The Biggest Burger In South Africa?
Inkwenkwezi Private Game Reserve is an East London institution, less for its game and more notably for something else entirely: a gigantic hamburger, bigger than your head (I don’t know how big your head is but for all intents and purposes imagine a sizeable adult noggen). This hamburger is so very large that they challenge gastronomic daredevils to finish two in a single hour, sides included. It’s a feat only 6 patrons have managed to accomplish over the course of 15 years, winning bragging rights along with 24 complimentary cases of beer.
The game reserve opened in 1999 and in 2002, as an incentive to get East Londoners to make the 30-minute haul out to Chintsa, they began selling colossal burgers from their restaurant, Emthombeni.
It’s safe to say that two of these monstrosities aren’t comfortably consumed if you’re out for a casual dinner. It takes prep work, tactics, hours studying Man vs. Food and the like before one attempts to take on that second burger. With a diameter of roughly 20 cm and at an impressive height, simply biting into this burger isn’t plausible. A steak knife and forearm strength are necessities.
The burger boasts a lot of bread, easily over half a loaf, despite its bagel-esque quality (a hole in the top half of the bun). Although this does create some starch relief, it just so happens that it’s the perfect place to stash a fistful of chunky fried chips. The burger also comes with a mammoth amount of lettuce, tomato slices, cucumber, raw onion and ‘garnishes’ that you have to munch your way through.
To give us some first-hand knowledge, three young men were invited to sample this Eastern Cape delicacy. The restaurant; only open for Wednesday Burger Night and Sunday lunch, was exactly what you’d expect from a mid-size game farm. Earth tone floor tiles, a solid wooden bar and furniture, bathrooms organised into ‘ewe’ and ‘ram’ were all present. The live performer, a friendly looking middle-aged blonde lady, sang the staple cover songs while large families and the occasional couple dug into their burgers, ribs and meat and three veg.
The night also featured a raffle using table numbers. The prizes on offer were game drives and Sunday lunch vouchers (which we failed to win despite our enthusiasm), we soon realised the whole thing may be rigged when ‘Peggy’ was called up by name.
Out of my ambitious dining companions, the most successful was a lanky young’un who finished a whole chicken burger with cheese sauce. Second in line sampled a half chicken/beef, monkey gland sauce number, but faltered at the thought of clearing his plate of its leftover carbs. Our 3rd place diner only managed half of his monkey gland beef burger, but won points for savvy saving, taking home a doggy bag.
If gorging on an obscene amount of food with aspirations of winning free beer isn’t your thing, the restaurant is pretty deft in wrapping up those leftovers.
Disclaimer: It must be noted that all competitors made the rookie error of ordering drafts of dark amber ale at the onset of the night. A clear sign that they didn’t take the gravity of this challenge seriously and were, perhaps, just there for the free food.
Amber Rose Cowie is an Aries who loves scorching hot drinks and eating foods she can piece apart. She also loves writing and making short video stories.