What is a Bunny Chow?
One story goes that because the law during apartheid forbade black people from entering restaurants and cafes, they took to ordering take-out meals from the sides or backdoors of restaurants.
The most popular dish at the times was roti and beans. But the roti (a thin wheat naan) fell apart, so creative proprietors began using loaves of bread as take-out containers, scooping them out and filling them with the bean curry. The bread, while not as ideal as roti, became an accepted accompaniment to eat the curry with.
Another theory is that it was invented for the Indian caddies at the Royal Durban Golf Course. The caddies were unable to get off from work long enough to eat their lunch in Grey Street, the Indian area in Durban’s central business district. So, eventually, they began to get their friends to buy the curry for them in the city. With no access to take-out containers, the friends brought the curry in hollowed-out loaves of bread. Thus the bunny chow was born.
Another story claims that it was created by a chef at the Queen’s Tavern and yet another says it was created at a restaurant called Kapitans on the corner of Victoria and Albert Street in Durban.
Whatever the real story, there’s no denying that the bunny chow has become a delicious South African icon.
The Culture Trip