I was trading comments with Amanda when I had a flashback to a remarkable burger I ate in China, several years ago.
Back then in Beijing, there were two places to get a good burger. One was the shiny new, plasticky clean MacDonald’s. The other was in Sanlitun, a well-known nightclub and bar district. Sanlitun was right beside the CBD and all the foreign embassies. I used to think this a coincidence but a little bit of research showed that this was also the government prescribed area for diplomats and foreign nationals. Suffice to say that when the young expats wanted to cut loose, Sanlitun was the place to go. During the day however, it was a nice place to go shopping and have Western style food.
I remember going to a patio restaurant known for it’s casual dining fare. Sitting in the upholstered rattan chair and surrounded by potted plants and chalkboard specials, I could imagine being back in Toronto/Raleigh/Austin or any other city stateside. I opened up the giant tri-fold menu and looked at the familiar fare of burgers with cheese, fresh tomatoes and lettuce; BBQ burger with onion relish; Hawaiian burger with grilled pineapple; Aussie burger with pickles and egg. Aussie burger! That’s different, I thought. I’ll give it a try.
My Aussie burger came stacked on a big bun with a thick beef patty piled high with cheese, bacon, lettuce, extra ripe tomatoes and a fried egg. The egg was a bit unusual, runny and potentially messy to eat. I got extra napkins, pressed everything down and took a bite. Yummy, beef and bacon. Weird but ok, fried egg. Weird but odd … something else. Peeling back the layers in my burger, I saw that one of the tomatoes was a slice of pickled red beetroot.
This was only the second time in my life that I’d had beetroot. My first time had been at a friend’s dinner party where I was honor bound to eat it. This time around I had nothing but my pocket-book obliging me to finish. I warily took apart my burger and removed the slice of blood red beetroot.
According to this article, pickled beets are an essential part of an Australian burger. Why put beetroot in a burger?
“Maybe it was our desire not to be Americanised?” ponders Warren Fahey, Australian folklore collector and author of Australian food history compendium, Tucker Track. “For some reason the idea of hamburger wrapping stained by beetroot juice was accepted as the sign of a great hamburger. People get quite emotional over the subject of Australian hamburgers.“
So that was then, when I wasn’t an Aussie burger beetroot fan. Nowadays, I’ll indulge in a burger during summertime and sometimes reach for a burger without beef or bacon. I’ll have my non-beef, vegetarian burger loaded up with lettuce, tomatoes and dill pickles. Recently, I read the list of ingredients of my vegan burger. Along with plant protein from peas, mung bean, fava beans, coconut oils and potato starch, it also included beetroot juice. I guess the beets have caught up with me.
This is Week#2 of the Friendly Friday Challenge: FLASHBACK.
Tell us a story about a FLASHBACK reminding you of something that happened THEN compared to NOW. This challenge topic goes up to Thursday, after which Amanda will post a new topic. Remember to include a pingback to this post or the original. Have fun with the topic!