José Barbosa's sad chip-minimal butty (Photo: José Barbosa)

The Spinoff Reviews New Zealand #103: The Burger King chip butty

We review the entire country and culture of New Zealand, one thing at a time. Today, a bunch of us have a hoon on Burger King’s new chip butty.

The United Kingdom’s contributions to world cuisine, like its contributions to the world in general (Morris dancing, Piers Morgan, colonialism etc), are for the most part rubbish. However, credit where credit’s due: the chip butty is a king among foodstuffs, and it’s as British as Prince Andrew’s allegedly non-sweating armpit (but far tastier).

In New Zealand we’ve adopted this culinary tradition of our imperial overlords with gusto, and tis a rare feed of fish and chips that does not feature someone grabbing a couple of slices of white bread, slathering them with butter, chucking some chips and Wattie’s tomato sauce in there and smashing that shit.

But now, Burger King has given us a zero-effort option: its own take on the chip butty, featuring its classic burger buns, fries, mayo and ketchup, was launched with little fanfare in recent weeks, appearing on the “change range” menu for the pleasingly low price of $2 (you can add bacon for an extra buck).

The Spinoff ordered eight butties from the Dominion Road Burger King in Auckland’s Mt Roskill (excellent service, could not fault it) and brought them back to the office for elevenses. Upon unwrapping we found that all butties were not created equal, with fry content ranging from barely double figures to upwards of 26 depending on the butty.

Here are our tasters’ full and frank reviews, separated into the YEAHS and the NAHS.

A mound of butties (Photo: Jose Barbosa)

YEAH

Alex Casey: Honestly, I thought this butty was kind of great. It had a good amount of mayo and sauce and a cross-section revealed an evenly distributed amount of chips. But, for me, the timing was all wrong. It should be a private meal, a secret meal, and probably a drunk meal. There’s also the tension that Big Burger is now in on our yucky joke, which makes me kind of sad. It would be like if they started serving sundaes with fries already dipped in, ya know? 

Matthew McAuley: The chips are already in the bread. As a person whose life sometimes feels like it revolves around a compulsive insistence on putting chips into literally every burger that crosses my path, no matter its provenance or cost or degree of self-importance, the existence of the Official Burger King Chip Butty makes me feel both seen and a little inadequate. If the chips are already in the bread, what use then for my tiny brain? Do I order extra chips and double up on filling? Ask for a side of cheese and customise that way? Puree to paste and bake an extremely stodgy cake? Sure, that’s a bad idea, but maybe this actually feels kind of freeing. I would like more sauce and maybe a couple of pickles, but ultimately: the chips are already in the bread, and so the world can be my oyster. I will eat three and then I will have a sleep.

Toby Morris: A butty is as much about the butter as the chips, and this was missing the butter so points off for that, but hard to argue with mayo and sauce and salt on a snack. Would be a good drunk on-the-way-home bite. Was a bit skimpy on the chips – feel like I could eat four easily. TLDR: Butless butty but mayo may make it. Four before full.

Alice Neville: The good lord of the butty smiled upon me, and too bloody right for I was the one who drove to BK and purchased the butties and brought them back to the office like some sort of butty-bearing Santa Claus. What I’m trying to say is that thanks to the luck of the draw, I drew from the butty bag a butty whose buns embraced no fewer than 26 fries. And yet. I still could have done with more. I did, however, enjoy when I got to the middle of the butty and reached an almost congealed mass of fry-mayo-ketchup deliciousness. I thought I’d miss the butter but TBH, I enjoyed the mayo and ketchup. I thought it worked a treat. What I didn’t think worked as well as the traditional butty was the bun: cheap white sandwich bread really makes it. I also would have preferred thick fish and chips chips, but we can’t expect miracles. In sum, would I buy this again? If I was drunk or hungover, quite possibly, because you can’t argue with $2.

Alice Neville’s chip-maximal butty (note different placement of sauce and mayo in the two pictured butties – one directly on bun, one atop fries)

NAH

Josie Adams: I thought this would spoil my lunch but instead it spoiled my day. From the picture, I thought the butty would be too wet. Instead it was too dry, which is less repulsive but more disappointing, somehow. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it’s not even worth $2. The more I think about it, the more I realise that what I actually wanted was a burger, and I’m sorry to this butty for expecting more.

José Barbosa: In the 1993 film Shadowlands Anthony Hopkins plays author C.S. Lewis. The man who would write the Narnia Chronicles and several Christian apologetics has his faith shaken by the death of his wife. Staring out a train window, he’s confronted by a friend who points out that this may be the one time in his life where he doesn’t have all the answers. In reply Lewis says: “We live in the Shadowlands. The sun is always shining somewhere else. Round a bend in the road. Over the bough of a hill.”

In a world where happiness is never where you are, achieving fulfilment of any kind is like trying to grasp dust caught in a shaft of light. 

And so life remains banal. Arid of solace. Drab. Just like this fucking two dollar chip butty.   

Madeleine Chapman: There’s no such thing as a bad idea unless the idea is to ask people to pay for a few fries inside a bun with a splash of ketchup and mayonnaise. Burger King, what are you doing? Adding sides to a burger has worked well in the past. The Rodeo is a near perfect burger thanks to the addition of onion rings to a BBQ cheeseburger. This isn’t that. A side (like fries or onion rings) can elevate a burger. But there has to be a burger to elevate. Fries in an empty bun is two dry carbs pretending to be something of substance or flavour. Yes, $2 is cheap for a piece of food. But it’s a high price to pay for something that shouldn’t exist.

Tina Tiller: I was feeling a bit dusty this morning and craved that dirty carb feeling so I was blessed when our food angel Alice brought in the new BK Chip Butty. Straight off the bat: not enough chips in the damn thing! Like are you off your nut having seven chips in between two burger buns!!! You need two decent stacked layers of those lil shoestring fries to make it filling enough. The sauce was little to none. We want that shit oozing out of those butty buns mushed into the chips. I thought that a hash brown would be a great addition to the potato collection in that burger and also some damn cheese wouldn’t hurt no one unless you lactose intolerant then yeah nah don’t do it. Overall: not worth two bucks. Not enough of everything except buns, like bro if I just wanted buns I could have had some super soft white bread with butter.

Alice Webb-Liddall: I have never been more hungry in my life than after eating that dry hunk of carb. It is my fault that I’ve decided to live my life as a vegan so I didn’t get the yum yum mayo, instead I got a patch of tomato sauce as big as my thumbnail, about five chips and some bun. I’m sad. Butties need butter (or vegan alternative), that’s why they’re called butties. BK has taken the wrong message from its name and made a product that tastes like butt.

A butty sans a bite (Photo: Alice Neville

Verdict: A bun with some fries in. More consistency needed in fry distribution, but all in all a cheap snack and carbs are yum so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Good or bad: The jury’s out but OK if you insist we must choose, what food section despot Alice Neville says goes and she says GOOD and therefore GOOD is what this is.



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