As a South African who has lived away from home for many years, I can hand on heart say that there is so much we all truly miss that we normally take for granted.During my time of living in London , as much as I was discovering new places and food there was still apart of me that longed for home and those familiar tastes of South Africa. South African food is very distinctive in flavour and is truly a reflection of our rainbow nation. Food in South Africa plays a very important part of our culture and no gathering is complete without lots of good food and wine.
While living abroad I grabbed onto everything that was linked back to home and that included paying exorbitant prices in the South African Speciality food stores around the city.I was suddenly buy and eating things I normally would have paid no attention to at home and picked another brand but in London I wanted it and needed it. I guess it is true what they say that you never truly miss something until you have to do without it .I was fortunate enough to work in an area of London where many other South Africans lived so getting things like biltong and boerewors was not too hard to find. And if the South African God of Saffas in London was smiling down on me I had several SA colleagues working with me and this meant there was always a braai and before I go on a South African braai is nothing like a British BBQ or gathering of some sort to attend. Majority of my circle where from an Afrikaner background and my Afrikaans improved in leaps and bounds. We even started our Christmas family traditions bringing our taste of home to London.
I also ended up cooking more and loved cooking for my friends my Durban curries and yes we would even have a Bunny Chow evening. One of my fondest memories of childhood was of my Gran in the kitchen always cooking and entertaining people and for me been able to cook and share good food with good people was my way of dealing with missing home. On yearly trips home , I would return to London with heavily laden bags of Indian spices, biscuits and treats from home. My parents felt like sending me back with this was them showing me love. Anyone of friends who went home came back just like me with heavy bags and we could not wait to share the loot and devour magazines like You and Huisgenoot.All our parents knew that the goodies would be shared and sent more to everyone got something. Getting even some sweets from someone’s care package was proof that someone loved you.
Some of the things I missed from home included Aromat (the prefect seasoning for everything), Simba Chips (Fruit Chutney flavour, Royal Creams(Biscuit), Indian spices, Cadbury Chocolate, Biltong, Milktart, Ricoffy , Five Roses tea and Lemon Creams and not forgetting Fanta Grape. And yes this would always be in my suitcase minus the cans of course.
Travelstart, South Africa’s cheap flights provider, launched a survey across several social media platforms to find out what South Africans miss most about home while travelling or living abroad.The information gathered revealed some expected trends and a few unexpected ones.South Africans Love Their Biltong and Rooibos Tea.Unsurprisingly, over 50% of the respondents said they missed biltong, droëwors, and braais. Durban curry and boerewors rolls came in close behind at 20% and many people also said they missed how affordable dining out is in South Africa compared to other countries.
When it came to drinks, desserts, and unique South African products, 25% said they miss Rooibos Tea, 20% said SAB beers such as Castle Lite and Black Label, and 15% miss a good bottle of Pinotage.Peppermint Crisp tart was the favourite dessert with 24% and malva pudding and milk tart each got 20%.The beloved Mrs Balls Chutney was missed by 24% of respondents and Ouma Rusks by 17%.While living at home most of these things I rarely ate at home but living abroad it became a staple in my monthly shop.
In terms of travel and living in South Africa ,Cape Town won the local vote for a holiday destination locally and it is no surprise as it is indeed a beautiful city. Places such as Cullinan, Sabie, Kruger National Park, and the Wild Coast made it onto the list, but CapeTown proved to be the undeniable winner with over 50% saying it was the place they missed the most.South Africans love Road Trips, Christmas Outside, and spending time with loved ones be it friends or family. In South Africa we have a culture of where friends become family and your friends are always included in your family gatherings.Almost 50% of respondents said being able to get into their cars and drive along the coast on a Sunday afternoon or go on a long road trip to the small towns is something they miss most. Many also said that stopping at Wimpy a childhood memory there or the padstals (road side shops) along the way are a highlight of road tripping anywhere in South Africa.
An overwhelming majority also said that being able to celebrate Christmas outside in the warm sunshine and the friendly people are two of the best things about the country and us Saffas indeed love entertaining outdoors especially around a fire. Many respondents also expressed alove for the great weather and diverse landscapes and cultures.Roadside Shopping and being able to say things Like “Ag man!”Surprisingly, a few respondents said the sound of hooting taxis(mini buses) was something they missed while abroad.A large majority also said they missed the petrol attendants in most countries abroad you need to fill your own petrol and pack your own groceries, being able to buy everything from avos and newspapers to sunglasses and car chargers at the robots. The South African accent and slang is something that one abroad can pick up on a crowded train instantly and it brings a smile and a memory of home back.Turns out you can take people out of South Africa, but you can’t take South Africa out of its people.
Let me know in the comments what are things you miss from home when you travel.
Be Inspired !