberry frozen yoghurt franchise. These unique little bars allow you to mix your own flavours, add as many toppings as you like and just go nuts!
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