The unusual history of South Africa’s most popular dish

Bunny chow is basically a form of bread bowl. You are taking a loaf of white bread, hole out the center and fill it with a curry, both vegetarian beans or some sort of meat.

However not rabbit. The title “bunny” comes from the corruption of an Indian time period referring to retailers. The dish has its origins in Durban, South Africa’s third-largest metropolis.

“It is not recognized by Indian communities outdoors of South Africa,” says Rajend Mesthrie, a linguist on the College of Cape City who has seemed into its historical past.

There are solely a handful of locations within the U.S. the place you’ll be able to order bunny chow. It is a decades-old dish that continues to be greatest recognized in its hometown.

However bunny chow is traditional fusion delicacies, within the sense that it resulted within the assembly of two disparate cultures — if not essentially a contented assembly.

There are lots of tales about how bunny chow originated, however the one cited most frequently describes it as a very moveable dish served as much as black folks below apartheid, South Africa’s 20th century system of racial separation.

“Bunny chow began as a manner of promoting meals to black individuals who weren’t allowed to eat in sure eating places throughout apartheid,” says Ameera Patel, a novelist who lives in Johannesburg. “The bread was used as a holder, or a plate, in order that nothing wanted to be returned after consuming.”

Indians began coming to South Africa in giant numbers throughout the 19th century. At first, beginning within the 1860s, Indians have been introduced as indentured servants to work within the sugar cane fields round Durban. They have been adopted quickly after by “passenger Indians,” so-called as a result of they paid their very own manner, coming to work as artisans or retailers.