There is such a wealth of excellent eateries in Cape Town, it’s easy sometimes to forget the ones you raved about previously. On the bright side, that means you have the joy of rediscovering them all over again.
I walked into Eastern Food Bazaar the other day after probably two years’ absence. On an otherwise quiet Sunday in the CBD it was just as packed, loud and bustling as I remember. Instantly the smell of spices from across Asia and the Middle East arrests your senses, and there’s no way you can turn around and go home despite the queues because now nothing will satisfy you but a taste of whatever that aroma is.
You’ll get more than a taste though, that’s for sure. One of the things that ensures EFB’s popularity is its low prices combined with staggeringly large portions. My mouth-watering chicken schwarma with all the trimmings was at least two wrists thick, with French fries on the side. (Because god knows you can’t have one without the other?)
I’m jumping ahead I’m afraid. For the more wide-eyed among us, let me just explain that EFB is more cafeteria than restaurant. You peruse the various fast-food style menus lit up above each trader, then you queue at a central till to pay and get drinks. Take your slip to your ‘restaurant’ of choice and wham, bham, hello schwarma/curry/noodle/tandoori heaven.
Nabbing a table becomes a competitive sport, so sit down as soon as you spot one then take it in turns to explore the self-service sauces. With plastic cutlery and plates, it’s not fancy by any stretch of the word, but I’ll sacrifice starched linen and bottle service for those flavours any day…
Where Grand Parade end of Longmarket Street, CBD
Trading hours Monday to Saturday 9 am – 11 pm, Sunday 9 am – 10 pm
Cost R45 (average meal)
Contact +27 21 461 2458, www.easternfoodbazaar.co.za
Photography Stefan du Toit