During apartheid era, lunch break for the Indian caddies at the Royal Durban Golf Course were too brief to nip into Grey Street for a curry. These caddies commissioned friends to buy some for them, but the shopkeepers lacked disposable containers and so a hollowed out loaf of bread was used instead to serve as both plate and dipper. The shopkeepers, known as banias, may therefore have indirectly contributed to the curiously-named cuisine. [source, though this origin myth has its critics and naysayers]
In proper Durbanese, one refers to this dish as a ‘bunny’ but when ordering mentions only the size loaf and style curry desired. Quarter-loaf is standard, but for the ravenous, a half or even a full loaf is available.
My order: a quarter veggie.
As far as food-as-art is concerned, bunny chow ranks among the grotesque, and its straightforward preparation eliminates the skill factor:
1) Cut out loaf insides
2) Ladle in curry
3) Place loaf innards on top
That said, there are few things more delightful than street food and proper Indian curry consistently hovers near the top of the list. For those of us nowhere near Durban, we can of course make this chaotic culinary masterpiece at home – here or here or elsewhere.