Boggoms hanging up at Dassiesfontein Farm Stall near Caledon.

Bokkoms hanging up at Dassiesfontein Farm Stall near Caledon.

Bokkoms (or Bokkems) is whole, salted and dried mullet (more specifically the Southern mullet, a type of fish commonly known in the Western Cape of South Africa as “harders”), and is a well-known delicacy from the West Coast region of South Africa. This salted fish is dried in the sun and wind and is eaten after peeling off the skin. In some cases it is also smoked. It is sometimes referred to as “fish biltong”.

The word bokkom comes from the Dutch word bokkem, which is a variant of the word bokking (or buckinc in Middle Dutch).The word bokking is derived from the word bok (the Dutch word for buck or goat), and refers to the fact that bokkoms remind you of of goat, because bokkoms have the same shape as the horns of a goat, it is just as hard as a goat’s horns, and it stinks just as much as the horn of a goat (goats have scent glands behind their horns which causes the smell).The first official record of the use of the word in the Afrikaans language of South Africa was in the Patriotwoordeboek in 1902 in the form bokkom.

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