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Bunny Chow: South Africa's Sweet-Sounding Dish Has A Not-So-Sweet Past

Updated: Dec 23, 2022

It's an Indian dish you're unlikely to find in India.





Bunny chow is essentially a kind of bread bowl. You take a loaf of white bread, hollow out the middle and fill it with a curry, either vegetarian beans or some type of meat.

But not rabbit. The name "bunny" comes from the corruption of an Indian term referring to merchants. The dish has its origins in Durban, South Africa's third-largest city.


"It's not known by Indian communities outside of South Africa," says Rajend Mesthrie, a linguist at the University of Cape Town who has looked into its history.

There are only a handful of places in the U.S. where you can order bunny chow. It's a decades-old dish that remains best known in its hometown.


But bunny chow is classic fusion cuisine, in the sense that it resulted in the meeting of two disparate cultures — if not necessarily a happy meeting.



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