Amawele's South African Kitchen: Expand Your Lunch Horizons

Spicy and sour is a seductively simply combination that couldn't be more alien to what we think of as typical American food. Its dominance in the food at Amawele's South African Kitchen is explained in a helpful blurb that describes the provenance as an amalgam of various African cultures with British, Indian, Afrikaner and Malaysian influences. Yum.

"The twins" in Zulu, Amawele's — that is, "ah-muh-WAY-lay's" — has a menu that approximates what you usually find at a food truck these days. It's a good selection of hot, $8-ish things with basic drinks in cans, but instead of tooling around town on four wheels, it's planted in the Rincon Center food court best known for the dim sum queue at Yank Sing. And you don't have to shout upwards through a tiny window to place your order with these two friendly women.

For plates, there are Cape Malay Curry Quinoa and Curry Rice, as well as the "Chicken Bunny" bread bowl; variations on a sandwich comprise the rest. If you think veggie-heavy South African food is sounding a bit delicate for you, veer towards the Vetkoek & Mince curry (translation: deep-fried bread & ground beef) or the Frikadella Slap Chip Roll — basically, a meatball sandwich with the best name ever.

The Chicken Durban roti wrap feels almost like a gyro, except with fresh ingredients in lieu of that reconstituted/freeze-dried astronaut leather stuff that sometimes passes for meat. We don't remember the last time we enjoyed lima beans so much — enough to ignore the dulcet tones of mall security guard walkie-talkies, even.

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