Durban and KwaZulu-Natal Feature

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Bunny Chow

Contrary to what you might think, bunny chow is not about lettuce and carrots. This Durban specialty, prevalent in the Indian District, is a hollowed-out loaf of bread traditionally filled with bean curry, although mutton and sometimes beef and chicken are also used. The dish was popularized in the 1940s, during apartheid, when blacks were prohibited from entering Kapitan's Restaurant, in the city center, where traditional Indian beans in roti (pancakelike bread) were sold. The manager, known fondly as Bhanya, started offering takeout on the pavement, but the rotis often fell apart. So he started using a hollowed-out quarter loaf of bread as a small pot for the beans, and the soft bread was used to soak up the gravy. "Bhanya's chow" became bunny chow, and meat was soon added as filling.

Good bunnies can be found at several Indian District eateries.

Patel Vegetarian Refreshment House, founded in 1912, has built a family legacy of good traditional food. Rama House, 202 Yusaf Dadoo [Grey] St., Durban, 4001. 031/306–1774.

Victory Lounge puts meat in its bunny chow and is usually very busy. Yusaf Dadoo [, Grey] and Bertha Mkhize [Victoria] Sts., Durban, 4001. 031/306–1906.

In a quieter part of town, the vegetarian Little Gujarat has simple wood decor. 43 Dr. Goonam Rd. [Prince Edward St.], Durban, 4001. 031/305–3148.

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