We’re in for a double treat this weekend – not only is the World Cup kicking off in Japan this Friday but for many of us, it’s also a long weekend thanks to Heritage Day aka National Braai Day on Tuesday 24 September! Initiated by the Mzansi Braai Institute in 2005, National Braai Day soon gained the patronage of Nobel Peace Prize winner, Emeritus Archbishop Doctor Desmond Tutu and was endorsed by South Africa’s National Heritage Council as Braai4Heritage in 2008.
Practically a national pastime, we don’t need any prompting to gather around a fire with friends and family to enjoy sizzling boerewors; juicy steaks; and tender lamb chops! But this year we thought we’d look at other countries to see what their idea of a braai is.
In Asia, braaing is a popular outdoor activity. In Hong Kong pork braais are known as char si, which literally means ‘fork-roast’ – long and narrow strips of pork are marinated in honey and soy sauce, and then cooked over an open flame. In Japan it’s less meat, more vegetables and seafood; and in Taiwan, braais are commonly held to celebrate their mid-autumn festival.
In Europe, the Germans, considered to be the biggest lovers of grilling on the continent, adore their Bratwurst and pork steaks; while the English are sadly not known for their braai fare despite having a British Barbecue Society. Moving across the water towards North America we encounter stars-and-stripes-style barbecuing or BBQ – which more often than not means hamburgers or hotdogs. It’s only once you get down South that barbecue becomes the real thing, but this is not braai as we know it, but rather a technique that involves cooking meat for long periods of time at low temperatures with smoke from a wood fire.
And then, of course, we get to South America, especially the Argentinians and their asados – probably one of the few countries, apart from the Aussies and their ‘barbies’, that come close to matching our love of open fires and great cuts of meat. At one stage Argentinians were said to eat more beef than any other nation, but they’ve been toppled by Uruguay who eats 56kg per capita while South Africa’s 17th on the list consuming 16kg per capita.
Whatever you’re doing on Heritage Day, whether you’re braaing or not, everyone at N1 – your leading Johannesburg and Cape Town meat wholesalers – wishes you a wonderful day and here’s holding thumbs for the Springboks too!