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Get a bite of the iconic 'Bunny Chow' at Pinetown's Oriental Delights

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Get a bite of the iconic 'Bunny Chow' at Pinetown's Oriental Delights

It's time to take a moment to appreciate the bunny chow - king of street food cuisine, a spicy icon of the Durban scene and an all-around convenient carry-away curry favourite. 

You can tell we're fans of this quintessential South African dish, but what makes it even tastier is its deliciously rich origin. Every hero needs a mysterious backstory, and in true bunny chow style - it doesn't disappoint! 

How the bunny got its name and other stories
Like all great tales, the story changes depending on who you talk to. A rich tapestry of folklore and history weaves itself into the bunny's legend, and you get to choose which one you think is most likely. 

Bunny is derived from the word "Bania", which refers to the Indian merchant class that sold curry. And, of course, every South African is familiar with the slang word for food - chow. Mixed together, these terms came to describe the world's most perfect portable curry.

With the name explained, it is no surprise that the bunny chow originated among KwaZulu-Natal's vibrant Indian community. It is undisputed that the Bunny Chow originated in Durban, and stories of the origin of bunny chow date as far back as the migrant Indian workers' arrival in South Africa. One account suggests that said Indian labourers who came to work the sugar cane plantations of KwaZulu-Natal (Port Natal) required a way of carrying their lunches to the field; a hollowed-out loaf of bread was a convenient way to transport their curries. 

Another theory is that the bunny can trace its roots back to the Apartheid era when people of colour were barred from entering restaurants, so they were forced to order something that could be munched on the move. Rotis had a habit of falling apart, but a scooped-out loaf of bread did the job well. 

Or perhaps, as some say, it was the ingenious solution for the hardworking Indian caddies at the Royal Durban Golf Club. Unable to take a timeout for a plated curry, caddies' families brought them a dish they could eat on the go. Pure genius and not to mention, eco-friendly!

Still, others argue the bunny chow debuted at Durban's oldest licenced premises - the Queen's Tavern on Stamford Hill Road. Or maybe it was Kapitan's restaurant on Grey Street? 
We like to think there's a bit of truth in all the stories. Whatever the facts may be, they're all tasty tales worthy of our beloved bunny chow.

Sandy Centre's Oriental Delights brings on the Bunny Chow
And the legend lives on! Billed as "good old home Indian cooking" by its fans, Oriental Delights is an Indian restaurant and takeaway in Pinetown's Sandy Centre that serves the local community a wealth of Indian delicacies. Including their top-notch bunny chow. Available in mutton, beef, chicken, veg or bean curry, their bunny chows are spicy, rich and tasty, and there's no skimping on the filling, which is generous and immensely satisfying. 

And it doesn't end with the bunny. There are loads more choices, so indulge your desire for Indian cuisine to the fullest. Their extensive menu includes an array of curries with rice or rotis, samosas and sandwiches, grilled chicken and hamburgers. There's something to tempt everyone. And if you're organising an office or family function and are looking for some oriental flair, then get in touch, and they'll cater your event with delicious platters and steaming pots of heavenly curry dishes. 

Pop into Oriental Delights at the Sandy Centre on the corner of Stapleton and Josiah Gumede Road to see what's on the menu - you're in for a treat. They're open every weekday from 9 am until 6 pm and close at 5 pm on Saturdays and 4 pm on Sundays. Giving you plenty of time to satisfy your craving for one of Durban's best bunny chows.

Author Shelley Residential
Published 12 Jan 2023 / Views -

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