‘My South African Kitchen’ brings tea time to Waco

My South African Kitchen has been blossoming lately, especially at the weekly farmers market. Photo courtesy of Shelbye Gingerich

By Riley Grieble | Contributor

The weekly Waco Farmers Market allows small companies to expand their customer base while telling their story. Lauren da Silva, owner of My South African Kitchen, is a testament to that.

“Desserts all have a different story behind them,” da Silva said.

Da Silva moved her family to Waco four years ago from South Africa and found herself craving the South African cultural “tea time” practice. She said she didn’t realize how much they cherished it until they moved and noticed the cultural differences. For one, drive-thru restaurants are not a thing in South Africa, but are much more common in the U.S.

“Coffee exists to create connections,” da Silva said.

In other cultures, coffee or tea is often an afternoon event where people take time out of their day to slow down and connect to community around 4 p.m.

“We want everyone to see the beauty that immigration can bring to a community,” da Silva said.

Centennial, Co. junior Claire Rainey said she goes to My South African kitchen and appreciates the stories the bakery’s desserts tell.

“Each dessert serves to cultivate a different culture,” Rainey said. “Each with its own unique background and taste.”

‘My South African Kitchen’ serves treats inspired by the cultures in Poland, United Kingdom, Portugal, India, Australia and South Africa.

The idea of ‘My South African Kitchen’ started when the pandemic shut down the world in March 2020. Da Silva said she brought the idea to her husband, thinking South African food would do well in Waco and teach the dining culture.

“The pandemic nearly wiped out our chances of getting a green card,” da Silva said, so the family “started on a journey of reflecting on how have we really made the most of being here in the United States.”

My South African Kitchen offers treats like date balls, coconut ice, Romany creams and many other tea-time snacks.

My South African Kitchen has a booth at the Waco Farmer’s Market every Saturday and a permanent location located on Austin Avenue and Fifth Street. Customers can stay up to date on changes and locations through the bakery’s Instagram and Facebook. Customers can also order online for pick-up or delivery, they also offer to pair a sweet treat with a tea or coffee in partnership with Waco Cha.