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Finding food in the City of Gold - Johannesburg

Story by Deni Archer

From Houghton to Hillbrow


Johannesburg is a city of many faces: trend and grunge, business and art, wealth and poverty - contrasts are everywhere. Driving from Houghton to Hillbrow is an experience not to miss: quiet, manicured suburbia gives way to bustling, grungy urban dystopia. But we came here to find the food worth talking about, so here it is.

Meeting the city at the markets

We started with the markets. Being here only a week, we could only fit in three, and we’d suggest visiting all: Bryanston Organic Market, the Neighbourgoods Market in Braamfontein, and Market on Main in the Maboneng Precinct. Bryanston has a great selection of local producers, and while they’re not all organic, each stall has a description of just why the producer was selected for the market (very helpful). If you have visited the Neighbourgoods Market in Cape Town, you’ll know exactly what to expect from the Jozi version – great atmosphere, urban-cool setting, ...and many of the same producers. It was a pity there weren’t more local Jozi producers there, but that was nicely covered by Market on Main, in the urban regeneration area called the Maboneng Precinct. With an indoor and outdoor area, good music plenty to peruse it’s the kind of place that can happily consume a Sunday afternoon.

Food experiences

Other places to visit would include Cheese Gourmet in Linden. Brian and Jo pride themselves in having hand-selected the best artisanal cheeses across the country. They’re deeply involved in the Slow Food movement, and are passionate about supporting local producers. A highlight in their store includes the ‘community stand’ where they sell preserves they’ve made from the surplus of local gardens. We’d also recommend a leisurely luncheon at Gourmet Gurus farmstall where chef Richard serves up local (mostly grown on site) and free-range produce, and owners Lionel and Theresa have a few very interesting projects up their sleeves. Or perhaps The Leopard in Parkhurst, where the menu is sensitive to sustainable produce, as well as being delicious. Mkholo Olive Farm provides an interesting day excursion to their farm in Hartbeespoort. Veronica and Patrick Jonsson will guide you through an olive picking and pressing, interesting information about olive oil, and a lunch full of homemade olive-based goodies to delight the taste buds. And if you’re look for something a little different we’d recommend a visit to Soweto’s Moshate Grill for some pap and chakalaka – provided with truly excellent service.

Products to look out for

Products to look out for include Pepe Charlot’s goats cheese made in the French style (he’s offering cheese making workshops as well), PJ’s natural sausage, Heartwood Smokehouse’s smoked meat products, The Mushroom Factory’s mushroom growing kits, Wensleydale Organic fresh and dry product range, Mrs Breadcare gluten free breads (try to tell the difference between her breads and normal bread), Les Jardins de Gaia fair trade tea, and Braeside Butchery ethical meat. Too many to mention here but the list goes on, and the stories will be coming soon.

Thanks Jozi, it’s been great!

Entrance to the Neighbourgoods Market in Braamfontein. expect the same vibey atmosphere and great food as the market of the same name in Cape Town - also many of the same producers.


View from above the Market on Main in the Maboneng Precinct. Great market, great vibe, mostly local Jozi producers!


Jo and Brian from Cheese Gourmet have a hand-picked selection of the top artisanal cheese in South Africa in their store in Linden. They also have a 'community stand' where they sell preserves made from surplus produce from neighbourhood gardens!


The Leopard in Parkhurst has a 'sustainable' menu including free range grass fed beef, and they only serve SASSI green list fish.


Veronica in her olive groves on the Highveld (left), and Monica and Michael at Moshate Grill in Soweto (right).


Caroline and her team at Braeside Butchery in Parkhurst. Caroline is passionate about sourcing the best, ethically raised meat and educating customers about the issues.


Aurelie is bringing fair trade tea to Jozi. Les Jardins de Gaia also works with Rooibos farmers to ensure fair treatment of labour. The quality of the tea is excellent, says Aurelie.


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