This year was the first time that I spent my Fourth of July in a country outside of the United States. I had gotten so used to hearing the fireworks go off at night or watch the show on TV. Nonetheless, I had an amazing day here in Cape Town. For dinner, we went to Mzansi. located in Langa, the oldest township in Cape Town. This restaurant was rated #1 on Trip Advisor, so I had pretty high expectations going in.
When we first walked in, there was a small gift shop area, with hand made jewelry made and paintings on canvas. This place felt more like someone’s home than a restaurant, which was the intention of the owner, who called herself Mama. There were other guests who joined us for dinner; we all sat down in one large table. Mama explained how she was the only chef in this restaurant, and cooked all of these meals by herself. There were about ten vegetarian dishes and two meat dishes. It was buffet style. Dishes ranged from beef stew to creamed spinach to salad. Every single dish I tried was delicious. I especially enjoyed the Malva pudding, a traditional South African dessert consisting of warm cake and custard. All throughout the night the band from the local township played music, which provided a nice atmosphere for our dinner. Even though our meal was over, the night wasn’t. Mama told us more about her family, as well as the history and culture about the restaurant. She told us about how this idea for the restaurant came from her late mother. Afterwards, her husband came to join us. He gave us some instruments, and we joined the band for some music and dancing.
Mzansi was by far my favorite restaurant in Cape Town. It was so different from all the other restaurants we went to – it really felt like I was at home. Mama was an amazing cook, as well as a welcoming host. She warmly invited us into her home. This was such an unique and authentic experience, and I’m glad we spent our Fourth of July at Mzansi.