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fast food

The double golden arches of McDonald’s can be found in major cities globally but there’s a world of difference between the mass-produced, standardised franchise example and the delights of a homemade hamburger.

“The man who invented the hamburger was smart, but the man who invented the cheeseburger was a genius,” at least, that’s what Oscar-award winning actor Matthew McConaughey believes.

Ask any South African to name their favourite fast food and most will tell you it’s the humble hamburger. This is the same the world over where everyone seems to love the simplicity of a patty (be it beef, pork, chicken, lamb, tofu, or mushroom) wedged between a sliced bun, topped with a selection of favourite fillings, such as lettuce, tomato, bacon, avo, cheese, onions, fried egg, gherkins and more. And that’s before it’s finished off with a variety of sauces including BBQ, mayonnaise, ketchup, chutney or mustard.

It's no wonder then that this simple yet delicious and versatile fast food should have its own day – International Hamburger Day. Sadly, that day has passed (it was May 28, by the way) but there’s no reason not to honour and celebrate the burger regardless. Who needs to stick to the rules when it comes to burgers, right?

While there is much talk about the decline of fast food outlets as people become more health-conscious, burger joints remain the largest segment of the restaurant industry. In the United States alone, the burger market is worth more than $122 billion – or converting that to South African rands, that's R2,2 trillion!

Here are a few fun facts as well as a delicious burger recipe from Chef Sharon Visagie of Capsicum Culinary Studio’s Durban campus.

  • McDonald’s has more than 30 000 outlets in more than 120 countries on six continents and sells 75 hamburgers every second.
  • On average, Americans eat three burgers a week, which means a national total of nearly 50 billion burgers per year. If they were arranged in a straight line, it would circle the earth 32 times.
  • During World War 2 hamburgers were known as Liberty Sandwiches in an attempt to avoid using German names.
  • According to the Guinness World Record, the biggest hamburger weighed over 1 164kg and was made in Germany on July 9, 2017. It consisted of three meat patties, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, onions, hamburger sauce and a bun.
  • An 150kg cheeseburger is the world’s largest commercially sold burger and can be ordered from Mallie’s Sports Grill & Bar in Detroit. It consists of a mammoth patty, topped with kilogrammes of cheese as well as countless tomatoes, onions, pickles and lettuce and a bun that is specially baked. The patty takes 12 hours to cook and eight hours to cool down enough – which is why they need three days notice to whip one up.
  • American Sonya Thomas holds the world record for eating a Big Daddy Cheeseburger weighing four kilograms in 27 minutes.

Jalapeno and cream cheese stuffed beef burgers 

Chef Sharon Visagie, Capsicum Durban campus


180g seeded and chopped jalapeno peppers

20g washed and chopped coriander leaves

50g finely chopped red onion

225g medium fat cream cheese

900g lean ground beef

8 fresh burger buns, split

Lettuce and tomato slices to dress


In a bowl, stir together the jalapenos, red onion, coriander and cream cheese. Divide the ground beef into 16 portions and pat out each one to a 6mm thickness. Spoon some of the cream cheese mixture onto the centre of eight of the patties. Top with the remaining patties, pressing the edges together to seal. Pre-heat a grill pan on medium heat. When hot, lightly oil the pan and cook for about 7 minutes on each side or until done to your liking, taking care not to press down on the burgers as they cook as this will make the cheese ooze out. Serve on freshly toasted buns with fresh lettuce and slices of tomato and a side of fries.