The Value of a Burger

I remember a few years back, I was reading what may have been a Watchtower pamphlet.  There was an intriguing article about this old American couple who was in one of those Asian island countries that has serious civil issues.  They ended up being kidnapped by a band of rebels, those types that are always moving around in the bush so that they won't be detected.  The rigors of being on foot like that wasn't easy for them, and unfortunately the husband died along the way.  So it was the wife who lived to tell the tale.

While captive they did a lot of praying, as to be expected.  And as time progressed and they grew more accustomed to being captive in the bush, it even reached a point where, according to the wife the couple prayed to the Lord Himself for hamburgers.  And one day, out of nowhere, it's like they found themselves on the outskirts of the city and were able to get some.

There's now Burger King in Ghana, thank God.

It was that particular aspect of the lady's story that let me know it was real.  As an American who spends an extended amount of time in a non-Westernized part of the world, one of things you miss most is the food.  That's how it was when I first came to Ghana, back in the days was virtually impossible to find Western foods.

For instance, I remember the first pizza I ever had out here.  This was like 20 years ago, and the 'chef' - who overcharged us by the way - made it with a sauerkraut topping.  It tasted just as bad as it sounds.  But he did the best he could based on the dietary norms he grew up under, coupled with how difficult it is to get cheese out this piece, to this day even.

Certain foods we commonly enjoy in the States, like vast amounts of tomato sauce, meat, cheese and condiments, aren't really taken like that in GH.  Ghana is more of a carbohydrate country.  So even to now burgers aren't easy to find, including in many parts of Accra.  But it ain't impossible like back in the old days, and I too can remember like praying for a hamburger and considering it a blessing when I was able to get one.  But what I've come to realize is that the lack of burgers isn't really a cultural or logistic issue per se.  Instead, it's more like they're so damn expensive in Ghana that most people wouldn't even think about buying one, and therefore restaurants aren't going to sell them.

You'd be surprised how much some people would pay 
for a good burger.

What made me recall all of this is an article the New York Post recently published about how expensive (McDonald's) burgers are in certain parts of the world.  I can imagine an American reading that article and saying to themselves 'ain't no way in hell I'm paying $8 for a Big Mac, like people do in Switzerland'.  But trust me, if you were living someplace where the only quality burger available cost $8, you'd gladly cough up the dough for it.

So now, at least there's a Burger King or two or three in Accra.  The caveat though is that the food hella expensive.  For example, back around December I went to the BK at Airport Residential and bought a Double Whopper meal for about $10.50, and that's beside the transport to get to their and back to begin with.  Right now in the US, that same meal costs $7.59 on average, which is also like damn, but still.  And just to note, the average price of a cooked meal in Ghana, in general, is about ₵25Gh or $2.30.

Then I bought a fish sandwich, a chicken sandwich and a couple of bags of onion rings, and my total bill came up to about ₵300Gh.  And it's like paying 300 of anything for a few Burger King sandwiches just didn't feel right.

I also went back to Burger King a couple of weeks ago, for the sake of this research.  That time around I got a Double Whopper with cheese, a Big Fish, a Crispy Chicken Sandwich and two 9-piece onion rings, all of which came up to ₵272Gh.  According to Google, that would be approximately $25.  Concurrently, that same combination would cost about $22 in New York, i.e. the most-expensive city in the United States.  And that's one of the points I'm trying to get at, that Western fast foods can be considered more expensive in Ghana than they are in the States, which may be like duh, but it ain't easy for those of us who have such dependencies.


That said, the Burger King itself is pretty cool, better than any I remember from the States in terms of physical attractiveness.  It's actually two storeys tall...

...complete with a children's playpen up top, but I didn't really want to go snappin' pics like that, out of respect for patrons' privacy.

Also, it ain't like I'm actually advertising Burger King or anything.  For instance the first couple of times I went, the food taste exactly how it did stateside - so much so that it acutally alarmed me as to how they were able to replicate those taste so many thousands of miles away.  But this time around the fish sandwich was kinda dry...

Onion rings added by myself.

...and the Crispy Chicken was so bland that the taste of bread overpowered the meat.  In fact, the latter was so bad that even the picture of it didn't come out right.  And you know, it ain't like it came cheap.

But the Double Whopper was once again on point, and as far as I know Burger King is the only place in Ghana you can get a sandwich like that, i.e. two burgers in one, without buying the (hard-to-find) ingredients and making it yourself.  If I lived around Burger King I'd be taking Double Whoppers more, regardless of the cost, as I never really grew accustomed to eating cow meat as it is conventionally served in Ghana, and beef does a body good sometimes.

The Airport Residential Double Whopper wasn't pretty,
but so it is with the best burgers.


The last time I went to Burger King there was virtually no customers there, and I'm sure that's in large part due to the cost of the food.  If you look at that pic above, you'll notice there only seems to be really-nice cars parked in front of the establishment.  That's indicative of the type of clientele the restaurant attracts, i.e. people who have expendable income, while in the US fast food is like the cheapest option.

Burger King was never my favorite burger joint stateside, but I greatly appreciate their presence in Ghana, even if it is currently limited to central Accra.  It's establishments such as this which, in my opinion, makes the prospect of expatriating to GH so much more attractive than it was in the past.  And hopefully Burger King locations will start to become more ubiquitous here in GH, as with KFC.