Bunny chow is a South African fast-food snack consisting of a hollowed-out loaf of white bread filled with curry, sometimes referred to only as a bunny. A small variant of the bunny chow that only uses a quarter loaf of bread is often named a scambane or Kota (“quarter”) by black South Africans. It’s a name it shares with spatlo, a South African dish that originated from the bunny chow.
The bunny chow was produced in Durban, home of a sizeable Indian-origin population. The food’s exact origins are disputed, although its formation dates back to the 1940s. It was also sold during World War II in Gwelo, Rhodesia (now Gweru), and is still available in the nearby town of Kadoma, formerly known as Gatooma.
Bunny chows are standard in the Durban region among Indians and other ethnic groups. Bunny chows are usually filled with curries made from traditional Durban recipes. These include mouton or lamb, chicken, trotters and beans, curry gravy beans and chips, fried sausage, cheese, eggs, and polony. However, the original bunny chow was vegetarian.
About South African Bunny Chow Recipe
Findings of the bunny chow’s roots date as far back as the arrival of Indian migrant workers in South Africa. One account indicates that Indian workers who came to work at the Kwazulu-Natal sugar cane plantations needed a way to bring their lunches to the field; a hollowed-out loaf of bread was a convenient way to transport their vegetarian curries. Fillings based on meat came up later.
The use of a loaf of white bread can also be due to the lack of the standard roti bread as well as its poor structure. Hence the cheap loaf, readily available in local stores, would be a suitable replacement vessel for the curry.
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