Pop your Chilli Popper Cherry – we rate Cape Towns Chilli’s chilli
If you do not know what chilli poppers are, then you are missing out on one of the most magical deep fried treats in the southern hemisphere. The north has deep fried Mars Bars in the UK which I have never tasted in fear of never stopping, and well America will deep fry anything so I can’t be 100% certain on if they have something better or not.
Here in Cape Town however we are stuck with the deep fried Jalapeno stuffed with various cheeses and sometimes coated in bacon – are you drooling already?
I took on the massive task of tasting a few of the varieties that the mother city has to offer, it was a tough challenge, but someone’s got to do it.
Have any suggestions? Let me know in the comments box and I’ll happily go and try them and add them to the ratings list!
Banana Jam – 2nd Avenue, Harfield Village/Kenilworth
2 options of poppers grace the Banana Jam Menu, the original, deep fried stuffed with feta golden delicious and the “banting”option, not deep fried, but encircled in bacon.
The Poppers are crumbed rather than battered, I enjoy this as it seems less like a chilli filled donut and more like a golden crispy coating on the chilli, the dipping mayonnaise is also a WIN
I find the bacon poppers tend to be a bit smaller and less cheese stuffed, the emphasis is more on the bacon side of things, which is not a bad thing, but I enjoy a more voluptuous popper in my life.
Panchos – Lower Main Road, Observatory
It was at Panchos in my student years (high school and I am not telling you when that was) that my chilli popper cherry was popped. These, being the first poppers I had tried were obviously my favourite for a very long time. Panchos does not batter their poppers, instead they roll the chilli in pastry and hold it together with a toothpick. This is a great way around the deep fried for those health conscious out there, as you can just slip the popper out of its shell and voila – bant away.
The jalapeno’s themselves are always top notch but it seems to be the luck of the draw on the sizes you get – a word to the wise, smaller generally means hotter..
Fat cactus – Park Road, Cape Town
Dynamite does not always come in small packages, the poppers I was given were HUGE, with a healthy dose of mayo/tomato mix. Let’s just say it came in handy because these chilli’s packed a punch! A delicious mixture of feta and mozzarella gave the texture of mozzarella with the flavour if Feta. The only downfall in this popper was the doughiness of the batter. I ended up picking most of it off before munching on the chilli
Toad in the village – Boundary Road, Newlands
Not veggie friendly, the poppers at the Toad in Josephine’s come stuffed with cheddar, feta and bacon bits. To be honest, I felt a bit duped when I found that I was only given half a chilli in each popper and then proceeded to scoop the filling out and using the guacamole given instead.
Fireman’s arms – Buitengracht Street, Cape Town
A pub is not a pub without a popper on their menu. When the deliciousness arrived at the table my eyes bulged, they were some big poppers coming my way, but on biting into them, I was disappointed (think a girl wearing a padded bra). It was all batter and no pop. After some digging I found the Chilli and as chilli’s go it was a goodie, but I don’t particularly like to work so hard for my food.
El Burro – Somerset Road, Greenpoint
These poppers are the most different of the lot. El Burro uses smoked Jalapeno’s instead of the preserved kind and stuffs them with “Queso Fresco” which directly translates into Fresh Cheese – a Mexican style cheese. The cheese has a very innocuous taste, but that is because it’s all about the smokey taste of the Jalapeno. The taste is not for everyone but definitely gives the chilli popper a unique feel.
Price: 3 – R55
Jamaica me crazy – Roodebloem Road, Woodstock
With the same vibe as Banana Jam and an almost identical menu, you would expect the same popper. This is not true.
Here, they also have a bacon option, but what they do here is wrap the entire popper batter and all in over large amazing bacon slice. In my opinion this is the best of both worlds. You get your bacon, and you get your cheesy deep fried goodness. The poppers we were treated to were large (I was almost full after my portion – almost) and crispy and of course drenched in bacon J
I couldn’t bring myself to taste the original after the bacon, but I can only assume the goodness.
Hudson’s – Somerset Road, Greenpoint
The three cheese popper is exactly that, cheddar feta and mozzarella stuffed into decent size chilli, what I liked most about the Hudson’s poppers was the salsa dip. After so many mayonnaise based dips a new kind was refreshing, what it didn’t help with though, was the heat of the popper. I think it’s so that you are encouraged to order one of the decadent Hudson’s Milkshake. To be honest, I thought the whole thing a bit bland for my tastebuds in fact, my friend with me explained “Where is the spiciness. Another thing that disappointed me was the batter, if my food is being deep fried, I want it to crunch, this batter was a bit stodgy for my liking,
Now you may notice that I have not given anyone 5 out of 5, but my reason for this is that I haven’t tasted all the poppers in the world and I will keep searching for that better popper, when I find it, don’t worry, I will let you know.
Remember, if you have any suggestions then let me know in the comments box and I’ll happily go and try them and add them to the ratings list!