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Durban Bunny Chow: A South African Indian Dish

The coastal city of Durban in South Africa is home to one of the largest Indian communities outside India. It’s also home to the unique curry called bunny chow.

Stories of the origin of Durban bunny chow date as far back as the migrant Indian workers’ arrival in South Africa. One account suggests that migrant workers from India who were brought to South Africa to work the sugar cane plantations of Kwazulu-Natal (Port Natal) required a way of carrying their lunches to the field; a hollowed-out loaf of bread was a convenient way to transport their vegetarian curries. Meat-based fillings came later.

The use of a loaf of bread can also be ascribed to the lack of the traditional roti bread, in the absence of which a loaf of bread would be acceptable as an accompaniment to curry.

The curries were made and served by an Indian caste of merchants who were called banias. During this time in Durban there were many Indian and Chinese workers in the city, and Chinese food was typically called chow. These two words came together as bania chow. Over time, bania chow became bunny chow.

Watch this BBC Travel video exploring the Durban ‘Bunny Chow’

Advertising Indian Newspapers South Africa

A spicy yet tasty Durban mutton curry in a bread loaf, the ‘bunny chow’ is a popular South African street food. Try out this recipe for yourself! Let us know your experiences tap here for more

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