Eating Out at Durban: The Bunny Chow advantage
Every place has something unique to offer when it comes to the choice of their traditional food items. Sometimes the mere simplicity of these dishes can surprise you and make you wonder how you never came across them earlier.
The Bunny Chow is one such dish. I first came across it during my stay at Durban in South Africa when I saw quite a few local residents indulging it at the street side stalls. After trying it out, I strongly felt that it had its Origins in India- a thought that later turned out to be true.
Don’t be fooled by the name. It has got nothing to do with rabbits or bunnies. Quite the contrary, it is more of a vegetarian dish, although it also has a number of non vegetarian variants too that make it so adaptable, different and interesting.
In its basic form, it is simply a large loaf of bread which is made hollow by scooping it out and then filled up with anything that you would like; be it kidney beans, vegetables, or even pieces of chicken or a lamb. Many people also like to fill it with minced meat.
The Origin of Bunny Chow
Although its origins are not very well documented, but as per one of the most popular theories the concept of bunny chow was started by some Indian laborers working in the plantations in the Durban region.
What originally started as a poor man’s lunch has now become a full-fledged item of favorite menu and is liked by one and all.
It is one of the easiest dishes to be made because all it takes is a loaf of bread and fillings as per your liking.
To make this follow these steps –
- Take a full loaf of bread and cut it in 4 big pieces
- Scoop out the central portion of each piece, making it look like a bowl.
- Arrange these pieces on a plate, with the “bowls” facing upwards
- Fill it up with the filling of your choice which traditionally is kidney beans or curries but you can also try whatever you like, be it mincemeat, chicken, etc
- Garnish and serve
That is all it takes!
As per the National Geographic magazine it is rated among the top culinary-experiences of South Africa although it may not suit those who are used to eating with spoons and forks, because you have to eat this holding it with your both the hands. This can make it slightly messy and uncomfortable for some.
Where to eat?
You can have anywhere in Durban as well as many other South African cities too. Some of the best Bunny Chows that we had while at Durban were at a place called “The Oriental”. It is a fairly small joint famous for its take away foods. It has some of the best quality Bunny Chow variants with assortment of fillings that you would love.