When fully immersed in a ‘burger experience’, there are three things one should be paying special attention to;
The first is the obvious ‘burger taste balance’ i.e. the overall burger taste and how the ingredients make sweet-sweet love to each other – how they perform individually as one gets tasteful glimpses of each ingredient with each mouthful, and more importantly how they work as a team delivering that initial, magnificent burger taste splash into one’s mouth.
Second, and perhaps a less obvious measurement, the ‘burger construction’. How well has the burger been structured and built? Will it hold fast throughout the experience, or collapse as the filling spills down one side and tears open the bun. Or will the proportions have the ‘correct’ burger ratios. Does the burger patty match up to the bun’s circumference, or will there be too much bread at the end of the hamburger?
Thirdly, the ‘overall burger experience’. Was the burger enjoyable and did it satisfy that burgnivorous feeling; was it a mediocre delivery or did it have that little surprise in store that made the whole burger resplendent in all senses.
The following five burgers have risen above the Hong Kong hamburger ranks to become, in my humble opinion, as a simple burger aficionado who has special place in his heart for this food staple, some of this city’s greatest hamburgers. Although I haven’t yet tried ALL the hamburgers Hong Kong has to offer, and there are bound to be a few more hidden gems (an honorable mention has to go to Q-Bay Burger), these burgers manage to satisfy one’s burger desires because they fulfill many of the top requirements that I personally feel, make for a great burger experience.
In no particular order:
This burger is a gorgeous southern belle in the center of Hong Kong. Vivacious in both appearance and taste, it makes a grand entrance, charming your senses as it releases a waft of its delightful burger perfume on one’s nostrils – preparing one’s body for what should be a beautiful burger experience. There is a rich and tasty ‘burger taste balance’ rush; and the realization that prudence has gone into the ingredients, as well as the construction, results in mouthfuls of exquisite burgerness. The beef patty, full of flavourful meat juices, accomplishes a neat beef taste that is subtly accentuated by the apt peppery seasoning. The patty, offered with the right thickness and correct diameter, creates a near perfect ensemble with the bun and other ingredients. The melted cheddar cheese which clings to the patty with a thick, radiant, summery yellow, properly manages to softly gleam throughout the burger experience. The tasty, toasted, soft bun appropriately adjusts to the inner workings and assemblage of the burger, absorbing juicy remnants while keeping the hamburger tightly held under its arms. There is a glorious feeling of satisfaction as you hold this solidly exquisite burger.
1st floor, No 63 Wyndham Street, Central, 2536 0183
Beef & Liberty
This burger that has been cherished and well groomed by a proud executive chef; a chef that has remained vigilant in creating a burger that has attained a certain burger beauty as it is designed with a worthy taste balance and sturdy burger construct. The bun, with its soft core and crisp exterior, holds the burger together in a pliant compression; and the beef, utterly exquisite, is lean and juicy with a great mellow texture. The surroundings of these two lovers, manages to bring the burger to a higher level; the savoury thick cut bacon is firm and crisp with a ripe tenderness. The soft tenacious mantle of cheese is tasty, and the greenery provides fresh crunchy palpitations – lettuce and tomato both satisfy, while the onion accentuates with a touch of sweetness. The burger’s build, which starts with a blissful presentation, is staunch; its great compression comes with great constructability, and throughout each bite the hamburger holds through as an exquisite hamburger with a good story behind it.
Star Street Precinct, 2/F, 23 Wing Fung St, Wanchai, 2811 3009
This is a hamburger that has received proper burger care and tenderness; one that brings forth the creation of a wondrous burger experience. Surrounded by meat-filled cabinets and formed from within mountains of dry-aged beef, the patty is forbearingly massaged within the humble hands of a ruggedly bearded man with a gentle burger touch. The hamburger construction is well crafted and the measurements precise; structurally, the burger stacks up with a tight bespoke hamburger feel with the right burger length ratios. Even as one smudges the burger’s face against the board, soaking up all the juices from a marvelous swirl of rich tangy sauce and meat drippage, the burger holds steady. The ingredients, victoriously achieve a great burger taste balance that keeps charging until the end. The beef patty is soft and tender, cooked to a proper temperature with a whimsical taste rippling ever so softly, pillowing onto one’s taste buds. The cheese that lies on top adds a real layer of lazy gooeyness and the sweet bosom of a bun, soft and tender, with a brawny, grilled springiness and a sprinkle of flour that kisses one’s lips, is a respectable addition to this exquisite hamburger.
G/F, Rialto Building2 Landale Street, Wanchai, 2528 2083
High Street Grill
From the moment this burger is placed in front of you, you’ll feel the excitement that Jack felt as he gazed upon Rose aboard the Titantic, but with a happier ending. This burger encounter is certainly one to look forward to. The hamburger, which looks and feels well proportioned, has been constructed with a set of delicious ingredients that as a whole, as they rumble and tumble inside your lips, succeed in achieving an exquisitely savoury burger taste balance. The Wagyu patty, with its appropriately corresponding girth and vigorous juicy beef flavour, feels just right; with a bed of fresh, firm vegetables and a slightly gooey blanket of gently melted, mellow, delectable cheese, the burger has been well taken care of. A vibrant-flavoured bacon, which is perfectly chewy and crispy, provides just the right amount of saltiness to complement the beef, and overall burger taste balance. All these ingredients, carefully stacked in between the marvelously soft and springy bun, that is crumpled ever so flawlessly, that’ll blissfully absorb any juices without tearing itself apart, make up one of the best burgers in Hong Kong – it is simply, exquisite.
Shop 4&5 on G/F, Hang Sing Mansion, 48/78 High Street, Sai Ying Pun, 25592638
The splendid, albeit pricey, burger (one for special occasions), has a rich burger taste balance that allows one the enjoyment of both the overall burger taste balance and the stand-alone individual ingredients. The Wagyu beef is perfectly cooked – properly seared with a well-cooked outer layer and a warm pink center, has a strong, clean beef taste undisturbed by the addition of other seasonings. Throughout the burger experience, the burger maintains a sturdy, tender, and easy-to-eat construction. As one of its greatest qualities, every mouthful tears into the whole burger with the smallest amount of force, one’s teeth glide through each bite gently delivering that gorgeous burger taste balance onto one’s palate. With a patty that feels properly massaged, it seems like good care has been given to all the ingredients. The bread, a soft multi-grain bun, fresh and toasted, holds the burger together until the end; the vegetables, finely shredded lettuce and fresh tomatoes, only enhance the burger experience, and the bacon makes a distinguished and softly crispy appearance. All this culminates in a well-built burger with a majestic burger taste balance – that is ever so accentuated by the tender existence of this whole burger.
G/F, Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 15 Queen’s Road, Central, 2132 0077
No one describes a burger quite like Francisco does – we hope you enjoyed this week’s top list!
For more of Franscisco’s theatrical burger descriptions, visit his blog.