The province of KwaZulu Natal is famous for its B’s: Beaches, Berg, Bush & Battlefields. And for me, a born and bred British boy, there is one more B I associate with the province, the bunnychow.

It all began on that one off trip I took to Durban back in 1994. I was running a little short on holiday funds and ventured out of my regular lunch spot, The Cattleman Bar on the beachfront, in search of something that would ease the strain on my wallet. It would also help with my hydration during those hot humid days by allowing me to afford another B, beer, that I was very partial to, purely to keep me hydrated.

I came across a lady, with an outdoor set up consisting of a couple of basic gas burners, and on those burners were two large pots. Being totally honest I was not at all sure what I was ordering. Was it a thick cut sandwich or maybe a stew with a chunk of bread? Being cautious I ordered beans rather than meat. There on the beachfront I was handed my first ever bunnychow. Having been bought up with curry, my parents loved eating out at local Indian restaurants and my mum, with lessons, had become a great curry cook at home. And this was essentially a spicy bean curry served in a hollowed-out loaf. Most days, when down at the beachfront, during the last few weeks of that trip I dined on bunnychow. Being adventurous I often had a dessert, from another stall, of a pineapple slice dipped in masala powder and served on a stick.

It turned out that one off trip thirty years ago was not a one-off trip. I met a very nice young local lady Melanie, funnily enough she worked in the Cattleman Bar, and she came to England in June 1994. We got married back in KwaZulu Natal in 1997 and like a pair of migratory birds, have flown to and from ever since visiting family and friends.

Every time I visited the province and more so when in Durban, I always made a point of eating bunnychow. When friends have flown out from home, normally to watch cricket at Kingsmead, I have treated them to a bunnychow at some stage of the day or evening. It is always a challenge for a first timer to eat through that spicy curry in a loaf with nothing but the fingers and a stack of serviettes.

In March 2020 weeks after returning from KwaZulu Natal the pandemic hit and the world stopped. We were going to be grounded for a while and travel to South Africa was off the table. On realising that it was going to be months, maybe years, and not weeks of lockdowns I wracked my brains as to how we could keep people thinking about travel? And, in particular, travel to South Africa and the province of KwaZulu Natal. Then like extra gravy overflowing a hollowed out loaf already teaming with mutton, the idea filled my head. Let’s start off a World Bunnychow Day! Cooking at home was one of the big covid pass times and it seemed everyone was baking bread at home. No need to go out, people can cook at home this divine dish with its roots firmly in Durban.

And so, it began, and this year will be the fifth year. It started out as a social media thing where people took pics of their bunnychow and labelled it with the hashtag #worldbunnychowday. Now, back to relative normality, we are free to eat out or cook at home. I have been inundated with bunnychow pics both on social media and from friends, all over the globe, who just wanted to send me images of theirs. It seems that people love a curry in a loaf.

Through World Bunnychow Day I have become good friends with Sagaran, known in Durban, as the #Bunnyblogger. Over the last couple of years, I have allocated days to meet up with him in Durban to try out places to eat bunnychow. Last year it was The Curry’O’s, where I had the pleasure of meeting owner Ranjini, and dining on her excellent mutton bunnychow. This year it was Goundens, a place that buzzed with happy dinners and the Britania Hotel famous, and rightly so, for its excellent bunnychow. The bunnychow has become hugely popular beyond Durban. I have eaten them on my road trips all over KwaZulu Natal. Even the town of Estcourt, close to my in-laws, has an outstanding bunnychow café called Shrehaans, run by the lovely Sue serving divine bunnies. And here at home the restaurant chain Mowgli Street Food offers a beautifully presented, packed with flavour, bunnychow. If you have a passion for curry and bread, maybe you are foodie at heart, whether you have eaten a bunnychow or are a bunnychow virgin. Please make a note of June 26th 2024, the fifth, #worldbunnychowday. Join in on social media posting your pics of home cooked bunnychow or tell us where you are eating. It is all about food, fun & travel.


About Author

People say that Africa has an effect on your soul and Mark Henson the ‘author’ of this site is no exception. He first travelled to South Africa and the province of KwaZulu-Natal in 1993 and has been coming and going every year since. Twice now most years!

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