Thursday, August 27, 2015

Around the world with burgers - where's your favourite burger joint?

"I'll gladly pay you Tuesday, for a hamburger today."
-  J. Wellington Wimpy
Those who really known me know I love burgers. I'm always on the lookout for a good burger and in Vancouver I'm always looking for new burger joints.

In the past month, I've found two new ones, one just last week.

That lunch last week got me thinking about my quest for burgers. I travel a lot, so I obviously got to thinking of all the places in the world where I've enjoyed a burger outside of Vancouver. While it is a North American dish, it is sold internationally - although you wouldn't expect the best burgers would be easily found in other countries.

The site of my first international burger, outside Belmopan.
However, I have enjoyed my share of burgers internationally as well as around Canada and the United States.

My first "out-of-country" burger was in Belize, my first out-of-country trip (aside from the U.S., which I'd been travelling in and out of, since I was seven)

We'd been kayaking, caving, exploring ruins and horseback riding in the jungles and highlands of that country for close to two weeks - all on a diet of seafood, chicken, rice-and-beans, and vegetarian fare.

So we were C-R-A-V-I-N-G some burgers in the worst possible way. Luckily, on our last day of the trip we were able to feed that craving, and feed it twice: once at the Belize Rodeo, and once at JB's Watering Hole, near the capital of Belmopan. They probably weren't the best burgers, but sitting in JB's, quaffing a cool one and munching on a burger was like heaven.

After Belize, the trips began to pile up, but I don't remember eating burgers in Africa, Ecuador, or any place else, until I went to the Rainforest Music Festival on Borneo, in Malaysia. And I have to confess, I didn't eat a "Malaysian burger."

A burger at BK in Bangkok.
I ate at Burger King.

After 17 days of really good local food, I was craving a burger. So, at the airport in Kuala Lumpur, the day I was leaving, I purchased a burger. I never eat at BK at home, but there it seemed like burger heaven (nothing like the place in New Westminster, B.C. though!)

That little dining adventure eventually became a tradition for me: when leaving a foreign country, eat a burger at BK in the airport. I repeated that in Thailand a few years later.

I tried to do it earlier this year when exiting from Mexico, but there was no BK to be found in the Puerto Vallarta airport. So I ate at Johnny Rocket's. Probably better than BK, but the next time I exit from another foreign airport, I will try to find a BK (tradition, you know?)

I've enjoyed many, many burgers in the U.S. A few memorable ones include the signature burger at The Saltwater Cowboy on St. Simon's Island, Georgia; the signature burger at A Cheeseburger in Parrotdise in the Little Torch Key, Florida (both since closed, unfortunately) - not to mention the burger named after Jimmy Buffet's classic song at his restaurant in Key West; and the Market Square Burger at Winghart's in Pittsburgh.

As far as Canada goes...

Who's up for a poutine burger?
Since this is where I've live, this is obviously we're I've enjoyed the most burgers. I've had my share of burgers from fast food outlets in almost every province I've lived in and visited: the Yukon, B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia- but not PEI or Newfoundland. (I've been to PEI, but not long enough for a burger, and I have yet to see Newfoundland.)

I've visited so many burger joints, I can't really recall them all.

Ones that do come to mind immediately are the Cabo Diablo burger at Relish Gourmet Burgers, in Fredericton, NB; the "Lieutenant Burger" at Burgernator in Toronto's Kensington Market area; and several in B.C., including any burger at the aforementioned Burger Heaven; the poutine burger at Tap and Barrel; and burgers at the Two Parrots Bar and Grill; the Blue Canoe Waterfront Restaurant; the Flying Beaver Bar and Grill; the Howe Sound Brewpub; and the Rod and Gun Bar & Grill.

Hopefully in the years to come, as I continue to travel the world, I'll be able to add to my list of international burgers enjoyed.

Meanwhile, I'll leave you with a song that could've been written as my theme song...

Sing it, Jimmy!

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