At six inches long, with a warm gooey centre, this infamous snack has satisfied more drunk Australians than happy hour at a backpackers bar. The brainchild of a rural entrepreneur, the Chiko Roll can now be found in almost every kebab shop and 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 fell apart whenever you bite them, and those flimsy-flaky Chinese spring rolls that required 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. His solution was the Chiko Roll, inspired and named after the chicken roll combined with elements from the spring roll; the Chiko Roll was longer, firmer snack, better appealing to Australian taste buds and came with its own branded paper bag keeping the hand somewhat clean.
Although the name suggests a certain ingredient, the Chiko Roll does not contain any chicken, with the main protein being beef… or mutton, maybe it does have chicken? The primary ingredients are cabbage, barley, and a sludge containing the meat, animal fat, carrot, onion, beans and a bunch of other vegetables, preservatives and ingredients known better by chemical numbers. The outer roll is a pastry made of primarily flour and egg and made 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, whilst the beef and barley give it its savoury flavour, of course this is attributed to none other than flavour enhancer 635.
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 heart of the Riverina region where the first Chiko roll was made. Once you’ve enjoyed the salty and savoury delight, head to the Museum of the Riverina where there is a gold plated Chiko Roll on display (there are two museums, it’s one by the botanic gardens). The Riverina is an area synonymous with fresh produce and artisan food products, so it 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.