• Home-made biltong getting sliced (SBS feast)Source: SBS feast
I come from a country town in South Africa called Secunda, about an hour-and-a-half from the capital, Pretoria. My upbringing saw food play a major role in family gatherings and special occasions, especially those involving my mother’s large family of nine brothers and sisters.
Elby Grabe

26 Aug 2012 - 6:06 PM  UPDATED 12 Sep 2013 - 10:41 AM

Home cooking is the only part of your heritage that can stay with you wherever you go. It is a part of your past that nobody can take away from you; something important you can pass on to your kids and grandchildren. It makes home feel like home, no matter where you are in the world. We have been in Australia for 10 years, and for the first three years, I had to adapt my cooking style and learn to substitute ingredients, but eventually I found out about the South African shops in Perth and that made life much easier.

The most traditional dish is definitely biltong. There is no direct translation, but some Australians refer to it as 'beef jerky’. Its unique taste can’t be substituted by any other dish. As all of my Aussie friends have discovered from tasting my biltong, it’s like an addiction – once you have tasted it, you want more. It takes four to five days to dry the beef and I make it every week. It’s often enjoyed as a snack, and if rugby season is coming up, I just can’t make enough of it!


Where to buy biltong around Australia

Crunch at Forest Glen is a fruit and veg shop that stocks a number of South African delicacies, including biltong. 354 Mons Rd, Forest Glen, Sunshine Coast, (07) 5453 7888.

Springbok Delights sells a range of biltong including chilli, smoked and traditional. You can also order online at springbokdelights.com.au. 656 Mowbray Rd, Lane Cove West, (02) 9427 5168.

The South African Shop stocks sliced or whole biltong, as well as ‘snap sticks’. 112 James St, Templestowe, (03) 9846 8322.

Barossa Fine Foods makes and sells biltong marinated in Worcestershire sauce and coriander. Adelaide Central Market, Stall 60, Gouger St, Adelaide, (08) 8231 2575.

Tassie African is an online store started by a South African and Zimbabwean, and sells biltong, as well as spices for making your own. They deliver Australia-wide. tassieafrican.com.au.

South African Essentials offers a range of SA produce, including biltong and boerewors sausages. 200 Winton Rd, Joondalup, (08) 9301 1977.


Interview by Mei Leong. Photography by Jackson Eaton.