‘Bung Fritz’ - an Adelaide kid’s lunchtime staple

Cultural Heart

If you enjoyed his account of the iconic Pie Floater, then you'll probably get a kick out of this latest article from our resident 'crusader of the quirky', Clayton Wehner, as he recalls his first (and lasting) impression of another Adelaide culinary curio. 

Bung fritz at cons fine food adelaide central market

'bung fritz' in store at con's fine food, adelaide central market.

One of the enduring memories of my childhood is spending time at my Nan’s place and accompanying her to the local butcher just around the corner.

Once Nan had completed her transaction, the generously-proportioned butcher would beam at us kiddies, give his offal-encrusted hands a cursory wipe on his bloodstained apron, and slice off a massive hunk of ‘bung fritz’ for my brother and I.

This was the real reason why we were so willing to tag along with Nan on her weekly shop.

Cons fine food at adelaide central market

con's fine food - one of many adelaide central market butchers proudly serving up fritz.

What is ‘bung fritz’?

A South Australian institution, ‘bung fritz’ is a processed meat product that comes in a natural sausage-like casing. It’s not to be confused with other processed meat products like Devon (NSW), Luncheon (Queensland) or Polony (WA), which typically come in a very unappetising plastic-like casing and, in my opinion, have nothing on our fritz when it comes to taste. 

That ‘natural sausage-like casing’ is actually orange sheep’s appendix, but that’s still better than eating plastic, right?

Every butcher makes fritz slightly differently, but typically it’s a blend of meat trimmings - pork, beef, lamb or veal - bonded with water and flour, and mixed with spices such as nutmeg and ginger.

Fritz and sauce sandwich barossa fine foods v1
photo-icon Barossa Fine Foods

‘Bung fritz’ is often teamed with big glugs of tomato sauce (we recommend SA’s Beerenberg Tomato Sauce) on sandwiches for school lunches, and it also works well when fried for breakfast, particularly after a night of drinking Coopers’ beer. Processed meat doesn’t get any better than this!

City of Adelaide Councillor and smallgoods stalwart, Franz Knoll, told SBS earlier this year that fritz was likely invented by a German man of the same name in the late 1880s or early 1890s: “Rumour has it that Fritz worked for either Conrad’s Butcher, a German butcher on Hindley Street, or another German butcher in Lobethal.”

Knoll is part of a group that is seeking a geographical certification for ‘fritz’, in the same way that ‘champagne’ can no longer be produced outside of the Champagne wine region in France.

South Australia’s generous butchers

South Australia has the most generous butchers in Australia. To this day, SA children are conditioned to expect a free slice of ‘bung fritz’ when accompanying their parents to the butcher, regardless of the value of the overall transaction.

My poor Nan, God rest her soul, generally only made a trip to the butcher to pick up free dog bones, which meant that the poor butcher was well out of pocket as a result of our visit. Every week we’d pick up those free bones for Nana’s black lab, and time-after-time the butcher would dispense the ‘bung fritz’ without hesitation. It’s probably why so many local butchers have gone the way of the dinosaur.

Dispensing free fritz remains an enduring tradition in many modern butcher’s shops and SA kids have a well-established modus operandi for getting their hands on it. Cluey juveniles ‘eyeball’ the butcher expectantly from the moment they enter the shop, heaping pressure on the butcher as they measure out the snags and chuck steak, whilst younger siblings intone incessantly: ‘Mummy, can I have some fritz? Mummy, can I have some fritz?'.  The butcher has little choice but to hand over the good stuff.

Never tried fritz? Ask your local butcher about it today, or simply take your kid in and maybe you’ll get a free sample to try. If you can prise it out of their hands, that is.

Article by

Clayton Wehner

Clayton Wehner

Clayton is what you would call 'middle aged', but acts like he's much younger, despite little encouragement to do so from others around him. He's a family man with two 'clowns', a border collie that won't stop chewing, and a long-suffering wife. Clayton likes craft beer, Dad jokes, 'nerding out' on a computer, singing 'Chantilly Lace' by the Big Bopper, recounting Army tales from days of yore, and tip-toeing along the fine line between tasteful and distasteful. He's a fan of true crime books, railways, Ben Folds, Indian food, and staying under 100kg.