Braai baby braai

Braai baby braai

With no fewer than five public holidays over the next three weeks (yep, that is one entire work week), South Africans are sure to be getting their braai (barbecue) on in a big way. It’s a distinctly local culinary tradition, and unique that it cuts across race and income groups.

At my first braai invitation two decades ago, I arrived on time and hungry. Rookie mistake. I was the first one there. The dry firewood hadn’t been separated from the damp yet. About five hours later, I was truly delighted to eat snoek (fish) and a toasted cheese and tomato sandwich, both of which are braai staples in the Western Cape.

I’ve long wanted to do a food story about braais, but never found a news peg. People braai at home, more or less the same way they’ve always done. But in the past few years in particular, there’s been an increased discussion about elevating the art of the braai. When “The Ultimate Braai Master,” a domestic reality/food/game show aired overseas, the answer to the “why now” question was answered.

Here’s the story, for CNN Travel:

Brotherhood of Braai: How BBQ brings South Africans together

Photo courtesy Stephen Coetzee