World Cup Update: South African Grub at World Fare Bus
South Africa, in case you've been living under a rock -- but can for some reason still read Squid Ink -- is the host nation for this year's World Cup. Thus far, their team has tied with Mexico and lost to Uruguay, with another Group A game coming up against France. But what if you want to get into the spirit of the festivities by digging into some South African fare? Springbok, the only South African sports bar (or restaurant) in town, serves boerewors. Instead of driving to Van Nuys, we decided to pop over to the World Fare Bustaurant to check out their bunny chow. Bunny chow is an interesting fusion concept: Indian curry -- thanks to the country's large Indian population -- served in a hollowed-out bread bowl.
World Fare serves theirs in a miniature version ($4) with four different fillings to choose from. While traditional bunny chow originally contained vegetarian curry, at World Fare you can choose between chicken curry, vegetarian chili, BBQ pork and beef short rib. For the purposes of our research, we went for the chicken and the pork.
The first thing we noticed, unfortunately, was that the bread was disturbingly dry. While it may not be a catastrophic problem, as it is meant to absorb much of the liquid contained within, the dense disc of starch resting atop this dish was an unfortunate throw-away. The chicken itself turned out to be a bit dry as well. While the fresh parsley, nuts and golden raisins did add some enjoyable accents, they couldn't overcome the overall lack of moisture. Even the curry liquid was too thick to adequately soak into the thin bread wall, leaving quite a bit do be desired. You would be better off, it seems, bringing your own hollowed-out loaf of bread to your favorite local Indian restaurant and asking if they wouldn't mind filling it up for you.
The BBQ pork, happily, turned out a bit better. The bread, of course, was just as dry, but it was mitigated greatly by the wet BBQ sauce and rather tender pork. In contrast to the chicken curry it was definitely a relief, even though the sauce lacked the real depth of flavor that elevates the other versions around town. In the end, what you wind up with is essentially a mediocre pulled pork sandwich on fairly detestable bread. It is, it seems, a long way from South Africa, or Big Mista's for that matter.
Noah Galuten can be followed via @ManBitesWorld.