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Learn how to pronounce these South African dishes just in time for Heritage day

Many traditional dishes have proved very difficult to pronounce for many of us as a result of language and cultural differences. To avoid that happening on Heritage Day, read this and master every single dish's name. Your friends will be impressed!

by: Pumelela Ntsezo, Uhuru Plaatjies | 21 Sep 2017

(image: iStock)

Heritage Day is a day on which South Africans come together, share meals and learn more about each others cultures. However, because of the multitude of languages and cultures we have, one sometimes finds it difficult to learn, appreciate and pronounce everything, especially the different types of food. 

ALSO READ: 7 Weird and wonderful uniquely South African dishes

The issue of language is also very important in our country where a lot of people find themselves in predicaments due to mispronunciation of names and places. We put this list together to aid your Heritage Day feasting sprees. No more mispronunciations of words when ordering. 

1. Umphokoqo : "oom-pho-koh-qoh", the syllables are short and crisp, where there is an 'h' you add more breathe to the sound. This meal is called Krimmelpap in Afrikaans. It is made with mielie meal, water and salt. It is enjoyed with sour milk, or 'maas' as it is often called.

Lunch is served #Umphokoqo #Amasi #BeenAMinute #RandomBehaviour #MommaTrainedMeWell

A post shared by Xolisa Dhlamini (@x_olisa) on

2. Umngqusho : "oom-nqoo-shoh", for this word, you have to press your tongue on the roof of your mouth, just behind your teeth, to get the sound, the 'q' does not sound like a 'k' as it does in English. This is samp and beans and can be served plain or with a number of different sides, the favourite option being stew. 

#umngqusho for a good cause at @stb_kitchen #MandelaDay: buy one plate and they'll donate another to the Night Shelter.

A post shared by Ilse van der Merwe (@the_foodfox) on

3. Ulusu : "oo-loo-soo". This word is relatively easy. It is the isiXhosa word for tripe or as some people call it, avfaal. The insides of a sheep, or a cow. It is usually served with bread or pap. 

#Fave #Ulusu

A post shared by Zinathi iintsikelelo zikaThixo (@zinathi_gq) on

4. Imifino/Umfino: "ee-mee-fee-noh". This dish is a mixture of leafy greens that grow freely and in some cases are planted. More modern adaptations of the vegetable dish include spinach as a base and mielie rice (ground rice, a substitute for mielie meal) is used. 

This reminds of my grandmother #umfino# and my mom cooks it so well.

A post shared by Monica Mica Dulaze (@monicadulaze) on

5. Umqa: "oom-qah", this dish is made with pumpkin and grinding corn, it is a one pot meal, that is very popular with the older generations. 

Also here. Fave. Umqa. #healthIsWealth #nutrition #southafricandish #proud #Umqa #fave

A post shared by phakanyisiwe (@a_colour_film) on

6. Ujeqe/ isonka samanzi: "oo-jeh-qeh (the q is also a click and not a 'k' sound.) Ee-soh-nkah (like you would say car but with an n infront of the 'c') sah-mah-nzee"  Also called steamed bread, ujeqe or isonka samanzi gets its name from how it is cooked. In a pot with boiling water, the bread is put in a dish, inside the pot and the steam from the boiling water cooks the bread. It is best served warm with meat or a slathering of butter.

7. umbhako: "oom-bha-ko". This word is one of the easy ones. One does need to keep the 'ko' crisp and short, it is not a breathy sound. Umbhako is bread baked on a paraffin heater or stove top, in a round pot. A lot of people use Hart pots, the biggest one for a large number of people, or something slightly smaller (third from the biggest) if it is for about 4 or 5 people. It is best served warm as well, with butter or even jam. Hart pots make the best umbhako. However, in rural Eastern Cape, pots called iBakpoti (derived from Afrikaans), a cast-iron pot that is round and has very short legs, with a domed lid. A more modern adaptation is baking the bread in different shaped pots or bread-making machines. The taste and look however, changes. 

8. Amanqina: "ah-mah-nqee-nah". These are also called walkie talkies. Chicken feet are a snack in South African townships and are either boiled or basted and then braaied. They are usually eaten alone but are also enjoyed as part of a larger meal.

Hhhmmmmmm???? #SnackTime #Amanqina #ChickenFeet With Mommy's angel ????

A post shared by Bongi Bee?? (@bongi_bee_) on

9. Smiley: Also called Intloko yegusha "een-tloh-koh yeh-ghoo-shah", is sheep's head. This is usually boiled in salt water. No spices are added because the flavour is more than enough. It is served cut in half, with a bit of salt or Aromat on the side. 

#usmiley #isonkasamanzi #ulusu #morogo

A post shared by · Dennis Molewa · (@dennismolewa) on

10. Iinkobe: "ee-nkoh-beh". The kernels of corn are removed from the cob by hand and then boiled in salt water. This is a snack eaten in rural Eastern Cape mostly. Once cooked, it is served in a bowl, one can add salt or even gravy from meat. 

(Image: Vuyo Makasi)

There you have it! We hope this helps and that you have a beautiful Heritage Day filled with learning about other cultures and the food they serve!

What other hard-to-pronounce South African dishes should we add to this list? TELL us in the comments section below or email us!


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