A Carb Coma Guide To Cape Town
Wale Street 74, a forgotten piece of toast lies on the ground below a washed out pink wall and curved black lettering that reads Plastic Sandwich.
The streets of Cape Town feel littered with metaphors given the task at hand and this detail of broken bread could be taken directly from a line of Alanis Morrissete’s 90s classic ‘Ironic’, but I digress.
It seems only appropriate that this guide was tested in the arresting rays of the morning after a late night before. Fresh air and a feast on foot seems as healthy a remedy as any. Additionally, a creeping realisation that your pockets are significantly lighter, throat drier and stomach emptier might lead you here. A Carb Coma Guide to Cape Town, nestling in the interstices of this city’s epicurean belly, and serving banting-free fare at any odd hour:
1. Kwikspar on Kloof Street, open from 8:00 – 21:00
The perfect way to start the day, although unfortunately they don’t make them every day, warm pancakes are generously dusted with cinnamon sugar and lemon juice on request (R10). Eat them hot or cold, on the move or in bed (we don’t judge). Alternatively, try the sugary doughnuts, which at R3 each make for a delicious treat any time of day.
2. Fresh Basket, 8 St Georges Mall, open 6:30 – 17:00
An entirely accidental find, Fresh Basket caught my attention by the sheer size of their R10 samoosas. To call them large is simply false advertising, they are monumental. With a sweet Malay-spiced filling and a crispy crust, these hearty bites solidify this small establishment as a city centre keepsake.
3. Lusitania, 49A Waterkant St, Cape Town City Centre, open 6:00 – 20:00
Whilst I am still a newbie to this iconic establishment, the daily queue out its door is evidence enough that this is a prime location to get your freshly fried fishy fare. Regular chips are a steal at only R18.
Fresh Stop Caltex, 2 Dock Road, Foreshore open 24hrs
A few cheat’s metres outside the city centre you’ll find a Caltex Fresh Stop where I wholeheartedly recommend trying the delightfully named Chip Chow with perri-naise (it’s a thing, trust me, be brave) for just R26. Watch as a bowl of hot fried slap chips are unceremoniously dropped into the warm hollow of a freshly baked ciabatta loaf, nestled on crisp lettuce and then laden with vinegar and an unexpectedly spicy sauce. A sandwich I suggest sharing.
Late night bite(s):
Engen, 27 Annandale St, open 24hrs
A personal favourite of mine is to stock up on the freshly baked pretzel rolls available at the bakery (R5). I always find my German roots synonymous with hearty food, so when I can’t be at home enjoying Käse spätzle with caramelised onions, Knödel or buttery Bratkartoffeln I can at least wake up the next morning to a considerately bought extra roll that is both salty and satisfying.
Unknown vendor, Long Street, hours not stipulated
Finally, no night on Long Street is complete without the wafting smell of grilling meat emitting from a haphazardly set up sidewalk braai. I opted for a Russian this time; from a friendly guy who simply insisted it was superior to the boerewors, its street meat contender.
Slim pickings for affordable food in Cape Town, there are not, and I admit I have only scratched the surface, so go forth, break bread and save some cents in this monopoly town. In the meantime, with still-oily fingers, a full belly and visions of Sophie Calle’s chromatic diet reverberating in my mind, there is only one thing left to do: take a nap and tomorrow… have a salad.
Stephani Muller is an art maker, paper enthusiast, reader and eater. Exciting travels soon await her…