Padkos: food on a South African road trip

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We recently went on a two-week long road trip that took us through six of South Africa’s nine provinces. The first thing to remember when planning a road trip is what you will eat on your way to your destination. In South Africa, we call this padkos. Directly translated it would be Road food. Padkos is an essential element of a road trip if you are a South African.

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Types of Padkos

So, what does padkos consist of?


We stopped next to the road at one of the picnic tables while driving from Kimberley (South Africa) in the Northern Cape to Oudtshoorn in the Western Cape, here is what we had.

  • Muffins: We had two types of muffins – a sweet chocolate chip muffin and savoury spinach and cheese muffin.
  • Vetkoek: We had mini vetkoek, but normally vetkoek is bigger. These are fried dough balls with different fillings, including spicy mince. Some people like their vetkoek with cheese and jams, but you can fill it with anything.
  • Frikkadels, also known as meatballs: You can have chicken meatballs, beef or pork. We stuck to the traditional beef one.
  • Sosaties, also called kebabs (not to be confused with Indian Kebabs that are meatballs): Pieces of meat on a stick. Sometimes fruits or vegetables like pineapple or green peppers may be added in-between the pieces of meat for extra flavour.
  • Sausages: cocktail sausages work best, but South Africans love boerewors – a thick, juicy sausage.
  • Pancakes: Usually eaten with cinnamon sugar, we had pancakes with a chicken mayonnaise filling.

Some things we did not have on that specific day but nibbled on along the way include:

  • Biltong: Dried raw meat. Almost like jerky, but better!
  • Droe wors: Dried raw sausage, a similar concept to that of jerky. It is delicious.
  • Boiled eggs
  • Cornbread. My gran always used to make cornbread for our road trips. I can recall its taste so clearly.

There are no rules as to what you can have for padkos, but it must not be something that gets soggy or loses flavour.

Every family probably has their preferences for padkos.

What food do you take on a road trip? Does your family have a favourite item for a road trip?

Padkos- food on a South African road trip

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