Monday, March 21, 2011

Burger Craze New Zealand Style: Fergburger Queenstown

The pervasive invasion of new burger joints across America has been attributed to a craving for “comfort food” among a populace that has been bruised by one of the most significant recessions in modern history. Established brands such as In-n-Out Burger maintain a loyal following while rising stars such as Five Guys and Shake Shack have grown rapidly by focusing on quality ingredients and a simple menu. Whether it is the 100% grass fed free range beef at Burger Lounge or the premium Idaho potatoes used in Five Guys’ fries, the focus of the growing U.S. burger restaurants is differentiation through quality ingredients and focusing on what they do best – burgers and fries.

In New Zealand, where sheep outnumber people by 20 times, the focus is a little different. Ranches dominate the landscape, especially in the South Island, with everything from sheep and cows to deer grazing freely on the beautiful grassy hills accented by forests and mountains. Queenstown, New Zealand resides in the center of the southern third of the South Island on the shore of Lake Wakatipu, and is know for its winter time alpine sports and adrenaline pumping activities such as bungee jumping off bridges into river valleys.

In the heart of this picturesque tourist Mecca is a renowned burger joint that is pure New Zealand. The complete antithesis of U.S. burger joints and their limited menus, Fergbuger features the full range of local New Zealand meats, elevated in their preparation such that any farmer would be proud. While certainly offering Prime New Zealand beef “Fergburgers” in an array of preparations, they also offer “Little Lamby” ($11.50 NZD) and “Sweet Bambi” ($12 NZD) along with plenty of chicken options and even the “Chief Wiggum,” a slow roasted pork belly burger. With my predisposition towards great lamb and venison, I tried the Little Lamby and Sweet Bambi and found both to be excellent. New Zealanders have a distinct taste for sweet relishes, aioli, and sauces which Fergburger uses in the preparation of their burgers. Based on my American palate, these sauces mask some of the natural flavor of the meat and modestly detract from what is otherwise a superb burger at a “must try” restaurant in Queenstown, New Zealand.

42 Shotover Street
Queenstown, New Zealand