SO A restaurant in London, the Honky Tonk, has gone and created the most expensive burger in the world. Yes, I agree: it wasn’t made for ordinary South Africans. We cannot afford it. Our economy is in a shambles: the IMF shocked absolutely no-one last week when it said our GDP growth would be only 1,4% this year, down from an earlier forecast of 1,7%.

To understand fully what a bunch of laggards and losers we are, you just have to consider other countries on the continent. Nigeria, the largest economy in Africa, will grow by 7% this year. This is a country with a full-scale war going on against Boko Haram. Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia — which are battling the Ebola outbreak — will still manage to grow by 3,4%, the World Bank says.

Us? We have mineral resources, decent infrastructure, no young people running around with guns — and miserly growth. Perhaps we lack that crucial ingredient: visionary and decisive leadership. I will leave that issue here without saying "President Jacob Zuma".

Now, about that burger.

It is expensive. You have to have benefited from the arms deal and be in line to benefit from the nuclear energy deal to afford this burger. The Glamburger will cost you a cool £1 100. Yes, dear, that’s R19 635 at the time of writing.

Now pick yourself up from the floor and dust yourself off.

What could be in this incredibly expensive slab of meat and bread?

This is what the UK’s Daily Mail had to say: "The burger patty is made from 220 grams of Kobe Wagyu beef minced with 60 grams of New Zealand venison to balance the fat content, and has a rich centre of black truffle brie, creating a liquid pocket once the meat has cooked. It is then seasoned with smoked Himalayan salt and served with a Canadian lobster poached in Iranian saffron. And if that isn’t enough, topping it all is maple syrup-coated streaky bacon, Beluga caviar and a hickory-smoked duck egg intricately covered in edible gold leaf.

"The bun is seasoned with a Japanese matcha-and-cream mayonnaise and coated in gold leaf. The finishing touches are a mango and champagne jus and grated white truffle."

It is expensive. You have to have benefited from the arms deal and be in line to benefit from the nuclear energy deal to afford this burger. The Glamburger will cost you a cool £1 100. Yes, dear, that’s R19 635 at the time of writing.

Alas, I cannot afford Honky Tonk chef Chris Large’s work, so I am afraid I have had to settle for one of our local burger outlets, Burger King, "home of the freshly flame-grilled Whopper", which has been operating in SA for over a year now.

When the franchise first opened, customer Jannay Saal of Parow in Western Cape queued for 13 hours. She later said: "[The Whopper] is everything I imagined. The sauce and the patty taste so good, and it’s big."

Of course, there is a problem with this sort of popularity.

First, there was a queue at the Rivonia branch when I got in on a Saturday afternoon. I spent five minutes in the queue waiting to be served. Then I waited a further seven minutes before my order came through. A fast food chain should be able to provide at a quicker rate.

The Whopper isn’t the biggest burger at Burger King. There is the Big King XXL, packed with a slice of cheese, lettuce and a beef patty, and a side of Coke and chips. It costs a mere R64.

I settled for the Whopper — a sesame seed bun, beef patty, mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato slice. I also bought a "long chicken" (variation of chicken burger), chips and some water. Many of my fellow patrons were swigging liberally from the fizzy drink stand at the corner.

The long chicken was lovely. The chips just didn’t do it for me; not special at all.

The Whopper? Look, it wasn’t Kobe beef, but it was cheap, convenient, cheerful and tasty. It beats the Honky Tonk burger any day.

* * * Burger King

Sandhurst Centre

60 Rivonia Road

Sandton

Tel: (011) 946-7737

* * * * * Thuli Madonsela

* * * * Excellent

* * * Good

* * Poor

* Nkandla

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