Dining and Local Cuisine in Durban FAQ

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Durban has one of the largest Indian populations outside of India itself, so guests can tuck into popular and hot curry dishes as well the Durban specialty - the bunny chow.

What is a Bunny Chow?

The bunny chow - the Durban specialty- is unique to the city and consists of a quarter loaf of bread hollowed out and filled with a curry of your choice. The dish is also called a 'kota' in many parts of the country. The original bunny chows were made only with vegetarian fillings and were known as a beans bunny.

Recent variants include traditional curry recipes using mutton, lamb or chicken. The walls of the bread soak up the flavours of the curry and eating the bunny chow is locally done without any eating utensils. The bun is served in newspaper wrapping when purchased from a take-away stores and are typically complemented by a side dish of sambals - a salad made of grated carrot, chilli and onion - in restaurants.

The History of the Bunny Chow

Many accounts have been given for this unusual way of serving curry. Some believe that bunny chows were created when migrant workers from India were brought to work on the sugar cane plantations in KwaZulu-Natal. The workers used bread as a replacement for traditional roti bread and stuffed the bread loaf with the curry in order to transport their lunch conveniently.

Others claim that the bunny chow started during the Apartheid regime when people of colour were not allowed to be served by certain restaurants and cafes. The shop owners then thought of this quick and easy way of feeding Indian workers through their back windows.

What if I Don't Like Spicy Food?

When visiting Durban, be sure to taste the following local favourites. From intense curries to fresh seafood, this city in KwaZulu-Natal is home to endless culinary delights. Despite the significant Indian influences, not all dishes in Durban are overwhelmed by the eye-watering smell of chillies.

Fresh Sardines - Served on toast with some onions, fresh sardines are a must from May to July. Sold at fish markets and served in most waterfront pubs and restaurant, sardines are a simple local treat.

Shisa Nyama - A traditional Africa barbecue, or 'braai' as the locals call it, is a flavoursome way of cooking meat. Prepared on a warm fire, the steak, chops, chicken and boerwors (farmers' sausage) is best paired with an ice cold beer.

Zulu Cuisine - When in KwaZulu-Natal, eat as the Zulus do! Traditional dishes include mogodu (tripe), amadumbi (Zulu potatoes), walkie-talkies (boiled chicken feet) and pap (hard maize porridge).

What Do I Eat if I Have a Less Adventurous Palate?

Durban also plays host to numerous restaurants serving international cuisine for those who prefer the tried-and-tasted classics. Durban is a hub of gastronomic activity with culinary options ranging from street vendors to fine dining restaurants.

During your South Africa vacation in Durban, your food choices include international fast food brands such as McDonald's, KFC, Burger King and Domino's Pizza. More specialised dining options include Italian, Chinese and other Asian dishes, Mexican, Mediterranean, steakhouses, tapas as well as lovely seafood restaurants.

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