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South African Street Food: Bunny Chow

South African Street Food: Bunny Chow

One of the most popular South African street foods that started from the apartheid era is Bunny Chow. The dish originated from the Indian community in Durban during the mid-20th century that were brought into South Africa to work on sugarcane plantations, according to history and, was initially filled with vegetarian curries, primarily using beans or lentils, as meat was expensive and scarce for the Indian laborers. 

But these days Bunny Chow recipe has evolved and broken cultural boundaries drawing unique diverse acceptance to itself, The dish is now enjoyed with chicken, lamb, and beef but some locals still fill it with vegetables like beans and lentils.

Moreover, the origin of the name has been uncertain as many struggle to pin a particular definition to it, one theory suggests that the term "Bunny" was derived from "Bania," referring to the Indian caste involved in the food trade. Another theory states that it might be linked to the word "bun" since the curry was served in a hollowed-out bread loaf. 

Bunny Chow has earned a huge cultural significance around it representing the fusion of Indian and South African culinary traditions.

Preparation Time

55 minutes.


Unsliced round bread loaves.

Boneless chicken (cut into bite-sized pieces)

1 large onion (chopped)

2 cloves garlic (minced)

2 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon ground cumin


Curry powder

Chicken broth or water

Potato (peeled and diced)

Tomatoes (chopped)

Carrot (peeled and diced)

Salt and pepper


  • Pour onion in the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat, and cook for about 4 minutes.
  • Add the minced garlic and ginger, and stir for a few minutes
  • Add the chicken pieces and cook until it's brown on all sides.
  • Sprinkle the curry powder, ground cumin, coriander, paprika, and turmeric over the chicken. Mix well to coat the chicken evenly with the spices.

  • Pour the chopped tomatoes and chicken broth and allow to simmer for some time.
  • Add the diced potato and carrot, cover with a lid and allow to simmer for about 25 minutes until the chicken and vegetables are tender.
  • Make a hollow out of the centre of the loaf.
  • Once the mixture is ready, fill the centre of the loaf with it using a spoon, and enjoy.