The Markets Of Warwick Triangle

 

image

Warwick Triangle

 

Around the Berea Road Station in central Durban and the flyover passes marking the beginning of the N3 highway is a fascinating dishelved mess of markets known as the Warwick Triangle. These markets are so raw and alive they make the infamous Tepito Mercado in Mexico City look like Portobello Road market in Notting Hill. One day I decided to go on a tour of this part of town with a local guide from the tour firm Markets Of Warwick.

 

The Bead Market

This market has been temporarily relocated onto the narrow sidewalk of one of the busy flyover passes. Walking here was a challenge and trying desperately to be on your guard – even with a guide!

image

The Bead Market

 

The Impepho Market

Entering this market was like walking through a post war bombed out Barbican or Westway. Here traditional Zulu women sell impepho and bowling size balls of red and white limes mined from iNdwedwe, north of the city.

image

The Impepho Market

 

image

Impepho

 

image

White lime

 

image

Red lime

 

The Brook Street Market

This market sells mainly textiles…

image

Brook Street Market

 

The Berea Station Market

This is the place to go for pirate DVDs, CDs, shoes and designer clobber at rock bottom prices as well as traditional Zulu King Shaka spears and shields…

image

Berea Station market

 

The Early Morning Market

This market is known as the Mother Market and has now been going for 100 years. This is the place to go for fruit and vegetables as well as spices. The quality of the fruit and veg is better than what you’d find in Pick n Pay and Checkers and at a fraction of the price. The spices here are cheaper than those in nearby Victoria market…

 

image

Inside the Early Morning Market

 

image

Abundant veg 

 

image

Spices at rock bottom prices

 

image

Early Morning Market trader

 

Bovine Head Cooking Market

I think if I took Morrissey here he’d have a stroke. This is not a place for animal rights activists. Yet Francis Bacon would be captivated. This place is raw and visceral. The severed heads and other body parts of cows and goats lie openly in green rubbish bins and black rubbish sacks – life here is cheaper than table salt.

 

image

Inside the Bovine Head Cooking Market

 

image

Super gourmet food I just can’t wait to dive into

 

image

Too much

 

image

Look away

 

The Herb Market

My guide explicitly tells me not to take photos of the herbs as I’d be ‘diminishing their potency’ – the last thing I want to do is incur the wrath of the traditional Zulu people so I only manage one cheeky photo from the entrance. As well as traditional herbs and plant extracts, one can find small used whiskey bottles now experiencing a new lease of life carrying the contents of different animal fats including those extracted from the Big Five.

 

image

The entrance to the herb market

 

by Nicholas Peart

23rd June 2016

(all rights reserved)

Four Great Places For Indian Food In Durban

Indian restaurants in Durban are ten a penny, but here are four establishments in this city that serve up wonderful no nonsense Indian food…

 

MY DINERS

image

My Diners Indian restaurant chain

 

At the northern end of the suburb of Overport and in a lively part of town full of Indian supermarkets and grocery stores is the restaurant chain My Diners. There are others in town but the Overport branch is the one I frequented. At first glance this is a very ordinary eating establishment and you may be mistaken for thinking this is some kind of Eastern Steers but you’d be making a big mistake. This place does very brisk business and is often packed with local Indian families. I had a tremendous mutton bunny chow floating in a pool of curry gravy like some edible Tower Of Babel. I ordered a half loaf and just as well since I would have had to summon some locals to assist me if I ordered the full loaf.

 

image

A half loaf mutton bunny chow

 

 

image

Half time bunny carnage

 

 

HOUSE OF CURRIES

image

House of Curries on Florida road

 

This establishment, located on Florida road in the suburb of Windermere, is noted for its rotis, which are very generous. The lamb rotis here are especially good. HOC is also a great place to idle an afternoon or night away with a cold beer or four. I washed my roti down with a cold pint of Windhoek beer.

 

image

Vegetable roti 

 

 

PATELS VEGETARIAN REFRESHMENT ROOM

image

Patels on Yusuf Dadoo street is one of the oldest restaurants in town

 

This eatery is perhaps the most special and legendary of my picks and is located slap bang in the heart of little India on Dr Yusuf Dadoo street. Patels was recommended to me by an elderly South African Indian gentleman whom I met at a local corner restaurant also off Dr Yusuf Dadoo street and not too far from this place. This is one of the oldest eateries in the city and has been serving the population for 85 years. Don’t be fooled by the rough hole in the wall exterior. This is the place to go for a quarter vegetable bunny chow. When I ordered mine I got a mixture of sugar beans, dhal, lentils and potato curry. It was delicious and very inexpensive. I followed this up with a R4 cup of chai and a small traditional Indian sweet treat for desert.

 

image

Classic original quarter veg bunny chow

 

 

image

Chai and an Indian sweet treat

 

 

MALI’S INDIAN RESTAURANT

image

Mali’s restaurant in Morningside

 

One night I decided to have dinner here in the suburb of Morningside after reading all the glowing reviews of the place on Trip Adviser. This is a more formal dining experience compared to the other three places (and I’ve got to admit I wasn’t taken by the internal decor which I found a little sterile – not that I came here for that!) but I was not disappointed by the food and the restaurant lives up to the hype.

I began my evening by ordering the infamous paper dosa. That thing is so big you could write the entire Mahabharata on it. I needed three separate plates to accommodate all the broken down fragments of this beast.

 

image

The legendary paper dosa

 

Next I ordered one of the restaurant’s signature Chettinad curries. I went for the lamb one accompanied with a side garlic naan, which was very good.

 

image

Chettinad lamb curry 

 

Then for dessert I ordered the restaurant’s homemade kulfi (Indian ice cream). I’ve had kulfi before but I was very impressed with the one I tasted here which was rich and full flavoured. Very nice to savour.

 

image

Homemade kulfi

 

OTHER INDIAN EATERIES IN THE CITY

ORIENTAL inside the Workshop mall in the centre of a town is a good place for cheap Indian food although I prefer My Diners. Nevertheless I had a decent mutton curry served with rice and salad. There are a couple of very cheap hole in the wall Indian food eateries both located on Yusuf Dadoo called AL-BARAKA and ALMASOOM TAKEAWAY & RESTAURANT; absolutely nothing to write home about but if you are watching the Rand they are two good choices. For thrill seekers the former has a rough and tumble Bukowski vibe to it and there is more chance of Jacob Zuma paying back that R250 million of taxpayers money he spent on his Nkandla homestead than bumping into another tourist.

The following places I haven’t sampled. I hear good things about LITTLE GUJERAT close to Victoria Market which does a variety of cheap vegetarian fare. For a more formal dining experience similar to Mali’s, LITTLE INDIA RESTAURANT ON MUSGRAVE gets almost equally dazzling reviews.

 

by Nicholas Peart

20th June 2016

(All rights reserved)

India In Durban

image

Durban

 

Durban is the city with the largest Indian population outside of India. Originally called Port Natal, the city was renamed Durban by the British after Sir Benjamin D’Urban, the governor of the Cape Colony. Originally a sleepy settlement of less than 1000 people, Durban’s expansion began in 1843 when Britain annexed the Colony of Natal. In the space of ten years, there was a large wave of immigration from the UK.
The city grew phenomenally throughout the latter half the nineteenth century. It was during this time that many indentured Indian labourers were brought over by the British Empire to work on the sugar cane plantations and railroads of the Colony of Natal and this is the source of the enormous Indian population in Durban.

 

image

On Yusuf Dadoo Street (or Little India)

 

Dr Yusuf Dadoo street (or Grey Street as it was formally known) is the heart of the Indian community full of bazaars, Indian shops and cheap hole in the wall eateries selling quarter bunny chows, curries, rotis and birianis at rock bottom prices. Ah yes, the legendary bunny chow which is unique to this neck of the woods. You can get bunny chows in other cities in South Africa but if you want the real thing this is the place to be. There are a few stories regarding the origin of the bunny chow but one goes that it was invented by a group of Indians immigrants known as Banias (an Indian caste) at an eatery called Kapitan’s in the city. The bunny chow is a hollowed out loaf of bread filled with curry. In Durban it comes in three different sizes; full loaf, half loaf or quarter loaf. The quarter loaf, the smallest version, is the classic or qota as its sometimes called.

 

image

A quarter veg bunny chow courtesy of Patels restaurant

 

Dr Yusuf Dadoo street is also home to the largest mosque in the Southern Hemisphere, the Juma Masjid.

 

image

Juma Masjid mosque on Yusuf Dadoo street

 

Right by the mosque is the Madressa Arcade full of traders selling everything from blankets and old radios to secondhand shoes. For a brief moment I feel like I am wondering through a souk in downtown Meknes.

 

image

Inside the Madressa Arcade

 

Adjacent to the Madressa Arcade is the Ajmeri Arcade featuring a very cool record shop, Ajmeri Record King, which has vast piles of battered vinyls which might not be much on the outside but if you persevere you may find the odd ruby in the sludge. I found a couple of rare Stax records. The shop also has a good and comprehensive selection of CDs of music from across Africa.

 

image

Ajmeri Record King record shop inside the Ajmeri Arcade

 

image

Inside Ajmeri Record King 

 

The nearby Victoria Street Market, first established in 1910, is an important market in the city.

 

image

Victoria Street Market

 

Inside the market there are a few Indian shops selling spices and other products. The first one I enter, RA Moodley has a decent selection of different spices. As well as traditional Indian spices there is a spice pile called Nando’s spice and another entitled KFC spice. RA Moodley is also a hovel of miscellaneous Indian trinkets and products. About four portraits of Sai Baba, the controversial Indian guru, including a photo of him on the weighing scale, adorn the interior of the shop.

 

image

RA Moodley spice shop

 

The next spice place I enter, Delhi Delight, is run by a kind and charismatic South African Indian gentleman who gives me and some Cape Townians a tour of his shop and all the spices on offer. I am intrigued by his own Delhi Delight brand spice concoctions which range from medium to very hot

 

image

Delhi Delight spice concoctions

 

The final spice shop I visit is a more modest affair than the other two yet I will never forget the Mother In Law Hell Fire spice pile. I love the name so much I think I will swing by here before I depart Durbs for a sample.

 

image

One spice it would be rude not to try

 

Durban is also the city where Mohandes Gandhi lived for sometime during his time in South Africa. When he first arrived in Durban he lived on Grey Street. Two important Gandhi related landmarks in the city are a bust of him at Tourist Junction (old Durban railway station) in the city centre and the Old Court House nearby, where he spent much time when he worked as a lawyer. There is also a street in his name close to the southern end of the city beach but watch your back in this part of town, especially around the junction with Anton Lembede street. I was mooching around there one afternoon and some miscellaneous black student with a surf board walked up to me and indignantly told me I was crazy to be walking around this part of town and insisted on hailing down a local mini van taxi to get me out.

 

image

Gandhi bust in the city centre

 

Outside of the city and off the N2 highway is the Phoenix settlement, close to the Inanda squatter camp, which Gandhi founded as a self sustainable community and to build on his philosophy of satyagraha or passive resistance.

In my next post I will be listing my favourite Indian eateries in this marvellous city.

 

by Nicholas Peart

20th June 2016

(All rights reserved)