He’s bringing the popular dish to the county

Mark Henson (pictured right) began World Bunnychow Day four years ago
Mark Henson (pictured right) began World Bunnychow Day four years ago

By William Carter
Published 28th Apr 2023

A Finedon man’s journeys around the world provoked him to begin one of the most obscure annual events around, as World Bunnychow Day returns this summer.

World Bunnychow Day is celebrating its fourth year of existence on June 26, and it was in the midst of the lockdowns provoked by the Covid pandemic that its creator, Mark Henson, had the idea to bring this humble dish to Northamptonshire, and celebrate it with other gastronomes in the county and beyond.

Mark said: “When that idea came into my head in lockdown we couldn’t actually go anywhere, I think we were allowed to meet six people outside or something, so that first World Bunnychow Day we had the family ‘round and I cooked and we ate in the garden.”

“Because my wife’s family is still in South Africa, over the last 10 to 12 years we were having two holidays a year, and then when lockdown came along we couldn’t travel.

“It’s become quite a bit of a thing, and we just want it to grow really.”

Mark Henson is ‘a Finedon boy through and through’, ‘born and bre(a)d’, but in 1994 took a one-off trip to Durban, South Africa, with a friend and met who would later become his wife in a bar.

All these years later, their interest in the country has remained strong, and now Mark is bringing one of the area’s most popular dishes to Northamptonshire with an annual Bunnychow Day that hopes to celebrate food, fun, flavour and travel.

What is Bunnychow, I hear you ask?

'A Bunny'
A ‘bunny’

Mark’s online blog gives a comprehensive breakdown. It says: “The Bunnychow (often lovingly referred to as a ‘bunny’) 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 Bunnychow 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.”

It may seem like a tricky dish to tuck into, but the blog insists that it ‘should always be eaten with the fingers’.

The cultural significance of the dish perhaps outweighs its flavour profile, however, as it began as a humble street food in South Africa, and is now making its way to restaurants in the UK including Mowgli in Leicester, and Braai Shack in Wolverton.

Mark discovered it on one of his many trips to South Africa, enjoying his first Bunnychow on the Durban beach front. He admits that he ‘didn’t know what it was at the time’.

With a keen interest in wildlife, conservation, and rhinos in particular, KwaZulu-Natal is a place that remains close to Mark’s heart to this day, but at its core, World Bunnychow day is a celebration of all different cultures.

Mark is aiming to highlight that by reiterating: “It’s about getting people to think about travel.”

If YOU want to get involved in World Bunnychow Day, use the hashtag #worldbunnychowday on social media sites to, uh, curry on the legacy.


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