A Cape Malay Culinary Adventure

International Recipes



Cape Malay, I came to find out, is not actually a geographical place, as its name might imply, but a community. The original Cape Malay were mostly Javanese people brought to South Africa as slaves by the Dutch East Indies Company. They were followed by slaves from other South East Asian countries, as well as political prisoners and Muslim leaders. Today their identity is not as much ethnic as religious and historical. But they do form a cultural community in South Africa, with their own customs and cuisine.

The Cape Malay developed a fragrant and unique cuisine based on the dishes and ingredients they brought with them, and influenced by the multiple cuisines they came into contact with in the Cape of Good Hope area. With time, Cape Malay cuisine was adapted by Afrikaaner and other South African cooks and today it's impossible to think of South African cuisine without thinking of the Cape Malay.

I made a few dishes, not all of them successful (though that may be the fault of specific recipes I chose), and I'm still planning on making a Cape Malay dessert.