Posted by: adventuressetravels | April 30, 2013

Indian Africa

Where will a vegetarian order themselves a bunny for lunch?

In Durban, South Africa of course.

bunny chowBunny Chow, Durban’s signature dish, is cheap, fast, and absolutely delicious.  You can order a half bunny or a quarter bunny.  But unless you are a professional eater I’d stick with the quarter bunny.  I can usually make two meals out of that.

The dish, Durban fast food,  is a half (or quarter) loaf of bread hollowed out and filled to overflowing with delectable spicy curry.  The hollowed out portion of the bread is put on top of the bunny or to the side.  The most common curries are bean, mutton, or chicken (though I recommend the veggie one if you can find it).

When I first heard of bunny chow I was skeptical.  Curry in Africa?  What was that going to be like?  I soon learned that Durban boasts the largest Indian population outside of India.  Gandhi  himself spent 20 years in South Africa, and many of his ideas got their start there.  And at least in part because of the large Indian population the food in Durban is delectable.

But why “bunny chow”?  It isn’t (always) vegetarian or anything like bunny food.  It isn’t made out  of bunnies.  Interestingly enough, few people knew the answer.  Finally a native Durbanite satisfied my curiosity.

When Indian workers ,called Banias, were imported to work in the sugarcane fields they brought their cuisine with them.  Heavily spiced curries are an Indian staple.  They couldn’t always find the traditional Indian bread; rotis, naan, or chapatti, but they could always find a loaf of bread at the store.  Bunny was a mispronunciation of “Bania,” and so the hollowed out bread filled with curry became known as bunny chow.


  1. Thanks for finding the origin of the name.

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