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Barbara on the Barbecue Trail

Barbara on the Barbecue Trail

When you think of South African braai (barbecue), the first thing that comes to mind is meat. But fish braais are a big part of the barbecue culture in on Western Cape (South Africa’s “Cape Cod” to the west of Cape Town). Here’s Barbara Raichlen about to eat some roosterkoek (grilled rolls) at one of the most famous grilled fish restaurants in all of South Africa: Die Standloper.

Well, restaurant is a bit of an overstatement. Strandloper (the name literally means “Beach Walker” is a cluster of lean-tos, arranged around a cluster of fire pits surrounded by dunes on the beach at Langebaan on the Western Cape.
As you’d imagine, fish is what people grill here–especially a rich, meaty South African fish called snook. Here a pit master named Jan Blaaue bastes the snook with a sweet sour mixture of melted butter, lemon juice, apricot jam, and

So how do you turn the fish without it breaking or sticking to the grill grate? Use a fish basket.

Over the course of the three hour lunch, you’ll eat mussels, three types of fish, grilled breads and jams, leading up to the grand finale: grilled lobster.

Even the coffee is cooked on the grill the way the Africaans farmers did a century ago. It’s finished by plunging a burning log into the coffee, which causes the grounds to precipitate to the bottom of the kettle.

Die Strandloper is located in the town of Langebaan about an hour south of Cape Town. Reservations are a must.