2018 Primetime Emmy
& James Beard Award Winner

R&K Essentials: Neighborgoods Market

WHAT TO EAT: Balkan Burger at Neighborgoods.

Every Saturday, Neighborgoods transforms a former Braamfontein office building into an open-air market of sorts, where you can taste many of the flavors of Johannesburg in one convenient food hall. There are farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as ready-made food vendors selling everything from seasoned and grilled halloumi cheese to thin-crust wood-fired pizza to massive flat pans of steaming, saffron-infused seafood paella.

But the real star of the show is the Balkan Burger, Johannesburg’s favorite food truck. Serbian siblings Lijdjia and Bojan Ivanovic left their corporate jobs to start Balkan Burger after overpaying for a cheese plate at a food market. Balkan Burger brings their setup to Neighborgoods every weekend to hawk their famous juiced-up rectangular burgers. They mince their own A-grade meat, which is seasoned in traditional South Serbian style with salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic. The patties are tossed onto the grill, flattened, and covered with sesame brioche buns that soak up the meat’s juices as it’s cooking. The patty is folded over inside the bread, topped with veggie fixings, and smeared with a healthy dollop of their super-secret, spicy red pepper sauce. Cheese is optional but popular. You can add other toppings, but Balkan Burger likes to keep it simple and let their secret patty recipe command the spotlight.

Enjoy your food in the main hall filled with vendors and wooden picnic tables, or on the rooftop terrace—where the whole city is on display. Keep an ear out for the live music, especially when the weather’s nice.

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