Food is what sets a city apart. Chicago is known for its deep-dish pizza, Bruges for its waffles and Durban, in South Africa, for its bunny chow. A hollowed-out loaf of bread filled with curry, bunny chow is big on flavour and sustenance. Culture Trip gets the scoop on this South African dish from the tastiest in town.
Where bunny chow originated is a mystery unsolved. There are many theories about how it might have come about, with a date in flux between the 1860s and 1940s.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Chef Prenolan Naidoo of Durban’s award-winning Jeera restaurant has his take on it. “Many years ago when the Indians started coming to work in Durban as cane cutters, bunny chow was created as an easy and economical solution to food,” he says.
“Instead of sending men to the fields with separate containers – and to save money as their wages weren’t as they should have been – the workers’ wives came up with a new concoction. It included a cheap quarter loaf of white bread, which was hollowed out and filled with curry, and then wrapped up in a bit of paper,” says Naidoo.
While bunny chow’s origins remain unclear, one thing is not – its name, which is an amalgamation of ‘bania’, the caste of Indian businessmen who sold the curry, and ‘chow’, which is, of course, slang for food.
In 2020, another thing is certain about bunny chow – it’s a dish that Durbanites are proud to cook and call a classic. Durban-born and of Indian heritage, Naidoo honed his craft working in a French restaurant in the UK.
Having spent five years in training, Naidoo went on to work in Korea, Australia and Germany. He knows his way around food pairings, which he translates to the bunny chow at Jeera. “With all Indian cuisine, the condiments are very important, and this goes for the bunny chow,” he says. “We have a variety of condiments, including beetroot ryvita, pickled figs, carrot and cucumber salad, and vegetables that have been pickled in vinegar and marinated in a masala spice to give them that authentic Durban flavour.” And the perfect complement? Coca-Cola.
Naidoo explains that bunny chow is actually quite a simple formula. “There are two important components to bunny chow: a good quality curry that’s going to go into the bread, and the bread itself.” But what makes Jeera’s formula such a hit? “Our secret is in our gravy. It’s out of this world. Plus, our portioning is generous and above the industry norm, and our pricing is in keeping with what the industry is but for what the guests get. Jeera is 10 steps ahead.”
Though Naidoo’s team might hold the official award for the top taste factor in the city, he still thinks his mum’s cooking is the best in the world.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.