Cheap & Good

Burgers to beat

The Ayam Buah Keluak burger from Hambaobao. -- ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN
The Ayam Buah Keluak burger from Hambaobao. -- ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSINST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN

Sometimes, all I want is a hearty burger. But many options nowadays are either too dry or soggy and are way overpriced.

So my go-to place has been burger stall Hambaobao (Chinese for burger) in Beauty World Centre, which opened last September.

The menu is simple, with a choice of five burgers that cost no more than $5 each.

Too cheap to be good? Young owners Ryan Wee, 25, and Clare Ng, 22, will prove you wrong.

Traditionalists can go for The Classic Beef ($4.50), with a juicy beef patty, lettuce, caramelised onions and cheese; or That Dory Fish ($5), with a dory fillet, zucchini and homemade tartar sauce.

But why stay safe when you can have those with an Asian twist? These include the Crispy Pork Belly ($4.50), with crispy crackling and fatty belly; and the Spiced Pull Pork ($5) with homemade coleslaw.

Or go for the most unusual option on the menu - the Ayam Buah Keluak ($5). The burger's patty includes minced chicken, buah keluak (Indonesian black nut) and homemade rempah (a spice paste). It comes with chap chye or Nonya vegetable stew.

I applaud the smart move to balance out the flavours - the slightly spicy patty remains juicy from the chap chye gravy, while the vegetables add a nice crunch to the burger.

My only quibble: Buns that are more well-toasted would be good.

Don't forget to add a side of their must-have hand-cut Fairy Fries ($1 with a burger, or $1.50 a la carte). They are fried only upon order and are oh so addictive.

Given the winning menu so far, I'm looking forward to seeing more banging burgers from Hambaobao. How about a vegetarian option for starters?