Burger Wisconsin: From Auckland With Love, Part 2

The fight for fast food burger supremacy is a fierce one. We’ve got BK, Maccas, Wendy, Carl and Sanders battling it out on our turf, along with Burgerfuel, Eat Burger and Goneburger dishing up three very different renditions in the made-to-order fast-casual space. Burger Wisconsin is a precariously missing player here; a homegrown chain of grills with history spanning almost 30 years, they claim to be the first burger kitchen to serve bacon and avocado in a sandwich, which is no small claim. They have branches and franchises located in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, The Bay, The Other Bay, and Gisborne, (Yeah, Gisborne,) but it’s been many a years since they’ve closed down in the City of the Future, long before I ever moved here, and no news on if or when it will be returning.

So on our recent excursion to Auckland, we decided to have a crack at their burgers and see if it’s all the hype is real, and whether we need to start stopping people on the street to gather signatures for a petition to bring back a BW to Hamilton. Continue reading “Burger Wisconsin: From Auckland With Love, Part 2”

Swag kebabs, Kai moana, and Deep-fried ice cream: Hamilton Night Market, Part 2

Check out Part 1 here, where we sample the wares at the Night Market on Friday night at The Base.

Saturday, 4:35pm

Ye-Gon’s supposed to meet Sam and Francis at the Night Market in an hour. He arrives in town way too early. The three of them are going to a fancy orchestra concert because, as previously noted, they’re a bunch of clarinet nerds. Ye-Gon realises he’s way overdressed for the night market in his suit and tie.

4:40pm

Ye-Gon finds a nice cookbook at Paper Plus.

4:42pm

Ye-Gon remembers he doesn’t like paying more than $20 on a book.

4:55pm

[New message from Ye-Gon] “I’m in town now, just a heads up” Continue reading “Swag kebabs, Kai moana, and Deep-fried ice cream: Hamilton Night Market, Part 2”

Pork buns, Nostalgia hot dogs, and Stir-fried ice cream: Hamilton Night Market, Part 1

Friday, 8:10pm

Band rehearsal just finished, and the four clarinet nerds are aimless as to where to go for their weekly dining ritual. Larissa doesn’t want tapas. Ye-Gon doesn’t feel like anything fancy. Sam unsuccessfully suggests Italian. Francis has a crisis of faith as to whether jellyfish is vegetarian or not. They decide to check out the new night market that’s open on Fridays at The Base. After a long consultation process, they eventually agree on who’s driving.

8:40pm

They arrive at The Base. Ye-Gon takes the wrong turn more than once before finally settling on a parking spot. They spend an embarrassing amount of time working out the logistics of withdrawing money from an ATM and assembling at an agreed spot. They notice the set-up is smaller than the Saturday market that opens under K-Mart, and that it’s exclusively food – no knock-off label wholesalers or Jehovah’s Witnesses around. It’s also uncovered, which doesn’t concern them just yet. The place isn’t too quiet, but at the same time there won’t be a problem finding an empty table and seating, unlike the Saturday gigs. Continue reading “Pork buns, Nostalgia hot dogs, and Stir-fried ice cream: Hamilton Night Market, Part 1”

Dumpling Showdown: Dumpling House vs Nancy’s

Everybody was jiaozi fighting

Ye-Gon: Dumplings are great. They’re fun to look at. They’re fun to eat. They’re even fun to say. Try it. Dumplings. Dummmmplingggs.

While to us it’s often seen as a treat or an entrée item at a Chinese restaurant, dumplings remain a significant side-staple in many parts of China, where these morsels in all kinds of shapes and sizes are sold on the street as on-the-go meals for passers-by. And when it comes to dumplings in Hamilton, two spots stand out with their claim to hand-made dumpling supremacy. In the blue corner, hailing from the Claudelands roundabout, the Dumpling House, and in the red corner, nestled within the hustle and bustle of Victoria Street, Nancy’s Dumplings & Buns. So, how do they stack up? Continue reading “Dumpling Showdown: Dumpling House vs Nancy’s”

Malaysian Takeaway at Red Pot Kitchen

You were the chosen one

Ye-Gon: It’s always nice to see a new place bring something different to the table, and few things could get me as excited as the idea of having a Malaysian joint within minutes of my house. Malaysian food is probably not the most familiar cuisine to most people; there’s Josh Emett’s spot down Sapper Moore-Jones Place, but it’s not exactly the most accessible or affordable affair. Malaysian food is a melting pot of Malay, Chinese, Indian and Indonesian culture, and it’s an eclectic and harmonious mix that celebrates a rich tapestry of influences.

The Red Pot Kitchen has been open for about a month by the time my sister and I tried the place out for lunch. The warmers were nearly empty, save for the fried rice and noodles, plus some siew pao and curry puffs. A sign indicated that rendang, curry and all the good stuff will be served from 4pm, which really makes me wonder what the reasoning behind opening from 11am is at all. So, it’ll be two visits to this place to try out their meatier affairs as well. Continue reading “Malaysian Takeaway at Red Pot Kitchen”

Burger specials at Breakers/Jandal Bar

Back to the Nineties

Ye-Gon: I’m not one of these Kiwi kids that have childhood memories of the local Breakers or Cobb & Co, but I’d like to think I have a pretty good understanding of the fond nostalgia (or PTSD depending on who you ask) that surrounds these vestiges of the nineties and noughties. I’ve been to their old hangout next to Garden Place exactly three times, and all three times I remember dry meat offset by runny mash, accompanied by bottled sauce.

And so it was with mixed emotions that, a good few years after they shut the shop where The Quad now occupies, I found out they were moving into an empty spot along Bryce Street outside Centre Place with a fresh new look to boot. The décor appeared to be cheerful and bright, the menu comfy and predictable. But the memories of their cooking – or lack thereof – kept me away, until my parents decided to take Natalia and I out for lunch this afternoon. And mother being mother, having bought up the vouchers for burgers and fries at none other than Breakers, decided we should give the place a try. $9 for burger and fries isn’t bad, and we were now going to find out if the facelift came with a revamp in the kitchen as well.

Continue reading “Burger specials at Breakers/Jandal Bar”