The Definitive Guide to Houston

The Only Place in Texas For South African Cuisine

in Dining & Nightlife by

What is South African cuisine?

If you’re wondering, you’re not alone – for most, the food of South Africa is shrouded in mystery, an elusive phenomenon that no one can quite put a finger on. The reason for its impalpability is twofold. One, South African cuisine is a melting pot of flavors, reflective of the cultural diversity that has given the Republic of South Africa its nickname, the “Rainbow Nation.” Two, no one in Texas has ever served South African food – until recently.

South African-born chef Paul Friedman, along with co-founders Thomas Nguyen and Michael Tran, conspired to change that in 2009. That’s when their Peli Peli concept first opened doors in Houston, proudly serving one of the rarest cuisines in the US. Today, Peli Peli has expanded to four Houston locations, with an Austin space on the horizon. Their incredible food, cocktails, and wine make their popularity unsurprising, but Peli Peli’s success is rooted deeper than mere culinary excellence: Their fusion of flavors perfectly embodies the Houston restaurant scene, a world that’s as diverse as the city it reflects.

The South African Sampler is a prime example, boasting a stunning array of unique South African appetizers: boerewors (sausage), biltong (tender, cured meat), chicken sosatie (kebab), bobotie (Peli’s award-winning spiced beef dish), and stuffed peppadews (a trademarked sweet pepper that was discovered in ‘93). The Cape Town Skillet is another standout, featuring a variety of tender seafood and crowned by jumbo Tiger Prawns, perfectly seasoned with Peli’s house sauce.

Photo by Two Cats Communications

The wine list is itself worth a trip. The rare collection features 90% South African wine, as well as the exclusive Peli Peli Private Label, produced in the heart of the Western Cape by award-winning winemaker Ntsiki Biyela.

For an insider’s look into this must-try restaurant, watch our exclusive video below.

Video by Two Cats Communications

Mary Cate is a Houston-based writer, photographer, and reading fiend, recently returned to her native city after time in Austin and New York City. She loves sharing the best of Houston with the world — margaritas, anyone? She and her husband serve local businesses through their digital content company, Two Cats Communications.

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