Tiger Burger have been mixing Korean and Western flavours into an inimitable menu of brilliant burgers for about a year now. Food Space stopped by to learn more about Esther and Matt and what makes the Tiger Burger team tick.
FS: Who are you?
TB: We are Esther Jeong & Matt Shephard: passionate foodies with a media background. Esther is from South Korea, Matt is from England.
FS: What is your background in food?
TB: Our food backgrounds consist of eating a lot and never leaving leftovers for the next day!
FS: What made you decide to start Tiger Burger?
TB: We’ve always loved mixing up the exciting flavours of Korean cuisine with Western classics.
What inspired us to turn our hobby into what it is now, was when we were on a date at Silo Park. The place was buzzing, full of energy and we saw a wide range of street vendors all specialising in one type of food that didn’t fit the common food scene.
It was this refreshing take on food that motivated us and set us on the path to where we are today.
FS: What has been the biggest change in the Auckland scene since you started?
TB: The public is warming up to the idea of trying different food and with markets and events bringing a wide range of unique food choices, street food is becoming more popular every day.
The quality of street food has gone up and we’re seeing a lot of health-conscious vendors raising the bar, creating a new type of gourmet street food.
FS: Who are your favourite mobile food vendors in Auckland? Why?
TB: We have made loads of friends in the street food scene in Auckland. Everyone works so hard and is very passionate about their food.
It’s hard to pick out our favourites from this bunch but we especially appreciate those doing fusion food as that’s what we’re all about!
FS: What do you think is missing from the mobile food scene in Auckland?
TB: To see more growth and unique stalls popping up, we need more events across the city and places street vendors can set up more consistently throughout the year.
FS: What are three most important lessons you have learned since first opening?
- You can never be too prepared. As soon as you let your guard down, that’s when you start to forget things which can have major consequences!
- Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Don’t over-commit, take your time to build the brand you want.
- There’s always a chance to learn something new. Every day we learn a new trick or recipe. Keep your mind open to the opportunities that surround you.
FS: You recently took a culinary journey to Korea (#KoreanFoodAdventure) - what aspects of the street food culture in Korea would you love to see here in NZ?
TB: More accessibility. Street food is a big part of the culture in Korea, it would be nice to see more locations in New Zealand where a street vendor can pop up and trade outside of the markets & events scene.
Recipe: Kimchi Fried Rice
This recipe is super simple, super delicious and makes use of a popular super-food – kimchi.
You will need:
· 3 cups rice
· 1 cup chopped kimchi
· ¼ cup kimchi juice
· 2-3 tablespoons gochujang (Korean chilli paste)
· 3 teaspoons sesame oil
· Vegetable oil (to line the pan)
· 1 spring onion, chopped
If you have leftover rice, you can whip this up in no time at all by literally combining all of the ingredients in a pan and frying till hot. It’s great when you’re in a rush and need an energy boost.
We usually expand on this with a fried egg on top or bits of dried seaweed (kim) mixed throughout.