I love going back to the city I was born in, every time I am “home” there is something new to learn, something new to experience, even though this is the city that shaped my life. This last trip was no exception. Like most South African’s I associate my home town with the infamous and weirdly named “bunny chow” and aromatic, flavourful Durban curry. For those who have never heard of a “bunny chow”, first let me assure you of the fact that no rabbits are harmed during the production of a “bunny chow”. Secondly, eating a “bunny” (chow) is kind of like one of the great wonders of the world, if it does not feature on your bucket list, please rectify that oversight immediately. Trust me, you’ll thank me for it. As many mere mortals, I have neither the skills or eloquence to adequately capture the glorious sensation of eating a “bunny”, it is quite simply something one must experience and I will not sully it with my ineffective words. For now, it shall suffice that you know that a “bunny” is created by hollowing out soft, fresh white unsliced bread and filling the space created with a curry of your choice. The soft plumes of white bread are placed on top of the curry and eating this dish with cutlery is almost sacrilegious.
It’s a given that when you visit Durban, you need to eat a “bunny” and for the most part I have broken this tradition. Before you gasp in horror and ask me what kind of a charou I am, allow me to placate you with the knowledge that I did eat a bunny during my last trip (look I even dropped the quotation marks around the word bunny so you would know I’m talking to you). And I must admit, I have had many bunnies in my time but none that I have bought from a furniture store. Yes, that is what I said, I bought food from a furniture store and even better, I ate food from a furniture store. Apparently back in Durban, these things are not uncommon, my surprise at going to a furniture store for lunch just served to cement my uncool status. I had to marvel at the ingenuity of the thing, a curry place in a furniture store. And if my surprise was not enough of an assault on my street cred, you bet I did not make things anything better when I walked into the store eyes wide and with my phone poised to take pictures. The lady behind the counter told me what the specials were twice and then started speaking much slower when my only response was a frown and mild panic. Luckily my work colleague saved me by placing his order, a quarter mutton bunny and I quickly said I would have the same. If I think about this really long and hard, I’m sure that I will discover that this was actually the first time in my life I had ever ordered a bunny (I am privileged enough to make these at home) so even if I was just jumping on the bandwagon it was an achievement! When our order is ready, I delicately carry my treasure back to the office and all feelings of embarrassment and lack of coordination are lost the moment I take a bite. Of course, it’s the not the first bite that’s a problem, it’s all the bites thereafter and I am a lazy, unproductive employee post bunny, drunk on curry and a quarter loaf of white bread. I spend the rest of the day content and grateful for the stretchiness of my dress and to the furniture store that sells bunnies.