Bites of Happiness at Biesmiellah

Words: Karl Tessendorf

Samoosaaaa… that’s the traditional greeting you’ll hear the regular patrons say if you hang around at Biesmiellah long enough. It’s said as they walk in and the meaning is unmistakable. They’ve come for the gloriously golden triangles of crispy crunch that are the samosas at this legendary Cape Town establishment. For just a few rands you can take home a little packet of happiness, or if you’re like me, you supersize that happiness into a box of twenty.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve always been a sucker for a good samosa. I say good samosa because for me there are only two types, good or bad. The bad are the kind you see in the hot food section of the supermarket. They’re dry and withered with too much chewy pastry and bland filling. The good are light, crispy and have the perfect amount of filling with just the right amount of heat. Biesmiellah’s samosas are all that and a bag of paapar bites, which is another treat you should pick up while you’re there.

Biesmiellah samosas.

I think the secret to Biesmiellah’s success is consistency. The place has been on the same corner in charming Bo Kaap for over 42 years. It’s family owned and the chef has been there since day one. There are actually two sides to the building, with one being the takeaway and the other a sit down restaurant. I’ve not been to the restaurant but I hear the food is excellent. It even featured on MasterChef South Africa a few years ago.

When it comes to the samosas, the biggest decision is deciding on beef, chicken, potato or veg. The beef is by far the most popular and the one I’d recommend going for. The filling is a mix of ground beef, onion, green chilli and coriander. It’s a perfect balance of sweet, spicy and herby, and they have an ever so slight, lingering burn. The filling is expertly wrapped in the super crispy golden pastry shell that has an audible crunch as you take a bite.

Biesmiellah samosas.

The biggest problem I have with Biesmiellah’s samosas is that one is never enough. At the very least I’d recommend getting three but what you really should do is get a box and ask them for samosas fresh out the fryer. It takes a little longer to get your order but the wait is so worth it. Just make sure you give them a little time to cool down before diving in. The takeaway also has a huge menu and if you’re looking for something extra I recommend getting a lamb salomie.

It’s funny how something as small as a samosa can have such an impact in a neighbourhood. The Bo Kaap just wouldn’t be the same without Biesmiellah but lucky for us they aren’t going anywhere, anytime soon. So next time you feel the need for a real samosa, head up into Bo Kaap past the lines of brightly painted houses and look for Biesmiellah – home of Cape Town’s best samosa.

2 Wale St, Cape Town

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