During the early stages of lockdown here at home in middle England last March (2020), I found myself thinking of South Africa. I had only spent a couple of weeks in KwaZulu Natal in mid-February, but once one trip ends, I start to think about the next. With all travel here in England now banned, and soon to be made illegal, I wracked my brain to think of ways to keep people interested, and thinking about South Africa as a holiday destination. The type of person I am drew me to two things: Food and laughter. And so, World Bunnychow Day was created and a date was set. For the laughter I wrote ten short articles, entitled ‘Campfire Tales’, from my travels that I hoped would make readers smile. These are still here to be read and enjoyed, with or without a bunnychow.
On my first visit to South Africa back in 1994 my spending money was quickly running out. Then, one lunchtime I stumbled across a small kiosk on Durban beachfront where a lady was selling something called a bunnychow. Wow, a curry in a loaf!? My parents had introduced me to the world of curry at a very young age, so this for me was a discovery of note. Most days I tucked into either a bean or mutton quarter loaf, eaten with fingers, on the beach, under blue sky and hot summer sun. I learnt that you never ordered a bunnychow, you just asked for a quarter, which is the size of loaf, followed by the curry you wanted to be added into the loaf.
When in Durban last February (2020) I had my last eat out bunnychow. I was travelling with a friend, Paul, and we were there to watch England play cricket against South Africa in a fifty over and T20 International. We both tucked into the most delicious quarter mutton’s, sitting on the grass, on a balmy warm evening. The plan for the inaugural World Bunnychow Day was to get people cooking and eating this simple and humble meal at home during lock down. What better way to get people thinking of travel than through their stomach via their taste buds? We saw people from all over the world joining in. From South Africa to the UK, from Canada to Australia, there was even a fish bunnychow from the Isle of Man that looked divine. People were sharing recipes and photos of their culinary creations. This year with the easing of lock down restrictions, and where allowed and safe to do so, there is the option of eating out. We want to build on last year’s success, so please join us in the build up and on the day. Please share with us your tips for home cooking, recipes, choice of spices and ingredients. Also tell us the best places to eat out. Do you know of a kiosk, restaurant or café in your part of the world that has bunnychow on the menu?
Share your photos on social media and use the #worldbunnychowday.
Text and images MARK HENSON
People say that Africa has an effect on your soul and Mark Henson the ‘author’ of this site is no exception. He first travelled to South Africa and the province of KwaZulu-Natal in 1993 and has been coming and going every year since. Twice now most years!