Street Food Fest on Its Way

A country is what it eats, and with that in mind, the third annual Street Food Festival will pay homage to our food culture by dishing up authentic South African street foods pavement-style. The festival features a food market of local talent and a conference geared towards food entrepreneurs with such industry speakers as Mokgadi Itsweng, Keletso Motau and Dinesh Patel. It all takes place in Johannesburg at The Cosmopolitan, Maboneng Precinct, Sunday 28 August, and in Cape Town, at Side Street Studios, Woodstock, Sunday 4 September.  

"There’s something about street food that speaks to people’s souls, just like home cooking does," said Hannerie Visser, Street Food Festival Director.  "I think that’s why the Street Food Festival has become so popular: the market gives people an opportunity to reconnect with old favourites and try new foods. Add to it the professional presentations, which offer insider advice about how to make a business out of your passion for food, and the Friday night street food dinners before the festival, and you have a weekend devoted to real, authentic South African food."  

Launched in Cape Town in 2014, the first Street Food Festival was a huge success, attracting over 2000 people to a street food market with 40 vendors. Over 100 attended the day-long conference with a panel of street food entrepreneurs and experts, with speakers sharing lessons learned on topics from on the street vs. retail to how to build your brand to how to turn a pop-up into a restaurant. Last year, the festival drew record crowds in both Cape Town and Johannesburg.

This year's festival takes the same format with markets serving authentic street fare made with quality ingredients:  look for foods like askoek, smileys, walkie talkies, samoosas, shisa nyama, bunny chows, gatsbys, fish and chips, rotis and vetkoek, prepared by some of South Africa's best street food vendors.  

A Cape Town highlight will be a special Pig’s Head Lunch, cooked by Bertus Basson, one of South Africa’s most exciting and innovative chefs. There are a very limited number of slots for the lunch, which comes with sides of dill slaw, buttermilk rolls and pickles. Each pig’s head feeds four people, and the cost is R450 for a group of four. Tickets for the lunch, which is limited to 15 people, should be booked without delay at quicket.co.za.

The conferences will feature talks and workshops geared to inspire all those who are passionate about food to bring their products to market. Sharing the secrets of their success will be Mokgadi Itsweng, Chef and Creative Director of Lotsha Home Foods and Food Editor of True Love; Keletso Motau of Bellville’s 12 Mile Tour; and Dinesh Patel, CEO of OrderIn.   

Preceding the market and conference in each city will be special Indian-themed Street Food dinners designed by Studio H and created by Food Jammer chef Jade de Waal; the menu will be inspired by their travels through India as well as South Africa’s rich local Indian food heritage. The dinners will take place Friday 26 August in Johannesburg, and Friday 2 September in Cape Town.
"There’s never been a more exciting time to be in the food industry in South Africa," says Visser. "We’re proud of the traditional and experimenting with everything new: it all makes for a vibrant national food culture, which the Street Food Festival celebrates," she said.

Tickets to the Street Food Festival are available from quicket.co.za. Admission to the market is R50, the conference is R550 and the dinner is R400.