Abstract: The diverse cultural spaces of eThekwini (Durban), South Africa, reflect the accommodations and daily cultural negotiations made by the residents of a city whose demographies represent the complex inheritances of interactions between a long history of colonial segregation, nearly 50 years of formal apartheid policies, rapid modernisation, and global networks of migration, production and exchange. This article explores the heavily gendered spaces in which the street food which is characteristic of many areas of the city is produced. ‘Kitchens’, whether a paraffin stove on the street or in an ‘informal’ settlement shack, or dedicated space in a modern flat or house, locate and position borrowings, appropriations and imitations in ingredients, techniques and recipes, between diverse cultural traditions. The cultural performance of identity links the private and the public, the kitchen and the spaces of consumption. Food, and the making of food, are inscribed with ethnicity, with understandings of what is ‘real’, of authenticity and tradition.