Mention South Africa these days and visions of soccer balls soar in the heads of half the world’s population. World Cup 2010 is upon us and the fans are giddy with excitement. Well, we have no soccer insights to blog about but we do about food. If you are heading out for the games or if you are a traveling fellow foodie, we have two words for you: Bunny Chow. It’s South Africa’s street food and it’s fun, cheap, and delicious. Essentially, it’s a loaf of bread (or a half, or quarter loaf) hollowed out and filled with curry. Some say it was developed as take-away and a means to serve blacks during apartheid. Others insist it was introduced by migrant Indian workers who came to toil in the sugar cane fields. Originally vegetarian, but now carnivores delight in the variety of fillings. We say put it on your must-try list.
We had the ultimate Bunny Chow experience on our recent visit to Cape Town, courtesy of Chef Bruce Robertson. If you have some time between matches, head to trendy Long Street and bring your appetite to Bruce’s newest concept. A little funky, a little gourmet, the Quarter (as in a quarter loaf) offers a plethora of filling choices: crayfish potjie (made in iron pot), blommetjie bredie (stew made with a water growing plant), mussel and garlic pot, oxtail, gemsbok (antelope), and the standard mutton, chicken, beef, venison and goat. See the writing on the wall and you’ll learn how to order it, eat it and all the assorted protocol. Settle in and enjoy, the little shop has a common table or take (it) away.
Chef Bruce was inspired on a trip back to his hometown of Durban – reportedly the birthplace of Bunny Chow and collaborated with his friend Cass Abrahams, the mother of Cape Malay cuisine. She knows her curry.
We loved The Quarter’s Bunny Chow (and Bruce and Cass) so much we included them all in our upcoming September tour to South Africa escorted by one of our hometown (New York, NY) favorite chefs, Anita Lo. Join us! If you are heading to Cape Town for the World Cup or for any reason – give us a call we would be delighted to design an epicurean adventure just for you in this fabulous city and its Winelands.
The Quarter is located at 44 Long Street (next to the Grand Daddy Hotel) and open daily 10am to 10pm; Sat 4pm to 4am. After you chow, head to the top of the hotel and check out the very hip Airstream Penthouse Park . Seven vintage Airstream Trailers are available to rent for an overnight (or longer) stay.