mention the Bunny Chow in Facts About Durban but space did
not allow the inclusion of the whole article in the book and
so here it is.
Jackson - 2003
is not renowned for being a seat of culinary invention but
we have made at least one major contribution to world cuisine
in the shape of the Bunny Chow. The Bunny Chow is a very simple
affair consisting of a hollowed-out quarter, half or full
loaf of bread filled with any available curry including beef,
mutton, chicken or beans. The Bunny Chow should be freshly
made out of mature curry and the piece of bread, or virgin,
which was removed to make room for the curry should be placed
on top of the Bunny before it is wrapped. Some chefs add sambals
to their Bunnies but many feel that this is an unnecessary
image to view enlargement
origins of the Bunny Chow are shrouded in myth and legend
but one school of thought has it that it was invented by a
chef at the Queen's Tavern.
May 2004 - NEW: Another theory is that it was
invented for the Indian caddies at the Royal Durban Golf
Course who were unable to get off from work for long enough
to nip into Grey Street for a curry at lunchtime. The story
goes that they got their friends to go and buy the curry
for them and that it was brought back to the golf course
in hollowed-out loaves of bread because there were no disposable
food containers at the time. The explanation that Bunnies
were first made in Grey Street does hold a bit of water
because the shopkeepers there were known as banias and therefore,
the phrase Bunny Chow could mean food from the shopkeepers.
If the origin of the Bunny was in Grey Street, then a prime
candidate for the place where it was invented is the G.C.
Kapitan Vegetarian Restaurant which operated at 154 Grey
Street between 1912 and 1992. Whether the bunny was invented
there or not, G.C. Kapitans beans bunny was famous
and enjoyed by ordinary people and such luminaries as Indira
the truth, however, the Bunny Chow has earned itself an enduring
place in the affections of Durbanites and there are many of
us who couldn't exist for very long without them.
way to refer to Bunny Chows when talking about them or asking
for directions to the nearest purveyor is as Bunnies. The
use of the word Chow will indelibly mark you as an outsider,
and a pretty uncool one at that. When talking to friends it
would be quite correct to suggest 'Let's go get us some Bunnies'.
You could say to your host, taxi driver, tour guide or concierge
'I'm really desperate for a Bunny', 'I need a Bunny', 'Show
me the nearest Bunny', or ask 'who makes the best Bunny in
are mostly made with quarter-loaves of bread but you can ask
for a half or full loaf if you're very hungry. There is a
taboo when it comes to ordering a Bunny and that is that you
can't mention the word Bunny. You should ask for the Bunny
you want based on its size and the curry it is to contain
as in: Gimme a quarter beef! They'll know what you mean.
Chow should always be eaten with the fingers starting with
the lump of bread, or virgin, on top. Aficionados treat the
virgin as an appetizer for the main course and it is considered
very bad form to seize and eat someone else's virgin without
their express invitation. 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
otherwise you end up with a steaming-hot mass in your lap.
For much the same reason you should check whether your Bunny
Chow was made from the end of a loaf or whether it is a Funny
Bunny made from the middle and, hence, without a crust at
the bottom. A Funny Bunny isn't any less tasty but you do
have to be careful to support the base in case it gives way
and gives onlookers something to laugh about; you begin to
see how it got its name?
eating your Bunny you may sweat and blow your nose often,
Say "Whooee!! We'd better put some toilet paper in the
fridge for tomorrow morning" , drink beer, a soft drink
or milk and throw your mutton bones, if applicable, at passing
yachts, if available. You may not betray that you're in pain
if the Bunny is too hot for your taste. Just relax and think
of those nice endorphins you're going to get when your brain
finally gets into gear. Steer clear of the gravy if you are
in real difficulties as experience has shown that it is the
hottest part of the curry. Stick to the meat and, after a
decent interval, scrunch up your Bunny in its wrapping and
fling it quickly into a bin saying, "Damn, but I could
eat two more of those."