Filipino cuisine is a rising star in the food scene. It is often referred to as the “original fusion cuisine,” since our food drew inspiration from many cultures including Spanish, Malaysian, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, and American. Because of its versatility, our food is widely-celebrated all over the world. This is also the main reason why most restaurants serving Filipino fare abroad do things uniquely.
Among the various “different” Filipino food joints overseas, we found a burger shop that makes Pinoy-fusion food unlike any other.
Mate Burger is a restaurant that marries Filipino flavors with the American burger culture, in an incredibly creative way. It is found at the heart of Mount Druitt, New South Wales, Australia.
The brand started out as a food tent in 2016, which developed into a successful business after transitioning into a food truck the following year. It official opened its store at Mt. Druitt by 2018.
Mate Burger is owned by ex financial planner, Henry Paraan, a Filipino who migrated to the Land Down Under at a young age. Paraan shared with us his story, “I was born in the Philippines, but arrived in Australia when I was 9. Being the eldest of 4 children, my mum taught me how to cook so I could feed my sisters and brother.”
Paraan, modified his mother’s recipes to come up with what they serve now.
He is in charge of developing their menu, “The menu I create for Mate Burger comes from my passion in cooking and exploring different ways to bring out Filipino flavours.”
Among the mouthwatering meals, the most notable sandwich is the Ensaymada Burger. He explained, “We have many best sellers, but The Ensaymada Burger has been the signature burger both on our food truck and shop. It’s the perfect combination of sweet & salty.”
Another outstanding dish is the Crispy Lechon Rice Burger which had recently gone viral on social media. “Being of Filipino heritage, Lechon is one of the Philippines favourite dish. Like all my creations I want to highlight food that introduces Filipino food in a different way. The Crispy Lechon Rice Burger has many different elements and when eaten together really makes a unique tasting meal. You’ll need wipes after eating it—as it can get a lil messy,” said Paraan.
Meanwhile, Paraan’s favorite is the Chicken Mare Burger—fried Filipino chicken coated in a light crispy batter, melted cheese, served with chilli jam, and Mate Burger’s signature sauce and freshly sliced apple slaw.
Asked about his future plans, Paraan answered, “If Mate Burger keeps growing this way , then you never know what the future holds. We would love to dream that we can serve our creations to more people around Australia and overseas.”
Mate burger is open five days a week from Wednesday to Sunday. They also still operate their kitchen on wheels for private catering, events, and large festivals.
Photos by Mate Burger