Kapana, Namibia’s soul food

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Words Lavinia Kapewasha & Photographs Annelien Robberts

There are many reasons to travel. Food is one. There’s one thing we can all agree on, food doth maketh the experience.

Ask any traveller, when one wants to experience a culture, one has to hit the streets for an authentic, raw and unapologetic experience. Take the Masala dosas of India, the cute appeal of Halo-halo of the Philippines, to the Nyama choma in Kenya… and for Namibia? Well, it’s a little thing called kapana.

What is kapana?

Kapana is a meat delicacy wherein red meat, fat trims, liver or kidney are flamed grilled and served with a salad of finely chopped onion, tomatoes, vinegar, chillies and spice. The best place to experience kapana is at Single Quarters, also known as Oshetu Community Market.

Explore Single Quarters

Arriving at Single Quarters, the buzz and atmosphere instantaneously hit you. It’s a sensory overload. Vendors and hawkers splay meat out, butchery style, as they cut the best pieces per customer requests. All the while your nostrils are tickled by the mixture of barbecued meat, spices and wood. Unfortunately, it’s not for the squeamish, nor the vegetarians. Did we mention that we’re a meat-eating country?

From the moment you enter, vendors invite you to partake in tasting their barbecued goodness. Word of caution, don’t buy straight away. First, you need to experience kapana. Enjoy a few pieces from different vendors before you settle on your favourite. It isn’t being cheap – it’s a common formality, an etiquette.

See how kapana is flame-grilled in Valentina’s world travel video.

How to enjoy kapana

Once satisfied, pick out your preferred meat pieces, salt, spices and chillies and don’t forget the salad. Dive into the meaty experience right by the grill or sit down at the tables if you’re feeling fancy. While you’re at it, get yourself some vetkoek (deep-fried dough bread) or roosterbrood (grilled bread) to make it a well-balanced Namibian meal.

Another bonus is that kapana is a pocket-friendly venture. You determine how much you want to spend – more money, more kapana… not more problems. Why not start at N$20.00 to begin with, and top it up if you’re still feeling peckish?

Yes, Namibia’s scrumptious beef is reason enough to visit Single Quarters, however, understanding the magnitude of Kapana will give you that sought-after enriching experience. It is a lifestyle – a cultural phenomenon. It’s the conversations amongst friends while nursing or quelling a hangover, it’s the banter between yourself and a vendor or the exchange between different people, cultures and creeds. It’s the ability to stand in a place with such a rich history and be amongst each other, united in love for meat. Note, you won’t look at meat the same way again.

When to visit

Make your way to Oshetu Community Market located on Genesis street in Katutura, north of Windhoek. The market is open from Sunday to Sunday, from 6.00 am till 10.00 pm. Plenty of time to fill your meaty desires.

Read about Bernd Grahl’s experience at Single Quarters here.

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Annelien Robberts
Travel News Namibia
Travel News Namibia
Travel News Namibia is a high-quality glossy Namibia travel and lifestyle magazine tasked with promoting Namibia to the world. With riveting stories, first-hand encounters and magnificent photographs showcasing tourism, travel, nature, adventure and conservation, TNN is the ultimate and most comprehensive guide to exploring Namibia. Travel News Namibia is published in five different editions per year. These include four English- language editions and one German. Travel News Namibia is for sale in Namibia and South Africa.

1 Comment

  1. […] We kind of love street food. There is just something about the atmosphere of the markets, the realness and the community behind it all. You can always sense the pride in the vendors that work together to provide a meal that can feed the community. The butchers who have honed their cutting skills selling chops to visitors or even other vendors who then turn it around and cook it fresh the best ways they know how. The farmers selling their weekly crops. The cheese maker, bread baker and candy creator. I am just so amazed at how these market stand treats so often become a mainstream food frenzy. (Thinking trendy tacos, bahn mi and ramen, just to name a few . So this week, the Global Kidchen ate dinner in Namibia enjoying a Kapana, Grilled Meats – street food style. […]

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