Chic African Culture Africa Factbook

Anthony Bourdain Tasted Kudu Antelope, Mopane Worms, and Chakalaka

Anthony Bourdain tasted South African dishes like kudu antelope, mopane worms, and chakalaka in his show Parts Unknown in 2013. 

Anthony Bourdain was a famous chef and travel writer who visited South Africa in his show Parts Unknown in 2013. He explored Johannesburg, Soweto, and the countryside, and tasted dishes like kudu antelope, mopane worms, and chakalaka. Learn of the highlights of his journey and what he learned about the culture, history, and cuisine of South Africa and tips on how to travel like Bourdain and experience the country in an authentic and respectful way.

Anthony Bourdain cooking in south Africa


Bourdain started his trip in Johannesburg, the largest city in South Africa and a hub of commerce, art, and diversity. He met with local journalists, musicians, and activists who showed him the vibrant and creative side of the city, as well as the challenges and inequalities that still persist. He visited places like Constitution Hill, a former prison that now houses the Constitutional Court; Maboneng Precinct, a regenerated area with galleries, cafes, and street art; and Yeoville Market, a bustling spot where he sampled food from different African countries.


From Johannesburg, Bourdain headed to Soweto, a township that was once the epicenter of the anti-apartheid struggle. He met with Nelson Mandela's former bodyguard, who took him to Mandela's old house and shared stories of his life and legacy. He also joined a group of bikers who rode through the streets of Soweto, waving at locals and stopping at landmarks like the Hector Pieterson Memorial and the Orlando Towers. He ended his day with a braai or barbecue at a local shebeen aka pub, where he enjoyed meat, beer, and music with his new friends.


Bourdain's final destination was the countryside of South Africa, where he explored the natural beauty and rural traditions of the land. He visited a game reserve where he saw lions, elephants, giraffes, and other wildlife. He also met with a family of Afrikaners who invited him to their farm for a feast of kudu antelope, mopane worms, chakalaka a spicy vegetable relish, and melktert custard tart. He learned about their history and culture as descendants of Dutch settlers who have lived in South Africa for centuries.

Kudu antelope is a type of game meat that is widely hunted and consumed in South Africa and other parts of southern Africa. It is lean, tender, and rich in protein and iron. Bourdain described it as delicious and very mild when he tried it at a restaurant in Johannesburg. Kudu antelope can be prepared in various ways, such as grilled, roasted, stewed, or dried into biltong, a type of jerky.

Mopane worms are not actually worms, but caterpillars of the emperor moth Gonimbrasia belina. They feed on the leaves of the mopane tree, which gives them their name. Mopane worms are considered a delicacy and a source of protein for many people in southern Africa, especially in rural areas where other sources of animal protein are scarce or expensive. Bourdain was brave enough to try some raw mopane worms at a market in Soweto, and he said they tasted like "gritty, corny sawdust". However, most people prefer to cook them by boiling, frying, or smoking them. They can also be dried and stored for later use.

Chakalaka is a spicy vegetable relish that is popular in South African cuisine. It is usually made with tomatoes, onions, peppers, carrots, beans, and curry powder, but there are many variations depending on the region and personal preference. Chakalaka can be served hot or cold, as a side dish or a main course. Bourdain enjoyed it with pap, a type of maize porridge, and boerewors, a type of sausage at a barbecue in Pretoria. He said it was "very good" and "very spicy".

These are just some of the foods that Anthony Bourdain tried during his trip to South Africa. They reflect the diversity and richness of the culture and history of the country and its people. If you ever get a chance to visit South Africa, I encourage you to try them too. You might be surprised by how much you like them.

Cooking in South Africa

Travel Tips

Bourdain's trip to South Africa was an eye-opening and inspiring experience that showed him the diversity, complexity, and resilience of the country. If you want to travel like Bourdain and discover South Africa for yourself, here are some tips to follow:

Be curious and open-minded. South Africa is a country with many different cultures, languages, religions, and histories. Don't be afraid to ask questions and learn from the people you meet. Respect their opinions and perspectives, even if they differ from yours.

Be adventurous and adventurous. South Africa has a lot to offer in terms of food, music, art, and nature. Try new things and taste new flavors. You might be surprised by what you like or dislike. Don't be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and explore beyond the tourist attractions.

Be aware and responsible. South Africa is also a country with many challenges and problems. Poverty, crime, corruption, racism, and violence are still realities for many people. Be aware of your surroundings and follow safety precautions. Don't flaunt your wealth or take advantage of others. Support local businesses and organizations that are making a positive difference in their communities.

Mopane worms are a traditional delicacy
Mopane worms are a traditional delicacy

How to Cook the Fried Mopane Worms Recipe Anthony Bourdain Sampled.

Fried Mopane worms are a traditional delicacy in various African countries, particularly in Southern Africa. These edible caterpillars are known for their high protein content and nutty flavor. It's important to purchase dried Mopane worms from a reputable source to ensure they are safe for consumption and properly processed. 


1 cup dried Mopane worms

Vegetable oil for frying

Salt or seasoning of your choice 


Begin by rehydrating the dried Mopane worms. Place them in a bowl and cover them with boiling water. Let them soak for about 10 minutes until they soften. Drain the water from the worms and pat them dry using a paper towel.

Heat vegetable oil in a deep frying pan or skillet over medium-high heat. The oil should be deep enough to fully submerge the worms. Once the oil is hot, carefully add the Mopane worms to the pan. Be cautious as the moisture from the worms may cause the oil to splatter.

Fry the worms for approximately 5-7 minutes or until they turn golden brown and become crispy. Stir them occasionally to ensure even frying. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the fried worms from the oil and transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.

Season the fried Mopane worms with salt or your preferred seasoning, such as chili powder, garlic powder, or a spice blend, for added flavor. Allow the worms to cool slightly before serving. They are typically enjoyed as a snack or side dish.

While fried Mopane worms may be an acquired taste, they offer a unique culinary experience that allows you to explore the diverse flavors and traditions of African cuisine. If you're feeling adventurous, give this traditional dish a try and embrace the cultural significance it holds in certain African communities.


More Articles to Read from Chic African Culture

Show more

This Week’s Best Posts and Pages

Food, Drink Offerings at Rock-Cut Tombs

Architectural Glory: The Nouakchott Mosque of Mauritania

Mesurado Bay Birth of a Liberian Colony

Ghana-Togo Border Closing in 1986