Strap in rainy season mud-ruckers, as we dodge pot-holes, traffic lights that don’t, and falling trees while we continue our journey through Jozi’s food scene.
Since my last article with Jozi-Deep and through the continuation of my food account, Adventures Of A College Foodie, I have become aware of a number of changes in Jozi’s food scene.
With though economic conditions, many fan-favourite restaurants have closed down. Koi, Real Sushi, La Luna, Moemas, and many others are but a few that have left the Jozi scene. The economic conditions, and threat of closing down have forced restaurant owners to rethink their current approaches.
This is, perhaps one reason for Jozi’s booming coffee industry. With cheaper labour, smaller rental spaces, and low-cost food items that attract a larger audience, coffee shops are doing well during these tough times. One indicator of this is the sheer number of Seattle Coffee Company locations – one hundred in Gauteng alone – that have either opened up or continue to run despite many other restaurants closing down.
Interestingly, this coffee shop trend has led to the increased popularity of the ‘coffice’. A ‘coffice’ is a cafe that functions as both a coffee shop and a work or study space for a number of individuals. Arguably, Starbucks reigns supreme with caramel drizzle, dolce sprinkles, caramel brûlée topping, cookie crumbles, and fourteen more toppings options (these truly are “a few of my favourite things”). These flavours, a refillable cup of tea and 400Mbps is no match to a budget-restricted varsity student. Another notable ‘coffice’ is Bloom Coffee in Parkhurst which, despite only being open for a few weeks, has already amassed a large following. This is perhaps an indication of those in Jozi actively choosing to incorporate food into all aspects of their lives, including their workspaces.
A further noteworthy trend in Jozi’s food scene is the increase in health-conscious eating. Well-known supermarkets have begun to stock more health-conscious foods, such as low-carb, gluten-free and sugar-free options. Moreover, these healthy-options are no longer just limited to the higher-end retail market. This health trend has also been carried through to Jozi’s restaurants. Spots like Lexi’s Healthy Eatery and Kaylee’s Eatery have found large fan bases due to their focus on healthy food choices as well as vegan-friendly options.
Jozi has always had an intense love for food, and this love doesn’t seem to be leaving anytime soon. In fact, South Africa is one of the top viewers of Masterchef Australia. By watching programmes like this, Jozi has found itself with an increased knowledge of good home cooking which, in turn, has lead to an increase in the quality of dining out. People expect the kind of food they see in these programmes and our restaurants need to live up to that. My eleven year old sister, an avid fan of Masterchef, has become an ‘expert’ on rating my mother’s food out of ten and has begun to do the same to restaurant food. I would argue that Jozi’s food definitely satisfies even the harshest critics. Jozi continues to have well-priced dining options, fresh produce, and is constantly pushing boundaries.
While Adventures Of A College Foodie has allowed me to further explore Jozi and it’s food, my foodie experience has not been limited to Jozi itself. Through travel, I have also been able to visit a number of international foodie destinations. For example, Voodoo Doughnuts in Austin, Texas. Opened in 2003, Voodoo Doughnuts soon became a viral sensation due to their bright decorations and funky doughnuts like the Bacon Maple Bar. Another internet sensation is the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM in Los Angeles. Sprinkles Cupcakes and its creator Candace Nelson have been said to have sparked a worldwide cupcake revolution with their ATM invention and creative flavours. And, I mean, if anything is going to take over the world why not cupcakes?
Adventures Of A College Foodie has allowed me to look more closely at Jozi’s food trends as well as travel and explore other food cultures. Here’s to many more food adventures and many more posts with Adventures Of A College Foodie!
Jemma Williams is a Wits University student balancing psychology, philosophy, and pastry.
Fueled by caffeine and a love for all things foodie.