Bunny Chow

Bunny Chow 

The Bunny Chow (called “bunny” by the locals) is one of the tastier leftovers from the apartheid days. In those days people of colour were not allowed to be seated in restaurants, but could be served take-aways through a small window in the back of the restaurant.

This was before the days of disposable containers so an innovative Durban restaurateur came up with the idea of combining the meal and container – he scooped the inside out of a loaf of bread, filled it with curry, used the scooped out bread as a lid and viola – the bunny chow.

The term Bunny Chow is dervived from two words – Bunny ( relating to Bania or Gujarati people) and Chow (South African Slang for Food).

Stories of the origin of the Bunny Chow date as far back as the migrant Indian workers arrival in South Africa.

One account suggests that Indian migrant workers from India were brought to South Africa to work the sugar cane plantations of Kwazulu-Natal, essentially vegetarian they required a way of carrying their lunches to the field, thus the advent of the Bunny Chow, the bread was merely a vessel to carry the vegetarian filling.

Nowadays mutton, lamb, chicken and bean curries are the more popular fillings. They are often served with a side dish of grated carrot, chilli and onion salad, commonly known as sambals.

Bunny chows come in quarter, half and full loaves. When ordering a bunny chow in Durban, the local slang dictates that you need only ask for a “quarter mutton” (or flavour and size of your choice).

The Bunny should be eaten with the fingers, starting with the lump of bread, or virgin, on top. You should then help yourself to the curry and tear pieces off of the side of the loaf and dip them in the gravy. The trick here is to avoid tearing off pieces of loaf which are below the current gravy line.

Category: South African Cuisine

Sub Category: Traditional