Six inches long, with a warm gooey centre; this infamous snack satisfies drunk Australians more than happy hour at a backpackers bar. You can find the Chiko Roll in almost every kebab shop or fish-n-chippo on the island continent.
Trust an Aussie to design a snack with the main aim is to hold a beer in the other hand! Catering business owner Frank McEncroe from the rural town of Bendigo frequently worked at public outdoor events and football games. Sick and tired of chicken rolls that fall apart whenever you bite them? What about those flimsy-flaky Chinese spring rolls that need two hands to eat? Frank saw a need for a footy snack that can be held in one hand, and not fall apart when eating. He invented the Chiko Roll, named it after the chicken roll and combined with elements from the spring roll. The longer, firmer snack better appealed to Australian tastes and the branded paper bag kept the hand somewhat clean.
Although the name suggests a certain ingredient, the Chiko Roll does not contain any chicken. The main protein is beef… or mutton, maybe it does have chicken? The primary ingredients are cabbage, barley, and sludge. The sludge contains meat, fat, beans, vegetables, preservatives and ingredients known better by chemical numbers. The outer roll pastry is made of flour and egg to a robust consistency strong enough to survive drunken footy fans.
Biting into the Chiko Roll, you first notice how the crispy outer layer is quite chewy. It kind of tricks the brain into thinking you are eating real food. The oil and fat boiled into the surface helps absorb the fourth pint you had last night on Baylis street. Reaching the liquid centre, the cabbage provides the sludge with a very tolerable texture. The beef and barley give it its savoury flavour, but the stand-out ingredient is none other than flavour enhancer 635.
Experience the Chiko Roll
Chiko Rolls are sold nation-wide and taste best when either drunk or hungover. To pay proper homage to the snack, you need to head to Wagga Wagga, in the Riverina region. This is where where the first Chiko roll was made. Once you’ve enjoyed the salty and savoury delight, head to the Museum of the Riverina. Here you cansee the a gold plated Chiko Roll on display (there are two museums, it’s one by the botanic gardens). The Riverina is synonymous with fresh produce and artisan food products. This makes for an excellent excuse for a foodie weekend away; but no foodie weekend away is complete without drunkenly hoovering down the famous Chiko Roll.