Way down under, you'll find a mecca of food. South Africa is home to an assortment of unique, flavorful foods that deserve a place on your foodie bucket list. You've probably never heard of these distinct foods or may not know how to pronounce them, but they cannot be overlooked. Once you try these 10 foods, you'll realize just how irresistible South African fare is.  

1. Biltong  

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If you think jerky is good, then you have to try biltong, a cured meat that is typically air-dried for at least four days. Biltong can be moist or dry, but it is always spiced to perfection with coriander or cloves. South African biltong isn't limited to beef or pork–some popular types include ostrich, gemsbok, and springbok.

2. Boerewoers [Buh-re-vors]

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A South African braai (barbecue) is incomplete without boerewoers. This sausage plays by the 90/10 rule–90% meat, 10% spice. Therefore, boerewoers is extremely flavorful with hints of coriander, nutmeg, and cloves. Traditionally, boerewoers is formed and cooked in a spiral and then cut into smaller pieces to enjoy.

3. Koeksisters [kook sisters]

Koeksisters are stickiness from heaven and essentially the region's version of a donut. They are pieces of fried dough that come in a variety of shapes– round, twisted, or braided– and are drizzled with a sugar syrup coating. These overly sweet desserts are the perfect teatime treat.

4. Bobotie [ba-boo-tee]

Hello to South Africa's national dish–bobotie is South Africa's take on the English shepherd's pie. The base is minced meat topped with egg and often dried fruit. This comfort food dish is usually spiced with curry powder, giving it that extra zing of flavor. Bake, eat, and repeat.

5. Melktert [melk-tart]

This "tart" is made of pastry crust with a custard filling consisting of milk, sugar, eggs, and flour. Top it off with cinnamon and this melt-in-your-mouth dessert will become your newest craving. Here is a recipe if you need it right now (I know I do).

6. Mieliepap [milli-pap]

 Mieliepap is made of two simple ingredients: maize and water. Similar to porridge, mieliepap can be served hot or cold. Whether eaten for breakfast or as a side to your South African braai, this dish is both delicious and filling.

7. Chutney

South Africans tend to add chutney to nearly every dish because this fruit-based condiment adds the extra flavor needed for the perfect dish. Chutney can be added to nearly everything and anything (bobotie and chutney make a perfect duo). South Africa's most popular brand of chutney is Mrs. H.S. Ball's. First made in 1914, it remains just as tasty one hundred years later.

#SpoonTip: Mrs. H.S. Ball's chutney is so good that they even made it into a potato chip flavor, which you should totally try.

8. Zoo Biscuits

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Zoo Biscuits are a tasty iced cookie with white silhouettes of various animals. Similar to our beloved American frosted animal cookies, Zoo Biscuits can be bought at any South African supermarket.

9. Fizzers

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Comparable to Laffy Taffy, Fizzers are a soft and chewy candy. They magically fizz in your mouth, adding an extra element of fun to this treat. This candy comes in eight different flavors: cream soda, blue buzz, strawberry, raspberry, Coca-Cola, orange, grape, and apple. 

#SpoonTip: The cream soda is by far the best Fizzer flavor. Coincidence that it's first on the list of flavors? I think not.

10. Chappies

candy, sweet, cake
Lori Hurwitz

It's time to substitute your Bubble Yum with South African Chappies. Chappies come in a range of flavors including spearmint, watermelon, and assorted fruit. The iconic gum is also known for its "Did You Know?" facts on the inside of the wrapper. The perfect pair– tasty and educational.

I'd argue that one of the best ways to learn about other countries and cultures is through food, which makes South African eats an experience that cannot be missed. Once you try a few, you'll finally come to know these unique and mouth-watering foods you've been missing all your life.