Hard Rock Café Cooks Up International Burgers: Andean, Bosphorous, Schnitzel

This lineup is not for the faint of stomach.
Photos: Natalie Schack


Hard Rock Cafe doesn’t usually make the top of our list for must-go burger joints. We are, however, total suckers for shtick, wanderlust and rock ‘n’ roll, so when the franchise released news of its First World Burger Tour, featuring creative burger recipes with international twists, we were totally ready to join the fan club. Just call us burger groupies.


The chain, which has locations around the world, gives chefs the freedom to create a unique burger inspired by the local flavors of that location’s city (such as a haggis burger from Edinburgh, Scotland). The Honolulu burger, in case you’re wondering, is a delicious-sounding mix of beef, Portuguese sausage, sweet teriyaki sauce, cheese and a pineapple ring, served on a toasted Hawaiian sweet bun.


If the overkill of these burger monsters doesn’t shock and terrify you, you’ll be as delighted as we were to learn that, for the first time, Hard Rock Cafe took these worldly burgers “on the road” (yuk yuk) with a “tour” (rofl) that is “rocking” (OK, that’s enough) foreign cafes worldwide. In non-punny terms, that means you can order one of the Legendary Burgers from a land far, far away, right here in Honolulu, from now until the end of June. Give us front row seats to that, please.


Unfortunately, each location only gets four of the legendary burgers from the massive list of amazing-sounding coma-inducing meal-beasts, so we can’t try the Date Burger from Dubai  (which involves cream cheese! Swoon!) or the Banh Mi burger from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Don’t worry, though, we got globally lucky in the World Tour Lottery: the Schnitzel Burger from Cologne, Germany, the Chamorro Burger from Guam, the Bosphorous Burger from Istanbul and the Andean Burger from Santa Cruz, Bolivia.


Burger snobs/gourmands, avert your eyes. For the rest of you, our advice is this: Come to the burger show hungry. We tried all but the Andean which, though a delicious-sounding mix of egg, burger and avocado goodness, sounds like something we could make at home (to much applause, yes, but at home all the same). Our second piece of advice: Be generous with the sauces. If you were worried about calories, you wouldn’t be bellying up to this burger bar with us, so don’t be shy.


The Bosphorous Burger came with slow-simmered eggplant and yogurt sauce atop the requisite beef patty (fries on the side). We love eggplant, but it gets a bit lost in a dish that takes meat and turns it up to eleven. It’s the yogurt sauce that really makes it sing. Same went for the Chamorro Burger, with a thin layer of cheese that tried pathetically to make itself heard over the beef, with only a not-unpleasant chili sauce and a sweet, house-made Chamorro glaze setting it apart from any other normal burger-made-for-a-giant.


Now, the Schnitzel—oh, the Schnitzel. This burger, the waitress warned us, is for you only if you really, really like pork. Oh, we like pork. But even the most fanatic of pork lovers would find their love tested. The recipe for this baby comes with two—yes, two—patties of lightly breaded pork cutlets, sharp sauerkraut and a brown mustard that has quite the spicy kick. It’s a mouthful of fried, porky, spicy, tangy meatiness that makes you simultaneously worried about your health and just. so. happy. Until you start feeling uncomfortably full, that is. (It was supposed to come with a pretzel bun, but, unfortunately, those are still en route from the Mainland so we got it on an ordinary bun. Expect the pretzels to come in the next week or so.)


No, we’re not counting down the days until we can return and stuff ourselves with more burgers. However, this was definitely more fun than the average Mickey D’s stop. And next time? We’ll be sure to bring the boys (or at least the girls with big appetites). That Schnitzel deserves a crowd that can take it.


World Tour Burgers all $17.95 each, Hard Rock Cafe, 280 Beach Walk, 955-7383.