bunny chow.

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Bunny Chow: a food so unattractive that even its photograph is barred from this blog (perhaps a skilled photographer could make it look pretty?). Bunny Chow, for those of you who don’t know, is a quarter or half a loaf of white bread with its insides scooped out and filled with curry. As badly as I wanted to love it, I just…couldn’t. I want to make clear that I am an avid consumer of street meats, foods-for-drunks (like Berlin’s untouchable döner kebab), and all kinds of cheap and dirty eats. While South-Africanised Indian food is far more preferable than Germanized Indian food, I simply can not get on the Bunny Chow train. After  a cursory glance at Wikipedia, I found that Bunny Chow (is it a proper noun?) which originated in Durban, is named either after the Indians who sold it under Banyan trees or after a restaurant owned by Banias (an Indian caste) in the 1940s. Whatever its origins, who cares about this food? I admit that if it was 2 in the morning and I had first had a few drinks I might have thought it to be more tolerable. I asked the woman at the counter what kind was best for a first-timer and she insisted I try the mutton. Now, I love me some mutton. But one thing is sure, mutton tastes best after it’s brought  to you by your Muslim neighbors on Eid in India when it’s just been slaughtered right in the parking garage a few hours ago fresh. So with visions of my Nani’s mutton curry dancing in my head I bit into…stale mutton curry in a loaf of white bread. It was not doing it for me. One thing that does win points is the grated carrot pickle that is usually served with it. It was the only thing that got me through part of my quarter loaf and when I finished off the pickle I couldn’t eat anymore Chow. I really want to give it another chance but I just can’t waste another precious meal in this city full of delicious Indian food on that ish.

In conclusion, if you are in brimming-with-Indians Durban I recommend rather trying an Indian-Indian style restaurant (vs. an RSA-Indian style) such as Vintage on Florida Road (drive almost to the end, it’s an old restaurant but I can’t find it online to save my life) which has delicious food and Naans (apparently South African Indians are only into rotis, and that is all bread-wise that is normally on offer, which…wtf??).  If you want to try Bunny Chow for yourself I recommend that you try the chicken Chow at 2 in the morning after 5 drinks and maybe you’ll have a better experience.

In fact!!! When I return to Jozi I’m going to make my own Bunny Chow recipe and it is going to be everything I had originally imagined it would be.