Here’s the thing about day four of my Adelaide road trip – both the highlight and the lowlight were food related (isn’t it always?). First the lowlight. Pie floaters, another South Australian culinary institution are gross! A pie drowning in pea sauce? WHAT IN HELL WAS I THINKING? Never again.
But the highlight was so unexpected and so unobtrusive it kind of blew my mind. But first I need to give you some background.
When I was a kid growing up in Sydney, we had a little corner shop at the end of our street. It’s gone through a handful of owners over the years, but there was a period where it was owned by an Asian family and they made the best damn hamburger I’ve ever eaten. I’m not talking about your gourmet burger. I’m talking about your local milk bar, Australian burger. The kind of burger that’s just a beef patty with lettuce, tomato, caramelised onions, BBQ sauce and beetroot (always beetroot). If I was feel a bit fancy I would put a potato scallop/potato cake on it, just because. The owners sold up that shop around the time that I finished up in high school, and I have never had a milk bar burger as good since then.
Another friend told us to check out this little take away shop in North Adelaide called the Blue & White Café . It’s apparently been there since 1954. I normally never order burgers from these kinds of joints because they inevitably lead to disappointment, so I’m not sure why I did this day. Maybe it was fate? But I am so glad I did because that burger took me straight back to that time when that Asian family owned the corner shop and made the best burger I’ve ever eaten. This burger tasted the same as my memory.
The patty tasted the same – it wasn’t overly spiced, it had the right amount of char from the flat-top grill and it was succulent. The bun was the perfectly fine, regular hamburger bun that you buy from the supermarket, complete with sesame seeds. There was the right ratio of ingredients, especially the sauce.
It’s amazing when a food memory is so powerful that it destroys your experience of similar foods to the one in the memory. But it truly is mindblowing and emotional when you find a food that matches it. I’m glad this memory found it’s match.