Whenever somebody starts a sentence with “I bet you won’t eat…” I don’t even hear the rest. The cacophonous ringing of cash registers in my ears drowns out whatever comes next. I’ve hate-fornicated my mouth hole with a jug of vinegar, an entire mug of hot sauce, a dried out crab shell my friend Fariyal found on the beach (related-Fariyal is a giant jerk), and the list goes on and on. You know those giant banana slugs they have on Vancouver Island? Probably not, unless you live there. They’re exactly as you’d imagine: a giant slime tube straight from your nightmares. I’d be willing to bet not many of those slugs have ever seen the inside of a human mouth. But thanks to the generous offer of $5 from my camp counsellor at Cowichan River Bible Camp when I was a young kid, one unlucky sludge tunnel found itself playing tonsil hockey with a biped.
I know what you’re thinking here. And unfortunately, yes, ladies. I am taken.
My whole point here is that I’m not picky. Growing up with my mom’s cooking helped me to be remarkably undiscerning when it comes to what I cram into my face.
I still really enjoy good food though. And one of my favourite culinary discoveries in South Africa has been the lowly bunny chow. Before you get all bleeding heart on me, please know these have nothing to do with rabbits. A bunny chow is a hollowed out loaf of bread filled with curry. If you’ve ever stood beneath an angel running on a treadmill and had that angel drip buckets of sweat directly into your open mouth, you know what a bunny chow tastes like. I guess that analogy works best if you have an angel sweat fetish, but I mean, who doesn’t? And here’s the thing about bunny chows- the best ones are served from the greasiest, sketchiest roadside stands.
So anyway, one day I noticed a new food stand had opened up, and it exuded exactly the right mix of grease and sketch. It had been like, 28 minutes since my last full meal, so needless to say, I was famished. When I walked up, there was no sign advertising what was on the menu, which is kinda normal with these types of places. I asked what I could buy for lunch and was told they had 1/4 bunnies, which is just a small bunny chow. Jackpot! And it was only R15 (about $1.50 CDN)!
However, when I opened the bag, I was in for a surprise.
Instead of being filled with delicious curry, this thing was…well…I dunno. There was a hollowed out chunk of bread for sure. But in it was a steaming dumpster fire of shame. I was able to identify beans, a hot dog (or vienna as they call them here), french fries, lettuce, some sort of weird sauce, and a hunk of polony, which is similar to North American bologna, but is actually somehow worse. What in the suffering snaketits was this???
There’s no way this was a real thing. Somebody was punking me. I took a hesitant bite, and holy armpit of William Shatner was it ever horrid. It tasted what I imagine the entire internet would taste like if you could lick it. Of course I ate the whole thing, because like I said, I was withering away into nothing, but I certainly wasn’t happy about it. And neither were my innards. I’m surprised my neighbours didn’t call the police to report the volcano erupting next door in the morning. But that’s a whole other story.
What The…This Thing Has a Name?
Following the fiery aftermath, I decided to do some research. Apparently what I ate exists in some form or another in many parts of South Africa and is called a spatlo. I can only assume it’s because that’s the sound it makes as it hits the sides of your toilet a short while after eating it. And there’s no set way of making it- you just kinda throw whatever your dogs refuse to eat into some bread and call it a day, like so. I guess at least now I know.
So what did I learn? I learned not be excited about super cheap food anymore. There are three things that you really should pay a lot of money for in life: whisky, hookers, and food. Feel free to shop for bargains for literally anything else, and let my mistakes in life be your cautionary tale.
And will I buy another one tomorrow? You bet your underboob I will.
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