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Burger Banzai

This was an article I wrote for Niseko.com Magazine Issue 29 | Feb/March 2016

This was co-authored by Jaron Foote.

Burger Bunzai

Burgers are the heart and soul of any good food safari and holiday experience. They are the quintessential lunch or dinner for travelers. From the juicy patties to the crispy buns, burgers have got it all.

Some say a burger is just a piece of meat with salad between two buns, but to the artisans that go the extra mile to create a terrific burger there is far more to them than meets the eye; painstakingly hand baked buns, prime meat selection, expertly mixed special sauces and perfectly complimentary sides and seasonings – not to mention the decor and atmosphere of the burger joint – all culminate to produce a unique dining experience.

Fortunately for all of us in Niseko, there’s no shortage of tasty burger options to choose from – and we were lucky enough to take on the challenge of a taste testing voyage of some of the best burgers in town.

Bigfoot

Nestled in the heart of the village, Bigfoot Lodge is the center of nightlife in Hirafu with Nightly events and a wide range of food and drinks. The friendly staffs treat you like family with personal service and a fun and warm welcome.

Bigfoot Lodge can be found just one street down from the main road in Hirafu behind the Ski Japan building.

“The British Abroad” – 1900 Yen

Burger Breakdown:

  • Locally baked Japanese style Bun
  • Hash brown
  • Carolina Coleslaw
  • Spiced BBQ sauce and Mustard
  • Smokey Bacon
  • Grilled Hokkaido Wagyu Beef Patty
  • Monteray Jack & Munster cheese
  • Buffolo wing garnish
  • Side: French Fries

Ali Says:

This was a really solid burger. The hash brown was perfectly crunchy yet soft, the spice was perfectly controlled with a subtle pepper flavor, and the bacon was thick and juicy. The cheese was sublime with a smooth flavor, which contrasted well with the saltiness of the bacon and mustard.

Jaron Says:

You can’t beat a combination of bacon with BBQ sauce, and coupled with the pleasing texture of a perfectly executed hash brown this burger left a lasting impression. The buffalo wing crowning each burger plus easy access to home-made fireball accross the bar will make any Canadian feel at home.

Bigfoot Lodge can be found just one street down from the main road in Hirafu behind the SkiJapan.com building.

JoJo’s

This open terrace style restaurant is a favorite among locals offering a variety of baked goods, coffees and a great sit down menu. The large open space makes this a perfect spot for having a quiet meal and drink, and also great for large groups.

JoJo’s Café can be found above the Niseko Adventure Center (NAC) along the main road in Hirafu.

“JoJo’s Original Burger” – 1280 yen

Burger Breakdown:

  • Thick Japanese Whole wheat Bun
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Egg – Sunny side up
  • Hokkaido Beef
  • Mayo
  • Mustard
  • Side: Wedges

Ali Says:

This classic burger is a great all-rounder. The Hokkaido beef is juicy, succulent, and really makes this burger one of the greats. The mustard and mayo is a great flavor combo, which pairs well with the traditional cheddar.

Jaron Says:

The generous sized bun and fired egg grant the Jojo’s burger some serious stomach revenue – best not to talke the climbing wall downstairs after eating! The unadulterated wedges on the side are one of the best ways to enjoy Kutchan’s famous potatoes.

Jam Bar

This Japanese bar and restaurant offers a variety of mouth watering meals at great prices and has been operating for 30 years. The cosy atmosphere is great for small to medium groups and has a funky vibe and unique interior.

Jam Bar can be found in Upper Hirafu near Mariposa.

“Teriyaki Burger” – 1000 yen

Burger Breakdown

  • Japanese Style White Bread Bun
  • Teriyaki Chicken
  • Cabbage
  • Onion
  • Pickles
  • Tomato
  • Teriyaki Mayo – Homemade
  • Side: Wedges and Onion Rings

Ali Says:

The chicken was perfectly seared, seasoned and amazingly juicy. The homemade teriyaki mayo was so, so saucy in the best way imaginable. The pickles balanced the flavor beautifully. This simple looking burger has a complexity of flavors that are not too heavy, and not too light; it’s just right.

Jaron Says:

A tasty Japanese twist on a western classic – the Teriyaki Mayo added some unforgettable flavour and complimented the chicken beautifully. Having both onion rings and wedges on the side is a great touch which keeps the plate varied.

Wazza Burger

Wazza Burgers are Niseko’s best-kept culinary secret. These burgers are the stuff of legend. Wazza Burger has operated in a few locations around Hirafu over the years, and the burgers are always amazing. Best of luck finding this hidden gem; it is absolutely worth it.

Wazza Burger is located in “InNiseko”; the yellow backpackers on the pathway between Alpen Ridge and Abu Cha.

“Works Burger” – 1600 yen

Burger Breakdown

  • Home made Bun
  • Hokkaido beef patty
  • Coleslaw
  • Tomato
  • Egg
  • Bacon
  • Peppercorns
  • Aoli
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Mayo
  • Garlic Butter
  • Caramelized Onion

Ali Says:

This burger is perfect. The bun is made with 3 different locally produced flours and is then carefully prepared over 3 days then baked in a wood fire oven. It is crispy on the outside and flawlessly soft in the middle. It is then glazed with garlic butter before the other ingredients are added.

Jaron Says:

You know you’ve stumbled upon something special when even the bun blows you away! Denser than the usual Japanese style baking and noticeably larger – Wazza’s Works burger contains a delicious array of locally sourced and expertly prepared ingredients that’ll induce a satisfying food coma.

Burger Boss

Niseko’s newest burger joint, Burger Boss, offers a range of customizable burgers at a very reasonable price. Choose your base style of burger and add as many toppings as you want. With various self serve sauces and an unlimited supply of jalapenos, you’re sure to have one of the best burger experiences you could wish for.

Burger boss is located in Lower Izumikyo on the main road opposite Mid Town and next to shuttle stop 26.

“Beef Burger” – 850 yen

Burger Breakdown

  • Locally Baked Whole Wheat Bun
  • Bacon
  • Tomato
  • Gouda Cheese
  • Australian Beef
  • Shredded Cabbage
  • Pickles
  • Home made Teriyaki Sauce
  • Mayo

Ali Says:

The homemade bun adds such a great texture and flavor to the burger. The softness contrasts well with the crunchy cabbage and salty pickles. The Aussie beef gives me a sense of pride and is grilled to perfection. I added quite a few jalapenos to mine and I did not regret it one bit. Delicious!

Jaron Says:

We chose to add bacon and cheese to our Beef Burger (because bacon and cheese!) and it was still a steal. Having free access to a variety of dressings is a great touch for those who like a bit more control of their sauce experience – whether drippy or dry, you have the power!

Burger Tips:

  • Use the supplied skewer to keep large burgers from slipping apart. Move the skewer as you eat closer towards it
  • Hold the burger upside down. The thicker top part of the bun will absorb more juice and is less likely to break apart
  • Pinch down on the far side of the burger, like a crab might, to stop any fillings from falling out
  • Use paper burger wraps every time they are available to hold your burger together. This will also keep the juice off your hands