Bangkok Burger Company
Burgers, hamburgers, a hamburger sandwich – whatever you want to call it – there is no denying that this ubiquitous sandwich made with a patty of ground or minced beef and served between two pieces of bread is probably the world’s most popular snack. To give an indication of its popularity, as of 2010 McDonald’s had served 245 billion of them and the travelchannel.com estimates over 35 million burgers are consumed each day.
Although controversy reigns over who invented the first hamburger sandwich, there is no denying its popularity with Americans, who, according to The Economist, consume an average of three per‑person every week.
Although Americans consider the burger a part of their culinary heritage, Bangkok Burger Co. (BBC) regards it as a food style without nationality and is determined to prove its culinary diversity by showing the world what a gourmet burger is capable of achieving. BBC surveyed the local market in the hopes of finding the burger preferences of both Thais and westerners. Initial results showed Thai customers preferred their burgers cooked on a flat griddle fast food style, but BBC soon realized they had incorrectly read the market. Thai customers, like their international counterparts, enjoy those charred crunchy bits that give burgers taste and texture so the company changed to flame grilling over charcoal.
The next question to be addressed was what meat to include in the patty. While using the best meat was a priority, a burger needs the right level of fat for taste and to keep the meat moist. To be 100% sure of what went into the patty, the meat had to be ground in house. They chose a blend of Australian rib-eye for fat content and aged Wagyu sirloin for body and texture. In addition, in keeping with Thai taste, they season the meat with herbs and spices.
Having decided on meat preference, BBC next decided to go upscale on its bun selections. Their buns are baked according to customized recipes by the same baker who supplies Villa and Gourmet Market. There are three selections, all baked with organic flour: focaccia. the classic toasted sesame bun, and a whole wheat bun containing flaked oats.
The fries are imported frozen from McCain and cut from whole russet potatoes. The choices include unpeeled chunky home style Steakhouse fries or curly fries prepared with a blend of seasonings reminiscent of spicing popular in the southern part of the United States.
Thinking that they had the gourmet burger they wanted in August 2011, the company opened their first branch on Soi Thonglor at Soi 10. “This was an experiment to develop a brand,” says Jim Moroney, Operations Director of Graze Concepts, a team of former hoteliers managing the brand. “Our objective from the start has been to create Bangkok’s first gourmet burger.”
As we sat down at the table, Chaiyun Nathomtong the company’s Training Manager explains to us, “The concept of starters and main courses would confuse the service. We serve Thai style. The food comes to the table when its cooked; our customers are hungry and want to share.”
The first item to arrive at our table was an order of Buffalo chicken wings, an improbable, but wildly popular combination of spicy bbq chicken wings served with blue cheese dressing and celery. “We toned down the cheese in the dressing a bit and shredded the celery for our Thai customers,” Chaiyun explains.
Then came our first burger, The NYC, a beef patty with a massive stack of crispy bacon, spicy guacamole, sun-dried tomatoes, mayo and rocket salad. Possibly too tall to squeeze between finger and thumb, it was best eaten with knife and fork, which some may scorn as ‘non-American activity’ – but whatever. The meat was perfectly cooked, still juicy with plenty of texture and a lingering touch of spice in the aftertaste. “We have spiced up the guacamole with chili, shallots and coriander for a touch of Thai flavor,” Chaiyun reveals.
The Big Boss arrived next, proudly flying the Thai flag, with crispy bacon, cheddar cheese, a jumbo onion ring and home made BBQ sauce accompanying the beef patty. This burger, I decided, had every right to a gourmet prefix. The flavoring was complex, but each ingredient could be clearly identified.
My burger trilogy was completed by La Lucha Libre, a combination of beef patty, crispy bacon, spicy guacamole, jalapeños, nacho chips, cheddar cheese and sour cream with a salsa side order. “This burger is very popular with Thai customers as we fine tuned it to their taste,” says Chaiyun.
“Since opening the Thonglor branch,” Chaiyun continues, “we have opened in Mega Bangna and very recently in Saladaeng and at Laguna Phuket where we now have mini outlet with a reduced menu of 10 burgers. In addition in Bangkok we have a mobile catering unit we affectionately call the burger bus for outside catering for concerts and sports events. We will soon have a second burger bus in Phuket.”
“We grind our meats and make all of our sauces fresh daily,” Chaiyun gushes. “Our monthly meat consumption has now reached two tons. Our burgers are delivered in three styles to residents near our various outlets. Our prices are net, with no additional vat or service charges.”
As you can see, Bangkok Burger Co. is serious about their burgers. Try one to discover why; they are seriously delicious.