Safari Gourmet Pies
102-5777 Beresford St.
I was inspired by this post. Also due to the fact that two separate planned trips of mine to South Africa in recent years have been nixed at the last moment, I was feeling like I had to get a taste of some food from that part of the world to get over the bitterness.
Foodosopher detailed quite well many of the items that I made on this purchase in the above link, so feel free to peruse that again to get the background on what biltong and the like are all about…
Safari Gourmet Pies is a bit tricky to find. South a few blocks from busy Kingsway, and nestled amid many automotive-related businesses and shops, is their storefront and production facility. It is associated with a trading company that imports good from South Africa as well next door. On my visit, their shelves were a bit sparse, with the kind proprietor Pam telling me they were expecting shipments again soon.
Also on the main counter was some pre-baked meat pies in a mini-display oven. Frozen ones are available to order (with a slight price reduction), as well as a freezer in the entryway was stocked with items such as Boerewors and Droewors.
And yes Foodosopher, they have Chili Bites too!
Looking to get a sampling of their biltong before I made a larger purchase later should I like them, I got a bag of it prepared, and had it cut into bite sized pieces. Pam informed me she could do this and that the product was still slightly frozen, but after ten minutes or so should be completed defrosted. Even later in the day as I continued to snack on them, they remained moist (and not the semi-dry or dry versions you can get of this). Good beefy flavour, with the fat incorporated in it making it soft and pliable to a degree (you can ask for less-fatty portions as well). It was not as strong on the vinegar taste as I had expected it to be. I’ll have to do a comparison with more variations of their biltong to see if that’s just the way they make it here or not.
Meat pies were a favorite of mine as an after school snack growing up as a youngster. Sometimes home made, and sometimes the pre-packaged type, it didn’t really matter to me. Safari has 16 varieties on their menu list, including some staples like steak & kidney, pepper steak, steak & mushroom, and some curry ones! A pair of sausage rolls (pork, beef) also rounded out their list. Chicken is always what I associate most with meat pies but unfortunately they were out (amid those already pre-baked and ready) of the kind with mushrooms, so opted for the chicken vegetable combo. Pam said that the pepper steak was their best seller, so I had to try that too.
Unbaked pies here will range from $2.75 for the vegetarian and vegetable curry types, to just $3.10 for the most expensive varieties like the steak & kidney. For baked, add about 30 cents. For a well stuffed, palm-sized meat pie, these were very reasonable.
Pam noted they supply some to other businesses in town, so you can get them in other retail environments too.
I loved the flaky crust on these meat pies! And even the edges weren’t over-baked so they weren’t burnt/bitter tasting at all. As much as the filling is key to these things, I feel the crust probably outweighs even that. As I split the chicken vegetable meat pie in half to get a look inside (and for the money shot), the insides spilled out like a dam had been broken. Good sized pieces of chicken meat encapsulated in a rich flavorful gravy.
Pepper on steaks is great. Though I’m not a huge fan of those three-pepper steaks where this is the only flavour you get. For me, this meat pie was the same. The fiery black pepper became the overwhelming taste I got from it. I clearly didn’t enjoy this as much as the relatively milder tasting chicken pie.
After this initial pickup of goodies from Safari and coming away satisfied, I’ll be back to get some more and in larger quantities!
Now, I just got to start working on plans for a third attempted trip to that southern country…