Glossary of Food Words


Achaar: Spicy mixture of mango and oil similar to a chutney.

Aioli: A flavoured mayonnaise made with eggs and olive oil - often includes Garlic.

Amarula: Alcoholic liquer made from the fruit of the Marula tree, a tree only found in a small area of Africa. Looks similar to Baileys Cream.

Amuse Bouche: Small tasters served at the beginning of the meal to tempt your taste buds.

Antipasto: The Italian equivalent of a starter of hors'd oeuvres - Can be served hot or cold depending on the dish. Examples are salamis or garlic breads.


Baklava: Sweet Greek desert made with phyllo pastry, nuts and honey.

Biltong: Sticks or slices of meat dried, salty and spiced.

Bobotie: (Ba-boo-tie) Cape Malay dish made with spicy mince and an egg-yoghurt custard on top. Flavoured with bay leaves and often served with yellow rice and raisins.

Boerekos: Afrikaans term for food. Often used to refer to truly South African meals.

Boerewors: Afrikaans word literally meaning 'Farmer's sausage' - Traditionally made with lamb or beef mince and spices, best cooked on a braai.

Bon Appetite: French word meaning 'Good Appetite' used to say "Enjoy!"

Boontjiesop: Afrikaas word for bean soup.

Bordeaux: The most important wine region in France. Or a type of blend in red wine includes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc and in white wines from the region are usually blends of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.

Boullabaisse: A fish stew made with various types of fish, tomatoes and saffron.

Braai: (Br-eye) South African word for barbeque.

Bredie: (Brea - die)Traditional South African stew, first cooked by the Malays.

Brioche: Very buttery, rich bread

Bunny Chow: A half or quarter loaf of bread, hollowed out to make a shell which is then filled with a type of curry. This is then topped with the piece if bread that was hollowed out.


Capers: Small green berries often preserved in brine or a salty liquid. Useful to add salt and more flavour to fish dishes.

Carpaccio: Italian dish made with very thin slices of raw meat which are then marinated in salt and olive oil and lemon juice.

Carte: French word for menu.

Chorizo: Spanish style spicy sausage.

Confit: A meat slow cooked in its own fat with spices. Or a jam-like sweet spread.

Consomme: Clear, clarified soup made from stock.

Coulis: A puree liquid or sauce of raw or cooked vegetables or fruit.

Couscous: Small 'sandy' grains of pasta used in salads, as a starch in a dish or alternatively as a desert if mixed with chocolate.

Creme Fraise: French version of Sour Cream but much richer and creamier. Often used in soups and delicious with smoked salmon.

Crepes: Very thin version of a pancake. Crepes are commonly served as a crepes Suzette, with slices of oranges, sugar and orange liquor.


Dauphinoise (a la): to cook something very slowly with cream and garlic. Common dish would be a potato bake.

Dolmades: Greek or Turkish starter made from grape vine leaves stuffed with different flavours for example rice or meat.

Droewors: Similar to biltong. Droewors is a thin, dried, spicy sausage.

Duxelle: A stuffing of mushrooms cooked with butter, thyme and onions.


Endive: French word for chicory.

Essence: A concentraed flavour extracted from an ingredient.


Falafel: An eastern style chick-pea fritter.

Five spice powder: A Chinese spice which includes star anise, clove, fennel, cinnamon and Sichuan pepper.

Fois Gras: Type of pate made from Ducks or Geese that have been force fed until their livers extend. Very rich and expensive.

Frikkadel: Large home-made meatball

Fritto Misto: A selection of deep fried ingredients - can include different vegetables or meats.


Gateau: French style sponge cake traditionally made with cream.

Gazpacho: Cold vegetable soup, usually with tomato flavour.

Gnocchi: Potato style pasta similar to a dumpling.

Gremolata: A herby garnish made with garlic, parsley and lemon zest. Delicious on fish or meaty dishes.

Guinea Fowl: Found all around South Africa, a Guinea Fowl is a small black and white speckled bird similar in size to a pheasant or grouse but smaller than a chicken.


Haanepoort: (Haa-nah-poort) Type of sweet grape or sweet white wine.

Hollandaise: A sauce made from whipped egg yolks, vinegar and hot melted butter used on Eggs Benedict.

Humus: A chick-pea, garlic and lemon juice puree delicious as a pate or as a dip.




Koeksister: A plait shaped donut covered in sweet, sticky syrup.



Mealie Meal: Maize or corn meal cooked with salt and water to make Pap.

Mealie: South African word for corn.

Moussaka: A Greek bake made with minced lamb, aubergines, potatoes and onions.


Naatjie: (N-aar-chee) South African word for tangerine.

Nori: Japanese word for seaweed.



Paella: A rice, spices and seafood dish originally from Spain.

Pap: Dish made with water, salt and maize meal.

Pesto: A mixture of olive oil, garlic, parmesan, pine nuts and basil - can include Chilli and other herbs.

Potjie Kos: An Afrikaans word for a meaty dish cooked over a fire, usually in a large round pot that has 3 small legs.



Risotto: A dish made from Arborio rice. The rice is cooked for a long time constantly adding more stock, once the rice has absorbed as much as it can other flavours such as cheese, vegetables or meat are added.

Rosti: Thin layers of grated potato cooked in oil until tightly packed and golden.


S'More: Ideal fireside desert made by melting marshmallows, chocolate and marie biscuits together.

Samoosa: Stuffed savoury pastry in the shape of a triangle, deep fried. Originally made by Indians and Cape Malays.

Satay: Small pieces of meat that is marinated, skewered and usually served with a spicy peanut sauce.

Smoothie: A blend of fruit and vegetables to make a healthy drink. Other ingredients may include yoghurt, honey or muesli.

Sommelier: A specialised wine waitron who is able to assist with food and wine pairing, wine suggestions or ensure correct wine service.

Spanakopita: Spinach and feta phyllo parcels

Sp�tzle: Pasta type dish made with eggs, flour and salt. Typically made in German, the dough is grated to make noodle shapes or round shapes which are then cooked in boiling water.


Taramosalata: Greek caviar recognised by its pinky colour

Terroir: French word relating to soil or earth, used to describe the surrounding environment that has influenced the wine.

Tzatziki: A dip made from yoghurt, cucumber and garlic.




Wasabi: Grated green horseradish used in Japanese cooking.