Last Friday night my brother came up with a great “family” outing idea. With my folks in town, we decided to head to the Houtbay market around 5pm so that we could get a snack to eat and something to drink before it gets too crazy. It was a beautiful Cape Town day with blue skies and calm wind (yay). I’d actually been receiving PR about the market for ages but because it’s always so packed, I hadn’t bothered to go back. But I was keen to return and check it out so we headed to Houtbay and managed to park close by. Well, actually, we have this family thing where my Dad, brother and I always get a parking at the front door of any where we go and the fact that all 3 of us did on this night, solidified that it’s really a thing. LOL!The Houtbay market is held in an old dock shed, I would say, and offers gift stalls with proudly South African products, a large bar, craft beers and an array of food items that include everything from savories to ice-cream.
I decided to try out some of the dim sum as it’s quite hard to come by in the Mother City. These looked fresh so I gave them a whirl. I went for the chicken and cabbage pot sticker types and a pork one too. They were really enjoyable and really well priced (all 4 cost R35).
Then I spotted a stall with some fighting talk, “Best chilli poppers in town”. Now that’s a can of worms right there! Better than El Burro? Better than Panchos? Better than Neighbourhood? This stand had a lot of live up to!
From the get-go I was impressed with their fun selection. They haven’t taken the basic popper but have added a variety of different stuffings as well as pepper dew poppers. I opted for a traditional 4 cheese popper and a sausage and cheese popper. The verdict? Not bad! But not the best in town I’m afraid. The crumb texture was excellent, they were perfectly fried but were a touch under-seasoned (and I’m not a salt fiend by any means). The chillis were good and quite hot towards the stem (as to be expected). The cheese griller sausage had a hard case so I couldn’t bite into it and the whole sausage fell out. Woaaawww woaaawww, bummer.They did make deep fried Oreos that were super tasty.
For mains I decided to have a falafal pita. I’d eaten from this store before and loved it but unfortunately, this time, it wasn’t as good as last time. In fact, I believe there was a different person managing the staff this time (or different company, not too sure). The falafal balls were SUPER dry and while there was mint yoghurt and hummus, if you bit into the falafal your mouth would instantly dry up! I ate some of it and then had some again the next day and it was just didn’t really do anything for me. Also they were cold which I didn’t expect, I’d only ever had warm ones.
We hit the road soon after and made our way home. The last time I was at the market it was absolutely packed and super busy. This time was far more pleasant but seating is still an issue as only my folks could sit down. They do have different seating areas now though (outside) but with a band playing everyone tends to gravitate towards that area and watch them (and not simply have their dinner and leave). I sound quite fussy in this post but I am quite strict when it comes to food. We live in a country with an abundance of produce and I expect good quality wherever I go and I like to share honest reviews with anyone reading my post – thank you for your time! I’d definitely recommend going down to the Houtbay Market early on a Friday evening or over the weekend as it is a pleasant thing to do. Here’s the band lineup for the #KWVSoundstage this November:
Fri 7th: The Bootleggers – 6 piece blues band
Sat 8th: Stone Jets – Acoustic duo folk/ rock/ pop
Sun 9th: Ashweeta – Experimental duo blues/ afro/ folk
Fri 14th: 7th Wave – 4 piece reggae/ folk/ rock
Sat 15th: Andy Dalton & Heidi – Covers duo
Sun 16th: Lionel Bastos – Acoustic folk solo
Fri 21st: Manouche – 5 piece gypsy swing band
Sat 22nd: Jamie Jupiter – Afro experimental loops
Sun 23rd: Sam Jam – 3 piece cover band
Fri 28th: Afro Fiesta – 4 piece afro/ blues
Sat 29th: Mike Perry, Spencer Mbadu & Richard Pickett – 3 piece laid back afro jazz
Sun 30th: Sivukile – 5 piece marimba band