Hong Kong is a city that savors burgers as much as any other city – one can find the usual suspect scattered around in almost every corner, there are plenty of home grown burger joints playing the city’s burger-politics, and hamburgers are on the restaurant menus of cha chaan tengs, Michelin starred locales, and everything in between. With that in mind, recently, together with Eat and Travel and Apply Daily, I visited four very local burger joints… four honkie hamburger places.
We visited 時新漢堡飽 (Sze Sun Hamburger), which has been around since the 60s and is Hong Kong’s first dedicated burger joint; as well as 嘉寶漢堡 (Kabo Burger) that first open in 2015, far up in the New Territories, and now has a second location in Tsim Sha Tsui. We toured 新嘉美茶餐廳 (New Ka Mei Restaurant), which has the most exquisite cha cheen teng hamburger one can try, and tried our luck at 樂景快餐店 (Lucky Snack House), where one might encounter Hong Kong’s most disgustingly repulsive burger.
A word about Hong Kong burger culture…
Hongkongers, both foreign and local, experience a delightful fervor with the arrival or opening of a new burger joint. Yet, they also tend to take hamburgers for granted – not overanalyzing a burger’s burger taste balance or the burger construction (probably true for most people and most foods), a burger is just a McDonalds away (which isn’t a bad thing). With good and bad options and a global set, Hong Kong has a rich burger culture, but the thing that stands out the most is it’s burger-duality.
One might not realize it, but I find that there are two types of burgers in the city – hamburgers that cater to western tastes and burgers that serve to satisfy local ones. The difference is simple – it’s all in the patty. The former, the western burgers in Hong Kong, tend to have a clean minced beef patty, slightly seasoned with salt and pepper and with little handling of the beef. The local taste is represented in the form of a meatloaf patty – heavily seasoned, laboriously handled, and with a springy texture.
It’s really down to the preference of the individual, both minced beef and meatloaf patties can refine or sabotage a burger if not handled correctly. Personally, I’m more of a purist.