If the name Changz rings a bell, it’s probably because you’ve screamed it at some point in your life while searching for a glass of milk. These guys do, hands down, the best hot sauce going around.
In fact the hot sauces became so popular, appearing at burger joints all over the country, that Changz founders Josh Monteiro and Tom Jacobson decided to open their own American-inspired digs in Elsternwick: Changz Canteen.
Unlike a lot of burger and fried chicken joints, Changz makes everything in-house. The tangy dill pickles, the tongue-scorching hot sauces, the ketchup and the cured bacon—it’s all made right here at the Canteen. And you can taste the difference. The burgers are built on Japanese-style milk buns (rapidly overtaking brioche as our burger bun of choice) and come with a max of four fillings in each.
Beef fans should probably start with the Double Cheeseburger (beef, cheese, pickles, onion and Canteen Sauce) but the Karaage Chicken gives it a serious run for its money (think nuggety-fried Japanese chook served with snow pea slaw, mustard greens and miso mayo).
Of course, the real story at Changz are the hot sauces. Eating a Changz burger without lugging on a good spoonful of hot sauce is a crime against nature. Spice wimps will be happy with the Green Jalapeño or the smoky Chipotle BBQ, but personally we’re digging the Red Habanero. It kicks like a mule and hits all the right mouth-notes.
The Big Daddy of them all is the BBQ Reaper, made from the dreaded Carolina Reaper Pepper. Sidenote: Changz experimented with a sauce even hotter than The Reaper, but called it off when people literally cried, vomited and hallucinated after consumption. Probs a good call.
The guys have also just launched a brand new Reuben Burger. We're suckers for anything, and as soon as we heard about this one we drove to Elsternwick with our head out the window like ravenous dogs. The burger lived up to expectations too: double beef, double cheese, house-smoked pastrami, fresh horseradish sauerkraut, pickles, and the famed Canteen Sauce. It's a bit of a beast.
Changz is on UberEATs, but we highly recommend heading down and eating in-house. The timber-lined atmosphere is cosy, and Tom is a legend behind the register. Set up by the window with a double-stack burger and two cans of Strangelove smoked cola. Happy days.
Image credit: Jenna Fahey-White