Say Hello to our newest host, Zaida Tofie of Cape Malay Food Market!
It was by chance that we discovered this food gem in the old Cape Quarter on a hot summer afternoon. We were drawn to Cape Malay Food Market with its vintage charm: whitewashed wooden tables with magenta table runners, indigenous Protea flowers atop kitchen shelves, and the spicy fragrance of Cape Malay delicacies slow cooking in the open-plan kitchen!
Zaida welcomed us into her restaurant with a wide smile, handing us glasses of chilled water infused with mint and cucumber. “It is too hot outside! Come sit in the shade and cool off,” she cooed. It wasn’t long before Zaida shared her story with us. A globe trotter at heart, Zaida has traveled and lived in South Africa, UK and USA while consulting for the Transportation industry. While living abroad, Zaida found herself entertaining friends with age-old Cape Malay recipes passed on from generations past… The bustle in the kitchen as new friends gather to help prepare a meal, laughter shared over conversation, and hot lamb curry on cold winter nights eased her yearning from home. But it wasn’t long before she chose to return home to Cape Town, because she missed “people’s warmth and passion for life”.
Upon her return, Zaida was surprised by Cape Malay food’s dominant status as cheap fast food in the Cape. While roti saloomi and masala steak sandwiches had always been basic staples, there is much more to Cape Malay food. Zaida struggled to find eateries that serve traditional dishes such as Cape Malay Boeber (rosewater infused milk with toasted almond), Lamb denningvleis (tamarind sweet & sour braised lamb), or Sweet potato pudding with stewed fruits. Underwhelmed, she decided to open up her own restaurant, the Cape Malay Food Market. She aspires to reposition authentic Cape Malay cuisine with fine dining standards, rounded out with historic charms through family recipes and home blend spices!
Zaida has agreed to host our next Food and Chatter food experience, where she will be treating us to an 8-course family meal on March 26th, at 18h30 for 19h00. We can’t wait to meet our new friends and rediscover Cape Town’s traditions through food!
See you soon!