THE AUSSIE BURGER
- Fried egg Sunny Side Up
- Pickled beets
- Grilled pineapple
- Chili mayonnaise
- Red onions
- 6oz. beef patty
- Toasted sesame seed bun
This week’s installment of Guangzhou Grub, “The Third of Its Name”, brings us to the bustling bar scene of Guangzhou’s Zhujiang New Town area where the quest for the best burgers in China continues with The Brew which boasts to be “… the only bar in China that features over 15 flavourful burgers from around the world …” that “[m]ight be just the best in China!“. With three locations in good ole Guangzhou and clear intent to eventually spread its Canadian-American sport bar goodness across the entirety of China, The Brew is a staple in the repertoire of Western bars that offers everything but the kitchen sink on its menu. I, however, don’t care about the “everything” bit as long as there are decent selection of burgers, which are a proud feature of The Brew’s menu and do indeed cover quite a lot of worldwide culinary variations ranging from the 50RMB Le Royale (58 RMB for a Le Royal with Cheese) to The Double Header W/ Cheese for 75RMB. Mango chutney, wasabi mayonnaise, guacamole, tzatziki sauce and other ingredients add a lot of life to the otherwise quite simple Lettuce-Tomato-Onion burgers. I opted in for The Aussie Burger which has the most ingredients and is definitely the most interesting of the bunch. Prepared in traditional Australian fashion, the AB had quite a lot to offer, including the fried egg which is all the rage in the States. The lack of a runny yolk, however, was a bit disappointing, and I just knew that my egg wasn’t going to be runny when they served me my Aussie Burger with a damned “toothpick” through it. If you’re going through the trouble to add an egg to a burger, it needs to be prepared over easy so the first bite gets the yolk all over the meat and vegetables. And don’t give me a toothpick to hold the burger in place, because I’m not a little kid and know that a burger needs to be 1) grabbed with both hands 2) held together with both hands until devoured. A burger is a burger, not a salad or whatever.
Look at the image above.
See the hairy-chested Australian man about to pummel the flowery Yeti like it’s just a pack of baby-eating dingoes?
Sure, it’s not very sportsmanlike or civil, but it’s just like my mantra of eating burgers:
MIGHT OVER MANNER
A burger needs to be messy, and the egg needs to provide a layered flavor – a well cooked sunny side up egg has a lot of boring egg whites all around, so that’s not eggceptable. I’ve yet to see a runny egg in China, though, so it may be a precautionary or regional thing, similar to how some places won’t cook your meat medium rare. Still. The grilled pineapple and pickled beets worked quite well together, I must say, and it was my first time enjoying both ingredients together on a burger. I’m not 100% if the pineapple slice was from a can or not (or if it was actually grilled at all), but the slight acidity meshed well with the crisp and tender earthy flavor of the beets. It was hard to tell where the pineapple began or the beet ended, which is a good thing, and I tip my hat to the boys from Down Under for making this combo popular. Additionally, the chili mayonnaise really added that much needed spice to the burger – it was definitely on the sweeter side which is probably because of the sweet variety of Japanese mayo so popular in China, and I couldn’t help but associate the flavor with 1000 Island dressing, because there was definitely a hint of ketchup or some sweet Sriracha equivalent in the mix. The pungency of the red onions helped, and the tomato added to the hint of ketchup. And, despite all the ingredients, the 100% U.S. beef patty managed to shine even though it was on the smaller side. The beef is undoubtedly good and just barely flavored with some salt and maybe black pepper, and every bite of The Aussie Burger reiterated the fact that I was eating a juicy burger and not some fruity salad on a bun.
Overall, The Aussie Burger was a hit, but mostly because of the variation and not necessarily because of the execution.
I would crank it up a notch and definitely do a runny, over easy egg on top, and I would make sure to grill that slice of pineapple together with the beef patty and get it nice and charred on the edges. Have the juices add to the flavor and tenderize the meat a wee bit. Maybe make the chili mayo slightly more chili and less mayo?
Speaking of chili, one of the first Chinese words/phrases that I mastered out of necessity and due to frequency of usage was là jiāo (辣椒) which means “hot pepper, chili“. The thick, chili pepper paste mixed with sesame seed and chili oil are simply phenomenal and make the already delicious noodle soup that much better, so knowing how to ask for it or when you’re being asked if you want some was pretty high on my list of things to learn. And now you can even almost, semi-quasi sort of say in a pinch that you think the The Red Hot Chili Peppers are an overrated band! See? You’re already learning so much from this blog. Please share this article with all your friends. Knowledge is power, yada, yada…
Annnd BOOM (after a brief tangent) – a recipe for an amazing, top notch burger.