Remember when McDonalds introduced this burger in parts of Southeast Asia back in 2017? A tender piece of coconut infused chicken thigh with a golden crispy exterior sat on a fluffy bun, topped with refreshing cucumbers, caramelized onion and drizzled with tangy spicy sambal sauce that’s so well loved in Asia. No wonder they sold out within 2 weeks in Singapore and 2 hours in Malaysia! It’s easy enough to unwrap a traditional, fragrant Nasi Lemak to enjoy for breakfast, but having it burger-style gives you the best without the mess. Lazy to queue at McDonalds the next time they bring it back? Simply whip up a McDonald’s Inspired Nasi Lemak Burger from the comforts of your home for the same finger licking good experience.
Japanese Yakiniku Rice Burger. Photo: Mos Burger
Trust the Japanese to come up with the rice "bun" burger! Nestled between two short-grain rice patties is a tangle of sweet soy-soaked thin beef slices, or a generous slab of fresh Salmon sashimi, with some fresh salad to boot. You can also use fresh Tuna, Swordfish or any other sashimi grade fish. The freshness of the ingredients is really important here, as both fish and salad are eaten raw. And Japanese burger chain Mos Burger has won so many stomachs over with their range of rice burgers including the instantly recognisable Yakiniku Beef Rice Burger (pictured). There’s a few tricks to getting the rice patties to stay together – the use of short grain rice or a mix of short grain and glutinous rice, packing them tightly into a shallow small bowl and refrigerating these packed patties before use. Add in a dash of soya sauce and wasabi for that instant burn, sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds on top and you’re ready for a chow!
Vegetarians rejoice! Vada Pav, Wada Pav, or Wada Pao as some like to call it, is not just a remake of a western hamburger – it’s a culinary miracle on its on. Follow your nose and squeeze through the throngs of Mumbai, for you will eventually come upon a Vada pav street vendor who’s sweating away to fry up rows and rows of sizzling hot buns with deep fried potato dumplings. Sandwiched between two slices of Pav (soft bread roll) is a crusty potato patty that’s topped off which sweet chutney, green chutney and garlic chutney. The herby freshness of the green chutney, tart spicy sweet chutney and aromatic garlic chutney come together upon the potato to give Vada Pav its defining taste. Its often served with even more chutney! One is definitely not enough – we could easily devour 2 or 3 of these mini burgers from Maharashtra.
Bulgogi Burger, whose meat is marinated with sweet soy sauce, pepper, garlic and other savoury notes. Photo: Lotteria
Served up McDonalds, Burger King and Lotteria in Korea, the Korean Bulgogi burger is stuffed with marinated pork of beef that’s grilled to perfection. Bulgogi literally translates to fire meat, and is paired with a sticky sweet soya based sauce to tamper down the charred taste, and to provide a sweet finish. The beef is often thinly sliced to maximize the surface area for searing and coating with the tangy Bulgogi sauce. For Seoul’s McDonalds, they combine the meat patty with fresh lettuce and a generous dollop of mayo. Lotteria too actually has a healthier version of the Bulgogi burger, which replaces the bread buns with vegetable rice patties. Burger King reportedly has the best Bulgogi burger, with a richer sauce and thicker patty. The soft sesame buns on both sides also absorb all that oozing sweet, sour and creamy flavors. Whichever your preference, we imagine that any of these Korean style burgers will go really well with some Kimchi fries on the side!
Try out Janti's Adobo Pork Belly Burger. Here, fatty pork belly is marinated with vinegar, and made with a Philippines-inspired edge
The Adobo method was brought to the Philippines by its former Spanish colonial masters. It refers to marinating meats in a stock consisting of vinegar, paprika, oregano, garlic and salt to preserve and enhance the meat flavors. Today, it is common to brown the meats before serving it with sauce to add a seared layer, giving the dish more texture. Chicken & Pork Adobo is fairly easy to make, and Adobo in general is such a quintessential Filipino family dish that turning it into a burger was just a matter of time. Just like how they are so many variations of Adobo recipes, the patty itself can also be topped with many different condiments, from guacamole, traditional lettuce and onions to coleslaw. Craft your own special burger by adding oozing cheese or fiery chilies. You could even substitute the meat patty with a huge Portobello mushroom if you are vegetarian. Hungry for a bite yet?