For those who don’t know, a bunny chow is a hollowed-out loaf of bread cut in half or quarters, filled with either a lamb or bean curry, and then topped with a “lid” made from the scooped out bread. This messy yet yummy dish has been a part of Durban tradition since the 1940s, but some theories point to an even earlier date of conception. Though there are many stories about how the humble bunny chow came to be, one thing is certain – it is 100% Durban.
For those in the Mother City who are looking for a bunny chow fix, look no further than Masala Club.
The story behind masala curry club
When Michaella Robertson, a born-and-bred Durban girl, made the move to the Mother City she just couldn’t find a decent Durban curry. So she took action. “I went back to Durban and learnt how to make a proper Durban curry. After working in a handful of Durban curry dens, I learnt that the secret is all in the masala. I came back to Cape Town and started Masala Club. My mission is to bring authentic Durban curry to the people of Cape Town.” And the bunny chow was the perfect vessel to serve up this tasty treat. “The bunny chow has a rich history in South African culture going back to the 1940s. The legend has it that Bhanya (owner of Kapitan’s, a restaurant that stood at the corner of Victoria and Albert streets in Durban) opened up a serving hatch to sell takeaways to migrant workers. It was much easier to serve the curry in a hollowed out loaf of bread rather than a roti roll,” says Michaella.
The perfect bunny chow
So what is the secret to the perfect bunny chow? Well, according to Michaella, it is “masala, fresh curry leaves, tender lamb or tasty sugar beans, and fresh bread”. Having sampled her dish at The Neighbourgoods Market, I can attest that it is a recipe for success. Don’t miss out on her chilli carrot salad either, it’s a must-have!
Be sure to visit Masala Club at The Old Biscuit Mill for The Neighbourgoods Market every Saturday, and at The Village Idiot one Sunday a month. On Thursdays it does office lunch deliveries.
082 309 7973
Follow them on Facebook here.
Words: Charis Le Riche
Images: Supplied & Grant Payne