I found out early on in the year that I would be going to Johannesburg, South Africa for work in May. Dan did consider joining me but his work schedule was still quite busy so he decided to stay back in Abu Dhabi. I flew on the evening of Saturday, May 17 and arrived 8 and a half hours later. We began work right away at the airport and then later that morning checked into the Radisson Blue Hotel in Sandton. Sandton is known as Africa’s richest square mile and is a commercial, business and entertainment hub.
Since I was there for work I didn’t have much opportunity for sight seeing so instead I attempted to immerse myself in the South African cuisine and wine. Upon arrival, I tried the local beef jerky otherwise know as biltong. Biltong is a made from a variety of cured meats including beef, ostrich and game. At breakfast there was always plenty of local fruits, including guava, at the buffet to try. For dinner on the first night, I tried the ostrich with samp and beans and pap. Pap, also known as mieliepap, is a traditional porridge or polenta made from mielie-meal (ground maize). Samp and beans is a traditional dish of the Nguni people of South Africa and is made from slowly cooked sugar beans and samp (crushed corn kernels). The ostrich was done perfectly at a nice medium rare and was very scrumptious.
We were also invited out one evening to Nelson Mandela Square at Sandton City. It is one of the largest open public spaces in the country and the square is a popular place for shopping and dining. We were there to dine so we chose to eat at Trumps International Grill, known for grade A, grain fed Karan beef steaks. That night I went for the wet aged steak.
On my last night, I thought it was time to try the oxtail stew simmered in red wine sauce. On most evenings after dinner I would retire to the lounge to sample the wines. Unfortunately, they had a limited selection by the glass but I got to try the Nederburg Baronne and Boschendale Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon.
I am happy I got the opportunity to visit Johannesburg for work. The food and wine were both little tasters for our upcoming vacation to South Africa in July!