Bunny Chow: a South African bread bowl sans bunnies

bunny chow

Dive into the world of South African cuisine, and you’ll stumble upon a dish that’s as intriguing in name as it is in flavor: bunny chow. No, it doesn’t involve bunnies, but it’s every bit as delightful as the name suggests.

What is bunny chow? 

Bunny chow (a.k.a. Durban bunny chow, bunny, or kota—short for quarter loaf) is a South African fast food dish that originated in Durban, a city in South Africa predominantly comprised of people with Indian heritage.  It is made of a hollowed loaf of bread filled to the brim with curried lamb, chicken, or vegetables (not bunnies).  The part of bread extracted from the loaf is called the “virgin” and is eaten by dipping it into the curry-filled bread bowl.  It’s a bit reminiscent of clam chowder bread bowls, or chili bowls.  Like most fast food, bunny chow is traditionally eaten with bare hands.


The genesis of bunny chow is shrouded in mystery, with stories as flavorful as the dish itself. The most widely accepted narrative credits its invention to Indian merchants, fondly referred to as “banias”, in the mid-20th century. The objective was simple: to create a portable meal for Indian migrant laborers heading to work in the fields.

However, as with many tales passed down generations, there was a linguistic twist. The term “banias” was often mispronounced as “bunnies.” Combine that with “chow,” a colloquial term for food in the region, and voilà, the catchy “bunny chow” was born.

Where can I get it?  

While bunny chow is quintessentially South African, it has transcended borders. If you’re yearning to savor this dish, you’re in luck. Many African restaurants, especially those with a South African flair, proudly feature bunny chow on their menus.

Yet, to truly appreciate the essence of this dish, one must explore establishments that have perfected this art over the years. Several restaurants, both within and outside South Africa, have garnered a reputation for dishing out some of the most authentic and delectable bunny chows you’ll ever taste.

Here are several restaurants that are known for this dish unique to South African cuisine.

Miami, FL: The Big Easy

bunny chow miami
photo: Kaia Wine Bar on Facebook

San Francisco, CA: Amawele’s South African Kitchen

photo: Amawele’s South African Kitchen on Facebook

Seattle, WA: Cederberg Tea House

bunny chow seattle
photo: cederbergteahouse.com

New York, NY: Kaia Wine Bar

bunny chow new york
photo: Kaia Wine Bar on Facebook

San Diego, CA: Malted Diner

bunny chow san diego
photo: Malted Diner on Facebook

Looking for more places that serve this South African dish?  You can find them on Glutto right here.

How can I make it?  

Bunny chow is really quick and easy to make, unless you want to do it from scratch. Rather than running around to get all the right ingredients, the best and most painless way is to pick up some good bread and good curry.  Follow this “recipe,” which you can save on Glutto here.

bunny chow unique authentic food trend

bunny chow (shortcut)

A "hack" to make bunny chow really easily. 😉


  • 1/2 loaf of white bread (unsliced from local bakery)
  • 2 cups curry (1 serving from local Indian restaurant)


  1. Use a knife to cut out the middle of the bread and tear it from the loaf (leave bottom intact).
  2. Heat the curry in a pot (if necessary).  Fill the loaf with curry and place the virgin (the middle of the bread) on the side.
  3. Enjoy!

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Bunny chow is more than just a meal; it’s a culinary experience that tells the story of migration, adaptation, and innovation. It’s a dish that invites you not just to eat, but to partake in a rich cultural journey, one flavorful bite at a time.

More on South African food

Hello! I'm Kristina

Kristina Reynolds is the Founder & CEO of Glutto and an alumna of the University of California, San Diego. She writes articles & posts for Glutto Digest with insights from fellow industry experts. Furthermore, she is the author of The Fittest Food Lovers: How EVERY BODY Can be Incredibly Fit and Still Enjoy Food, a collaborative philanthropic book with proceeds going to charities that fight world hunger.
Skip to Recipe