A braai is a vague term for cooking food over coals, and while they may appear to be the same thing to a newbie, they are not the same as barbeques. Here are a few important distinctions between a traditional South African braai and a barbecue.
Make A Fire
The fire is the primary distinction between a braai and a BBQ. If you cook a braai on a gas grill, it’s no longer called a braai. Even after the meal has been cooked, the fire stays burning for the length of the braai. After dinner, guests will congregate around the fire and spend the remainder of the day or evening there.
No Need For Excuses
Most locals braai at least once a week and don’t require an excuse to do so. They braai on Sundays because it’s pleasant, and some even braai on Christmas if the weather permits. There are numerous options and reasons for a braai.
No Matter The Weather
Unlike a BBQ, braais aren’t limited to the summer months. Many residents have access to a covered patio where they may braai, rendering inclement weather unimportant. Many have indoor braai places as well. This is especially true in Windhoek, where not braaing is just not an option, despite the fact that it is terribly windy.
Braai Anything You Like
Namibians are passionate about good cuisine and excel at preparing and cooking it. Boerewors (“farmer’s sausage”), steak, poultry, lamb, and often game meat are among the grilling possibilities, with sides ranging from potato bakes to corn on the cob.
More Than Food
A braai not only has wonderful cuisine, but it’s also a tremendously communal event. It takes time for the fire to provide the correct amount of heat, then there’s eating, drinking, and drinking some more. This is what a braai is all about: a lengthy social gathering that might stretch for hours.
Braaing is one of the few cultural and racial barriers that exist in Africa. The enjoyment of meat cooked over a wood fire is something that all Africans share, regardless of language, ethnicity, or culture. It is, after all, an African custom.
Any Time Of Day
There’s always a braai going on, whether it’s for breakfast, noon, supper, or late. A good braai has no time limits, unlike a BBQ, which is usually done throughout the day. When in the bush, locals cook their coffee and breakfast over a braai, and they braai on weekends as well as midweek dinners, and they even braai after a night out.
It’s All About The Atmosphere
A braai is all about having fun and meeting up with friends, combining everything Namibians enjoy: family, friends, wonderful food, and alcohol. A braai is frequently held in conjunction with another event, such as a rugby match, providing a lively (and noisy) environment.
Follow The Rules
At most braais, only one “braaier”—usually the host—is present, and backseat braaing is frowned upon. Each braaier has their own set of procedures and devices that they usually employ, and there may be an unspoken rule that no one may tell them otherwise.
An Abundance Of Food
At a braai, there’s never a lack of food. Expect a lot of meat, salads, and, of course, braaibroodjies, which are basically toasted sandwiches with bread, cheese, onion, and tomato. This is the hero of any braai, after the meat.
Namibia’s Favourite Braai Meat
If you like fish and happen to be in the Zambezi area, Zambezi bream is a must-try Namibian cuisine. Zambezi Bream, sometimes known as dwarf fish, is a type of fish found in Southern African river systems. Fishermen typically capture them in the middle of the night and sell them fresh the next morning at marketplaces.
Kapana is a delicious, grilled beef dish that is often prepared with kapana spice, chile, and salt. A common side dish with Kapana is a “salsa” of chopped onions and tomatoes. The freshness of the meat is enhanced by this cool dip. Kapana is distinguished from other grilled meats by the fact that it is cooked from freshly killed cattle. It’s cooked and served just off the grill. Single Quarters in Namibia’s capital, Windhoek, is well-known for serving the tastiest Kapana in the country.
Boerewors are an essential part of Namibian cuisine. The name is taken from the Afrikaans/Dutch word “farmer’s sausage,” which means “farmer’s sausage.” Boerewors are coarse-ground sausages that originated in Europe and were initially brought to Africa by way of South Africa and Namibia. Boerewors is a South African sausage composed mostly of minced beef, salt, and vinegar. The mixture is spiced up before being stuffed into the sausage casing. Boerewors can also be made with lamb, pork, or a combination of the two. Boerewors can be grilled over an open fire, cooked in a skillet, or baked in the oven. At a nice outdoor picnic, this meal is often served with a famous battered barbecue bread and potato salad.
Marathon chicken is named for a pleasant and unusual cause. The term ‘marathon’ refers to the act of running a marathon. This is due to the fact that hens in Namibian towns and villages are frequently allowed to wander free. Children are frequently asked to catch the cooked chicken. As a result, a running marathon would be necessary, with the youth of the town or hamlet attempting to catch the chicken as it flew. This meal is usually served to visitors or on special occasions. Chicken is more of a treat than beef or goat, which are more often consumed meats.
— Bronwyn Reynolds, Fizzin