#capemalay #capemalaycuisine #capetowncuisine #capecuisine #capetownfood #foodguide #capetowndishes #bestlocalfood #culinarytraditions #foodcapetown #capetowntravel #capetown

If you’re craving a culinary adventure in Cape Town, look no further than the vibrant neighborhood of Bo-Kaap.

Known for its colorful houses and rich cultural heritage, this charming area is also home to some of the best Cape Malay cuisine in the city.

From mouthwatering curries to delectable pastries, Bo-Kaap is a foodie paradise that will transport your taste buds to a world of flavors.

Get ready to savor the authentic dishes that embody the essence of Cape Malay culture and embark on a gastronomic journey like no other.


Cape Malay cuisine is a unique fusion of flavors that originated in the Cape Muslim community in Cape Town, South Africa. With its tantalizing blend of spices, fresh ingredients, and various cultural influences, it has become a beloved culinary tradition in the city.

The unique flavors of Cape Malay Cuisine

Cape Malay cuisine is known for its bold and aromatic flavors that will take your taste buds on a journey. Indonesian, Malaysian, Indian, and African culinary traditions have a significant influence on the cuisine. The key to these mouth-watering flavors lies in the skillful use of spices such as turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves.

One of the signature dishes of Cape Malay cuisine is the bobotie. This dish consists of spiced minced meat topped with an egg-based custard and baked until golden brown. The combination of flavors, from the fragrant curry spices to the sweetness of the apricot jam, makes it a delightfully unique dish.

Another beloved dish is the Bo-Kaap bredie, which is a flavorful lamb stew cooked with tomatoes, onions, and aromatic spices. The slow cooking process allows the flavors to meld together, resulting in a savory and succulent dish.

History and influence of Cape Malay Cuisine in Cape Town

The roots of Cape Malay cuisine can be traced back to the 17th century, when slaves were brought to the Cape from Indonesia, Malaysia, and other parts of Southeast Asia by the Dutch East India Company. These slaves played a significant role in shaping the culinary landscape of the region.

Over the years, Cape Malay cuisine has evolved and incorporated influences from various cultures, including Dutch, British, and African. Today, it is considered an important part of Cape Town’s cultural heritage and a testament to the diversity of the city.

Visitors to Cape Town can experience the richness of Cape Malay cuisine in various ways. From exploring the vibrant Bo-Kaap neighborhood, with its colorful houses and traditional spice shops, to visiting local restaurants that specialize in this cuisine, there are plenty of opportunities to savor the unique flavors of Cape Malay cuisine.

Whether you are a food enthusiast or simply looking to expand your culinary horizons, experiencing the best Cape Malay cuisine in Cape Town is a must. The flavors, history, and cultural significance of this cuisine make it a truly memorable dining experience.

The Best Cape Town Cape Malay Restaurants

1. Biesmiellah

Biesmiellah restaurant ambience and location

As you wander through the vibrant streets of Cape Town, you may stumble upon a hidden gem known as Biesmiellah. Located in the heart of Bo-Kaap, this warm and inviting restaurant offers an authentic Cape Malay dining experience like no other.

Stepping inside Biesmiellah is like entering a time capsule of Cape Malay culture. The cozy interior is adorned with traditional décor, including vibrant textiles and intricate artwork. The friendly staff welcomes you with warm smiles and ensures that you feel right at home.

Immersion in the colorful surroundings is just the beginning of your culinary journey. The restaurant is located in a historic building that adds to the charm and ambience, providing a unique backdrop for your dining experience.

Must-try dishes at Biesmiellah

Once you settle in your seat and take in the delightful atmosphere, it’s time to explore the extensive menu of mouthwatering Cape Malay dishes. Biesmiellah is renowned for its flavorful and aromatic curries, each bursting with a unique blend of spices and herbs.

One of the standout dishes is the Cape Malay chicken curry, a fragrant and richly spiced delight that perfectly balances sweetness and heat. Another must-try is the bobotie, a traditional South African dish consisting of spiced minced meat baked with an egg-based topping—a true comfort food experience.

For seafood lovers, the grilled linefish marinated in a tangy and zesty sauce is a popular choice. Paired with traditional sides like fragrant yellow rice and roti, every bite is a celebration of Cape Malay flavors.

Finish off your meal with a decadent dessert like malva pudding, a moist and sticky delight served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This sweet treat embodies the essence of Cape Malay cuisine and will leave you craving more.

Biesmiellah offers an unparalleled experience of Cape Malay cuisine in the heart of Cape Town. With its warm ambience, friendly staff, and mouthwatering dishes, this is a must-visit restaurant for anyone seeking a taste of the rich culinary heritage of the Bo-Kaap community.

Private Chauffeur Services Cape Town

2. Bo-Kaap Kombuis

Located in the vibrant Bo-Kaap neighborhood of Cape Town, Bo-Kaap Kombuis is a beloved establishment that offers an authentic Cape Malay dining experience. With its vibrant atmosphere, friendly staff, and mouthwatering dishes, it’s no wonder that it’s considered one of the best Cape Malay restaurants in the city.

Bo-Kaap Kombuis restaurant atmosphere and decor

A welcoming and warm atmosphere welcomes you as soon as you enter Bo-Kaap Kombuis. The restaurant is beautifully decorated in bright and bold colors, reflecting the rich cultural heritage of the Bo-Kaap neighborhood. The walls are adorned with local artwork and photographs that tell the story of the Cape Malay community.

The seating is comfortable, and the layout of the restaurant allows for both intimate dinners and larger group gatherings. The staff at Bo-Kaap Kombuis are known for their friendly and attentive service, making you feel right at home from the moment you arrive.

Authentic Cape Malay dishes at Bo-Kaap Kombuis

What sets Bo-Kaap Kombuis apart from other restaurants is its dedication to serving authentic Cape Malay cuisine. The Cape Malay community, with its Indonesian, Malaysian, and African influences, has a unique culinary heritage that is showcased in the dishes at Bo-Kaap Kombuis.

From traditional favorites like bobotie (a spiced minced meat dish topped with an egg-based topping) and sosaties (marinated meat skewers) to flavorful curries and fragrant bredies (stews), every dish is made with love and care, using only the freshest ingredients and traditional spices.

Vegetarians are also well catered for at Bo-Kaap Kombuis, with delicious options like vegetarian bobotie and vegetable curries. Be sure to save room for dessert, as their selection of sweet treats like koeksisters (sticky syrup-infused donuts) and malva pudding (a warm and decadent sponge pudding) is simply irresistible.

Bo-Kaap Kombuis offers an exceptional dining experience for those looking to indulge in the best Cape Malay cuisine in Cape Town. From the lively atmosphere to the authentic dishes, this restaurant truly embodies the flavors and spirit of the Cape Malay community. So, whether you’re a local or a visitor to the city, be sure to add Bo-Kaap Kombuis to your culinary itinerary for a truly memorable meal.

3. Cape Malay Food Market

Located in Cape Town, the Cape Malay Food Market is a food lover’s paradise. If you are new to the city or a local looking for some delicious cuisine, this is the place to be. The market offers a wide variety of dishes that showcase the unique flavors and culinary traditions of the Cape Malay community.

Overview of the Cape Malay Food Market

The Cape Malay Food Market is a vibrant and bustling market that celebrates the rich cultural heritage of the Cape Malay community. It is a melting pot of flavors and aromas that will tantalize your taste buds. The market is known for its friendly atmosphere and welcoming vendors who are always ready to help you discover new and exciting dishes.

You will see vibrant stalls filled with a variety of dishes as you stroll through the market. From savory curries to spicy samoosas, there is something for everyone. The market also offers a range of vegetarian and vegan options, ensuring that all dietary preferences are catered to.

A variety of dishes are available at the market

One of the highlights of the Cape Malay Food Market is the variety of dishes available. Here are a few must-try dishes:

  1. Bobotie: A classic Cape Malay dish, bobotie is a flavorful and fragrant baked dish made with minced meat and spices and topped with a layer of custard. It is usually served with yellow rice and chutney.
  2. Sosaties: These are skewered meat dishes marinated in a spicy, sweet, and sour marinade. The meat is typically lamb or chicken, and the marinade is made with a combination of spices, apricot jam, vinegar, and onions.
  3. Koesisters: These sweet, sticky treats are similar to doughnuts and are made from a dough of cake flour, yeast, sugar, and spices. They are deep-fried and then dipped in syrup or rolled in desiccated coconut.
  4. Samoosas: These deep-fried pastry triangles are filled with a variety of fillings, including curried mince, vegetables, or cheese. They are perfect as a snack or appetizer.
  5. Cape Malay Curry: Cape Malay curries are known for their unique blend of spices, which includes turmeric, cumin, coriander, and cinnamon. They are often made with meat, but there are also delicious vegetarian options available.

The Cape Malay Food Market is a must-visit for food lovers looking to experience the vibrant flavors of Cape Malay cuisine. Whether you are in the mood for something spicy, sweet, or savory, you are sure to find a dish that will satisfy your cravings at this bustling market in Cape Town. To learn more about Cape Town’s popular destinations, visit SouthAfricaTravel.org.

4. Mariam’s Kitchen

Welcome to Mariam’s Kitchen! If you’re looking for a culinary experience that combines traditional recipes with bold flavors, then you’re in the right place. Mariam’s Kitchen has gained popularity for its mouthwatering dishes that are sure to satisfy even the most discerning taste buds.

Mariam’s Kitchen’s popular dishes

At Mariam’s Kitchen, you’ll find an array of popular dishes that have become customer favorites. Here are just a few:

  1. Chicken Biryani: A fragrant and flavorful rice dish cooked with tender chicken, aromatic spices, and garnished with fried onions and fresh mint. This classic dish is a must-try for anyone seeking authentic flavors.
  2. Butter Chicken: Succulent pieces of marinated chicken cooked in a rich and creamy tomato-based sauce. It’s a perfect balance of spiciness and creaminess, making it a top choice for curry lovers.
  3. Falafel Wrap: Crispy chickpea fritters wrapped in a soft pita bread with a variety of fresh vegetables and drizzled with a tangy tahini sauce. This vegetarian option offers a delicious blend of textures and flavors.

Traditional recipes and flavors at Mariam’s Kitchen

Mariam’s Kitchen takes pride in using traditional recipes and authentic flavors to create their dishes. The chefs at Mariam’s Kitchen skillfully combine age-old cooking techniques with the freshest ingredients, ensuring each dish is full of flavor and authenticity.

The menu at Mariam’s Kitchen showcases a delightful mix of traditional and modern dishes, offering something for every palate. From aromatic curries to hearty biryanis and tantalizing kebabs, each dish is a testament to the rich culinary heritage.

Whether you’re a fan of Indian, Pakistani, or Middle Eastern cuisine, Mariam’s Kitchen has got you covered. The menu is thoughtfully curated to cater to a diverse range of tastes, making it a popular choice among food enthusiasts.

So, if you find yourself in search of an unforgettable dining experience that celebrates traditional recipes and flavors, look no further than Mariam’s Kitchen. Indulge in a world of culinary delights that will transport you to a land of rich cultural heritage and unexplored taste sensations.

With each bite, you’ll savor the passion and dedication that go into crafting every dish at Mariam’s Kitchen. So gather your friends and family and embark on a culinary journey that promises to delight and satisfy.

Customizable Cape Town Tours


If you find yourself in Cape Town, make sure to indulge in the flavors of Cape Malay cuisine. With its unique blend of Malay, Indonesian, and African influences, this vibrant culinary tradition offers a truly memorable dining experience. From aromatic curries to spicy samoosas, Cape Malay cuisine delights the taste buds and tells the story of the city’s diverse cultural heritage.

Top picks for the Best Cape Malay Cuisine in Cape Town

  1. The Bo-Kaap Kombuis: Located in the picturesque Bo-Kaap neighborhood, this restaurant serves up authentic Cape Malay dishes in a cozy atmosphere. Don’t miss their signature bobotie, a spicy minced meat dish topped with a golden egg-based custard.
  2. Biesmiellah: This family-run establishment has been delighting diners for over 40 years. Their menu features traditional Cape Malay dishes, including tender lamb bredie (stew) and fragrant chicken curry. Be sure to try their homemade sambals and chutneys, too.
  3. Eastern Food Bazaar: If you’re looking for a wide variety of Cape Malay dishes, head to this bustling food court. From hearty bunny chows to savory samoosas, you’ll find an array of flavors to satisfy your cravings.

Tips for experiencing Cape Malay Cuisine in Cape Town

  • Embrace the spice: Cape Malay cuisine is known for its bold flavors and aromatic spices. Don’t be afraid to try dishes that pack a punch, like the iconic Cape Malay curry.
  • Try a food tour: If you’re unsure where to start, consider joining a Cape Malay food tour. These guided experiences will take you to the best eateries in the city and give you a deeper understanding of the cuisine’s history and cultural significance.
  • Visit during Ramadan: If you have the opportunity, visit Cape Town during the holy month of Ramadan. This is when the Cape Malay community celebrates with feasts known as “iftars,” offering a chance to taste traditional dishes prepared with extra care and love.

So, whether you’re a spice enthusiast or simply looking to expand your culinary horizons, Cape Malay cuisine in Cape Town is not to be missed. With its rich flavors, vibrant spices, and warm hospitality, it offers a truly unforgettable dining experience.

Thank you for joining us on this mouth-watering culinary journey through Cape Town’s best Cape Malay cuisine.

We hope this blog has inspired you to explore and savor the unique flavors and vibrant culture of this diverse region.

We would love to hear about your own experiences and recommendations for the best tours in Cape Town, so please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

Until next time, happy eating!

To find more information on popular tourist attractions in Cape Town, visit the South Africa Travel Blog.

× How can we help you?