Friday, February 27, 2009

This is not a story about wors.

Though it sort of starts out that way. Hungry for lunch and nothing on our schedule, Bordeaux and I hopped on a train to Claremont, following a tip from the Rough Guide that advised that women often set up grills to sell boerewors around the station. Of course when we got there, there were no ladies, no grills, and no boerewors for sale. Thankfully, we found Maheera's.

Maheera's is the kind of shop that sprouts up near railway stations, selling cold cream soda, tubes of chapstick, and airtime vouchers. And in Cape Town, they're one of the best places to sample local fast food, which is an offbeat mix of British, Afrikaner, and Malay flavors. We ordered two wors rolls with chips, a small dessert to share, and took them back to the train station, where we ate them on the steps. The roll was not accompanied with chips, as I had assumed, but filled with them-- even better. And the whole thing was doused with a tasty soaking of vinegar, and a drizzle of salt.

But the unexpected star of the meal, the focus of this entry, was the dessert. A golden ball of fried dough called a koesister. The Malay cousin of the Afrikaaner koeksister, it's smaller, rounder, less syrupy, and infinitely more flavorful. The glazed exterior is flaked with coconut, and gives way to a doughy interior studded with spices, sharp with cinnamon and clove. Had we not already eaten the wors and chips, we easily could have returned inside to buy a few more-- as it is, the koesister provides more than ample reason to make a return trip to Claremont.


Robyn said...

Intriguing, that donut-y thing! I can't quite reconcile it with anything Malay, though there are of course deep-fried donut hole-type things ... The spices are reminiscent of the Indian 'donuts' sold here, and also of Chinese steamed bread.
Looking forward to more posts referencing the Malay connection there in SA.
And - hope you've been successful on the househunting front!

Xander said...

Hey Robyn-- I should probably write more about the Cape Malay culture, as the name is a little confusing. I don't know how familiar you are with the culture, so forgive me if I'm telling you something you already know-- in Cape Town, the name Malay is applied to a group of people whose ancestors were from all over the Indian Ocean-- from Indonesia, Malaysia, Madagascar, Southern India. They were moved there by the British during the period of colonization, and brought with them the religion of Islam, and some incredible culinary traditions-- which they fused and melded on African soil. So though they're called 'Malay', they really represent a much more diverse blending of cultures and cuisines. -X

Robyn said...

Thanks for the illumination ... and I'll look forward to more explorations in this vein!

Kim Wildman said...

Oh my gosh koesisters give me such a headache - the sugar overload is just too much. Go the bore wurst and windhoeks (yes, I know it's from Namibia)!