Whenever my parents come to visit me, there is one place my dad insists on going to. The Eastern Food Bazaar. In fact, whenever any relative comes to Cape Town, he tells me to take them there. Forget going up Table Mountain or relaxing on Clifton Beach. For him, the Eastern Food Bazaar is one of the best places to go to when visiting the Cape, and I totally understand.
I first encountered the Bazaar in my varsity years, when cash was limited but going out was a regular thing. Going there was always value for money. The food was good, reasonably priced, and the large portions meant we would eat for two days. It took a while for me to introduce my parents to it (I made them take me to more expensive places when I was studying), but when I did it was quite an experience.
At first, they were apprehensive at the way things were done. The were overwhelmed by choices and confused about how things worked. Luckily I was there as their ‘bazaar guide’. I showed them where to pay, collect the slips and stand for their respective dishes.
Queuing at different counters waiting for someone to dish up your food was very strange. It’s kind of like queuing at a canteen. When they eventually got their food, they understood why the place is so awesome.
Fragrant curries, delectable naans and parathas, tasty samosas and chilli bites – these are just a few of the very many things you can eat there. One of the reasons my dad loves this place so much is that your curry comes with rice, dahl and salad – something you almost always have to buy separately at most restaurants. If Indian food does not float your boat, there are plenty of other Eastern cuisines to enjoy. Chinese, Turkish, you can even get pizza if you are not feeling adventurous. There is a great selection of baked goods, ice cream and lassi if you are craving something sweet. All the food is halal and there are plenty of great dishes for vegetarians.
Regardless of whether you sit and eat or get a takeaway, you will receive a generous helping of food. The crowd, communal tables and self-service takeaway stations can be a bit overwhelming, but once you settle into the groove, it’s smooth sailing. I have been to the Eastern Food Bazaar at different times on different days, and it is almost always full. People endure the crowds and wait in long lines because they know it will be worth their while. It has become an institution in the city and is a firm favourite for locals and tourists alike.
The Eastern Food Bazaar is a weird, wonderful machine that somehow works. You can go on a culinary adventure within its narrow passageway or stick to what you like. Either way, you will be full and happy.
When Monday – Thursday 11 am – 10 pm, Friday – Saturday 11 am – 10:30 pm
Where 96 Longmarket Street, CBD
Cost According to menu
Contact +2721 461 2458, [email protected], www.easternfoodbazaar.co.za