Culture & Heritage

The Kiwi Burger that contains no Kiwi

Would you eat your national bird? Well, if the feathered friend in question was a turkey or a chicken then maybe, but surely not a cute, cuddly Kiwi? Although, when you hear the term Kiwi burger, you could be forgiven for wondering. Fortunately, the answer is no.

No Kiwi were hurt in the making of this burger
Some taste buds may have been damaged but aside from that, the impact of the Kiwi burger has been relatively benign. It was introduced to a country that didn’t know they needed it by Bryan Old. He came up with the burger in 1976 as a nostalgic take on the typical New Zealand hamburger of yesteryear. Brian’s invention was trialled in his five Hamilton restaurants and it flew out the door (which is unusual for a Kiwi).

So, what's in it then?
It might be quicker to answer, what’s not in it? The Kiwi burger contains, in no particular order, a juicy beef patty, a fried egg, beetroot, tomato, lettuce, cheese, onion, mustard, and tomato sauce (of course) on a toasted bun. If you’re from New Zealand, that sounds sweet as. If you’re not, you may be questioning the sanity of the entire country. Fried egg and beetroot! That can’t be right, but it is. So very, very, right.

The Kiwi burger goes on its OE 
Not content with becoming world-famous in New Zealand, the Kiwi burger has been sighted throughout the globe. It popped up for a while in the Gourmet Burger Kitchen in the United Kingdom, with donations going from every burger sold to the Whakatane Kiwi Trust, and has been seen more recently at a place called Moaburger in Krakow, Poland. They seem to like it. Mind you, for a country whose national dish is called Bigos and has cabbage as the main ingredient, it’s got to be a step up.

You can't get more Kiwi
Not many foodstuffs get their own theme song but the Kiwi burger did. While not in the running for song lyrics of the century, the Kiwi burger song listed 46 items of Kiwiana. For handy reference the items were also printed on the box and featured in a television advertisement.

The Kiwi burger has made an appearance on a variety of restaurant menus over the years, with well-known burger joints such as BurgerFuel, Fergburger, and Burger Wisconsin all offering their own take on the classic, but even if it disappears for a while, it always comes back. After all, by joining breakfast, lunch, and dinner in one meal, it’s a prime example of Kiwi ingenuity at its best.

So, if you’d like beetroot and egg with that, we know a place.