I love cooking. My most cherished memories are, when on public holidays or on cold winter Saturdays my mom would sit my sister and I down and teach us how to bake. My love for savory cooking started and I can’t believe this, when I mastered how to make stovetop popcorn at around age 9. I burnt it so many times, but I wouldn’t have the heart to throw it away so my sister, my childhood friend Ida and I would eat burnt popcorn. But you know what they say, the difference between the master and the student is that the master has failed more times than the student has even tried (Stephen McCrainie). Now at 24, I consider myself the Goddess of Popcorn. Anyone who knows me knows that I think it’s the actual manner from heaven that was said to rain down on Moses and the Israelites in their years of exodus.
However, the vendors at the Fourways Farmers Market are on another level. The food there is downright delicious. Its cool that they have vendors from all over the world, if you want authentic Korean BBQ, Jamaican Jerk Chicken or Mexican food cooked by some mamacitas then the farmers market is the place for you.
It’s lovely that its outdoors and that they have live acoustic musicians on stage, playing guitar and singing their sweet songs with their beautiful voices. It’s such a good vibe. Actually, I had one of my best times there since moving to Johannesburg earlier this year. And, of course I had awesome company.
I examined all that the market had to offer, from top to bottom and I picked my menu of choice.
- Jamaican Jerk Chicken (R45)
- Korean BBQ (R85)
- Sumting Fresh (R90)
- Sumting Fresh Berry Nice (R45)
- Churros (R20 each)
Jamaican Jerk Chicken
This was honestly one of the most well-prepared chicken dishes I have tasted in my entire life. It blew my mind hole. I think it’s because its seasoning is a spice mix I had never encountered in my life. Although it is braaied and that gives it that familiar smoky flavor. When they served it to me, I was asked if I wanted it to be mild or hot, and me being me said, “I want it to be authentically Jamaican” so however it is normally served in Jamaica will be awesome. The sauce the jerk chicken was dressed in packed a mighty punch as Jamaicans like it hot. However, the parts that didn’t have the sauce, genuinely enjoyed.
I also had an interesting conversation with Patrick, the Jamaican cook, which was sparked by me asking him if he had encountered Xenophobia from South Africans and unfortunately, he had. Which is a shame because Jamaican culture is beloved here and around the globe. Later, as a farewell, I dropped the corniest of pick-up lines to cheer him up. I asked, “Are you from Jamaica? Coz Jamakin’ me crazy”, we both smiled and waved goodbye.
Now this was super tasty, the Koren Mama put her foot in it, as the African Americans say. In the kitchen, she’s the one. This woman had the sauce.
The meal was ultra-crispy deep-fried chicken covered in some kind of ‘sweet chilli sauce’ (as we call it in South Africa) that was sprinkled with sesame seeds. There was also rice with a phenomenal soy-based sauce. The only reason I’m not saying it was ‘out of this world’ is because it was from another part of this world. I also liked how she had cling wrap so you can cover your food if you haven’t finished it in one sitting. It shows that she’s prepared and thinks about her customer’s needs.
Now the service at Sumting Fresh was incredible. The staff had phrases they would say when you asked for extra cheese etc. The leader was a charismatic individual, I laughed at their banter while I was waiting for my freshly prepared food. I had the Italian Stallion menu option, which was two crumbed deep-fried chicken schnitzels, on a bagel, with a napolitana sauce, skinny fries and of course, in the sumthing fresh tradition, a generous serving of parmesan cheese.
At my first bite I thought, is this really worth the instahype? But truth be told later that night I finished my swaggered up chicken burger and the chicken was still crispy. And I tasted that sometimes the familiar tastes recreated with the finest ingredients does offer sumting new.
You guessed it, the drink was berry nice. It was a berry flavoured ginger beer with some fresh fruit for garnish and over time the fruit infused with the liquids, increasing its virant flavour. Honestly, and you know your girl is honest, at first did think it was a bit overpriced (R45). However, with South Africa’s current rate of unemployment I was happy to see that the Sumting Fresh staff was about 20 plus. Also as a customer, you are also paying for good service and the Sumting Fresh stall gives you that in abundance.
If a donut is just a vetkoek that went to a private school, then a churro is the donuts Mexican exchange student. It’s all deep fried sweetened white dough, although churros are crunchy and have a sweet filling. At the stall they had the options of Nutella, caramel and melkkos which is milk tart filling. What is it about crispy deep-fried foods? Where did we as humans acquire this taste? Where did we go wrong? Is it because it’s just entertaining to eat? However, I didn’t feel guilty about the possibility of gaining weight, instead I found eating my churro entirely pleasurable. #NoGuiltyPleasures