Traditional South African Bunny Chow

Bunny Chow is a meal made from hollowed out bread, filled with delicious curry, originating from Durban Indians, in South Africa.

Today the 24th September is Heritage Day in South Africa.  A day when we each celebrate our cultural diversity, that has helped sculpt this Rainbow Nation we South African’s are proud of. With this in mind, as since I have been sharing lots of Heritage Foods during this month on my various social media platforms, I decided to share this Old School Classic Heritage Food, The BUNNY CHOW.

Now Now…there are no cute,  furry little hopping bunnies harmed in the making of this meal.

Born and raised in Durban, South Africa, I had learnt about this meal from the generations before me.  As kids we always laughed at why the elders called it Bunny Chow, initially horrified it may contain those cute bunny’s.  Thank Goodness my grandparents sat us down and told us about this Family Favourite meal, enjoyed in many homes. There are a few stories about the actual origins of Bunny Chow.  But the one I remember, was my dada (grandfather), explain to us how Bunny Chow got it’s name.  He, like many South African Indian elders, reckon the name ‘Bunny’ came about, as this meal was 1st made at a Cafe in Victoria Street, Durban, by a BANIA family (Indian Caste), that filled out hollowed bread, with the most delicious vegetarian curries. Along the times, just ‘BUNNY’ remained. And as for ‘Chow’, that is just A South African English slang referring to ‘Food’ or to ‘Eat’.

Other stories about the origins of Bunny Chow, proclaims that it originated way back when the 1st Indian Indentured Labourers arrived to work on sugar cane fields in Durban.  And for them, transporting and storing their lunch, in hollowed out bread, made perfect sense.  What initially was a vegetarian meal,  Bunny Chow can now be made up using Mutton/Lamb Curry or Chicken Curry. There are many other options for meat filled Bunny Chow,  but those mentioned are a lot more popular.  For vegetarian options,  a Beans Bunny Chow ranks on the top of the list. 

Bunny Chow is simply hollowed out fresh white bread, that is generously filled with a spicy, gravy filled curry. This can be made using either a quarter, half or even a whole loaf of white bread.  A simple salad, made from shredded carrot,  onions,  and chillies are the usual side to this, but atchaars of any variety, complement a Bunny Chow just as well.  Bunny Chow is best enjoyed piping hot, and using your fingers to dig right in. Today the humble Bunny Chow is not only enjoyed by South African Indians, but across our diverse ethnic groups.  As the popularity of Bunny Chow increased, there can be a few smarter ways of serving this meal.  From baking bread in rounded tins, or neater square loaves.  But, for a family meal, Any regular, unsliced white bread,  works perfectly. 

Traditional South African Bunny Chow

If you are an International reader of this post,  and you enjoy Indian Curry, then this is one South African Indian dish you must try when you  next visit South Africa, OR let me show you how to make this yourself in the comfort of your own kitchen.

I have previously shared a simple chicken /lamb curry recipe, and it is exactly that one I used here today.  I made a lamb curry, and added just 1 more chopped onion and an extra tomato to give me the much needed extra gravy.  This is my recipe for  Easy Lamb or Chicken Curry (Durban Style)

Now, dust out those aprons, and don your chef hat, you will soon be a favourite Bunny Chow home chef.

Happy ‘Bunny Chow’ making Lovelies

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Please take a moment to Rate this Recipe/Tutorial, Further down the blog post.  Leave me your comments below, And drop me feedback when you try this.

Traditional South African Bunny Chow Tutorial

AUTHOR: Foodeva Marsay (@foodeva_marsay)

To Begin:

~ Prepare your favourite Indian Curry, preferably a South African Indian version Curry.

Watch The Video Tutorial

Traditional South African Bunny Chow Tutorial Write-Up


~ Hollow Out Fresh White Bread (either a quarter/half/whole).  Use a sharp knife to carve out the soft bread from within the bread crusting.  Ensure you leave a little space along the edges, and not go not cut right though the base. Now Scoop out the carved bread, to form a Hollow in the Bread.  Keep the extra bread scooped out aside to top off your bunny chow.


~ Ensure the Prepared Curry has extra Gravy, and is Hot.

STEP 3:  

Fill In the Hollowed out bread with Curry and Gravy.  Fill to the top, and allow gravy to also drizzle down the sides of bread.  You may soak the scooped out bread in a little gravy(optional)


Add a Simple Salad made from shredded Carrots, onions, cucumber, lettuce, and seasoned simply with salt and vinegar.  Top a little salad on top of the filled in curry, as well as add some of the salad alongside the bunny chow, on the plate.  You can also opt to use Atchaar(pickles) of choice.  Now top the Scooped out bread portion on top of the Bunny Chow, and finally end with good spoon or 2 of gravy at the bottom/side of the Bunny Chow.

~ Traditional South African Bunny Chow is ready to be served.  Use your fingers, and tuck right in. ENJOY!!!

* In this Tutorial, I made this Easy Lamb Curry recipe*

*Kindly Share as Posted, ©*

Traditional South African Bunny Chow is Served.

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