Monday, April 18, 2011

Exploring a Legend: The Fergburger

Traveling in New Zealand, I had heard whiffs of an epic burger joint whose sandwiches were both monstrous and tasty. I found the storied place in downtown Queenstown by following a long line of people spilling out onto the sidewalk. Both native New Zealanders and hungry travelers, laden with backpacks, were swarming the small store-front. Groups of people were exiting with huge, paper-wrapped bundles, smiles and half-crazed eyes plastered devilishly onto their purchases. This is Fergburger. A restaurant that elevates ordering a simple burger into a rite of passage for all Queenstown visitors.

I did not immediately indulge. Rather, I waited until my last day in Queenstown to taste the legendary food- a poetic departure from the most gorgeous place I had ever visited. As I grew closer to the front of the line, I recalled what my friends in the hostel had said about Fergburger. One man had been quite frank: "It's essentially a really big, really good burger." Another had said, "It is without a doubt one of the tastiest burgers you will ever have." And a particularly die-hard Fergburger fan described it simply as "Heaven. Gut-busting Heaven." I knew that I really had found the pearly gates when I saw there were two vegetarian options on the menu. I opted for the Holier than Thou, described as "Tempered tofu with a spicy satay, coconut and coriander sauce, lettuce, tomato, red onion, cucumber, snow-pea shoots and aioli." It was delicious. The tofu was cooked perfectly, neither too rubbery nor soft, and the combination of Indian spices melded ideally with the coolness of the cucumber and pea shoots. And this burger was huge. Spanning well over the circumference of my whole hand. I desperately wanted to finish the entire thing in one sitting but I was barely able to nibble through half.

So is the Fergburger worth the fifteen-hour plane flight to New Zealand? Maybe not. But it's definitely worth the thirty-minute wait to get to the front of the line.

Happy trails,
Jenna Blumenfeld