Diners now have a wider choice of burgers than ever before. Once regarded as fast food, the classic burger has been elevated to gourmet heights with wagyu beef burgers gaining popularity here around 2005.
Today, wagyu beef burgers still have their place in the burger scene, with places like the Atrium at Pan Pacific Singapore offering specially sourced wagyu beef.
But there has also been a shift towards burgers which do not contain beef and are made with fresh and sustainable ingredients to cater to vegetarians and customers who want to minimise their meat consumption.
Grand Hyatt Singapore, for example, introduced burgers at its restaurant Mezza9 which features plant-based Beyond Burger patties last month.
The Beyond Burger patties are from Beyond Meat, a Los Angeles-based producer of plant-based meat substitutes. The patties look, taste and are cooked in a similar manner to meat patties, but are primarily made from peas.
More than 3,000 burgers made with the patties were sold during a three-day promotion last month. The burgers were priced at $10 and sold at a food truck parked in front of the hotel.
At Mo & Jo Sourdough Burgers, which opened in July in Greenwood Avenue, diners can also opt for burgers without meat.
Owner Dean Brettschneider, 49, who also founded artisan bakery Baker & Cook, says: "We believe that burgers should be enjoyed by all, whether you're a meat eater or prefer a vegetarian option."
The burger joint, which uses Australian grain-fed beef for its beef patties, has a vegetarian option - the Goddess burger, made with a beetroot and quinoa patty.
The idea for the burger came about when a staff member of Baker & Cook made it for a staff Christmas party.
There is also the Barra burger, which features Australian-farmed barramundi.
Three Buns, which serves gourmet burgers and crafted cocktails, has the Truffello burger - a portobello mushroom burger.
Executive chef Adam Penney, 44, says that the Truffello came about due to requests from customers for a vegetarian mushroom burger.
He adds: "A vegetable burger can be just as satisfying."
Those who are on meat-free diets can also get their burger fix at VeganBurg, which opened its first outlet here in 2010 and a second outlet in San Francisco in 2015. Founder Alex Tan, 45, started the vegan burger joint to break the stereotype of burgers and promote a plant-based diet.
Analyst Neo Hong Xuan, 26, who eats burgers two to three times a week, prefers meat patties in his burger but welcomes eateries which serve burgers not made from beef.
"I have friends who do not eat beef, so we seldom have meals together as I like my burgers. Burger joints which offer fish or vegetable-based options mean I can dine with my friends."
Fans of meat patties also have more choices in terms of variety.
Pan Pacific Singapore's executive chef Michele Greggio, 43, says he is seeing more variations of burgers as dining establishments incorporate more innovative flavours in recent years.
Earlier this year, the hotel ran a Surf & Turf Burger promotion which combined seafood like Boston lobster with wagyu beef. Its current promotion is burgers made from Hida Wagyu beef, which is valued for its marbling.
To cater to a wider audience, chefs spruced up the burgers with a variety of flavours, such as nonya, Japanese and Pacific styles of burgers.
The burger scene here will also see the entry of American chain Fatburger, which uses only chilled patties.
Restaurant management company Deelish Brands is the master franchisee and will be opening two Fatburger outlets, one at Kinex (formerly OneKM Mall) on Sept 13 and another at Velocity@Novena later this month.
Chief executive of Deelish Brands, Mr Mohamed Ibrahim, 43, says of the burger scene in Singapore: "We are on the cusp of a burger renaissance. Twenty years ago, burgers were regarded as a fast food item. Now, there is a shift towards freshness. More people are becoming selective in what they eat."
Mr Penney says: "Greasy burgers are still going to have a place in most markets as a quick fix. But as more customers understand more about food, they are choosing more freshly made options."
Freshly baked sourdough buns
What: Mo & Jo Sourdough Burgers, which opened in Greenwood Avenue in July, is all about freshly baked sourdough buns and wholesome ingredients. Relishes, chutneys, pickles, mayo and other sauces are made in-house.
Diners get three choices of buns: sourdough, soy and linseed, and gluten-free. Beef patties are made from Australian grain-fed beef, with 80 per cent chuck and 20 per cent knuckle beef. The Holy Smoke ($19) has a beef patty, smoked bacon, caramelised onion, house mayo and house barbecue sauce.
There are non-beef options too. The Barra ($20) features grilled Australian Kuhlbarra Kimberley barramundi with lemon. There is also the Goddess ($18) which has a beetroot and quinoa patty, crumbled feta with house mayo and tomato relish.
Where: Mo & Jo Sourdough Burgers, 8 Greenwood Avenue
Open: Noon to 3pm and 5 to 10pm (Tuesdays to Fridays); 8am to 10pm (weekends and public holidays); closed on Mondays
Info: For more information, go to moandjoburgers.com
Mezza9 serves up two burgers made with Beyond Burger, a plant-based, gluten-free and soy-free burger patty made by California-based producer of plant-based meat substitutes, Beyond Meat.
The Classic Cheese Burger has the patty in a brioche bun, vegan cheddar, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickled gherkin, vegan mayo and mustard.
The Modern Asian Burger is made with a corn bun, Asian slaw, avocado, furikake, sriracha, pickled daikon and ginger, and wasabi mayo.
Each burger is served as a set at $25++ and comes with a side dish. There are four side dishes to choose from: fries, crispy organic cauliflower, steamed organic broccoli or a rice bowl with grain and herbs.
Diners can also choose to have the burger as a set at $35++ with either a kombucha or a craft beer. The set includes fairtrade dark chocolate and an organic beetroot vegan brownie.
Where: Mezza9 at Grand Hyatt Singapore, 10 Scotts Road
Open: Lunch is served from noon to 3pm (Mondays to Saturdays); Dinner is from 6 to 10.30pm (Sundays to Thursdays) and 6 to 11pm (Fridays and Saturdays)
Info: For reservations, call 6732-1234 or go to www.mezza9.com.sg
Hida Wagyu beef burgers
Burgers made with Hida Wagyu beef, known for its marbling and tenderness, take centre stage.
The beef comes from black-haired Japanese cattle raised in the Gifu prefecture.
For a local twist, try the Nyonya Hida Wagyu Beef Burger, which features a patty infused with spices, grilled pineapple, braised mushroom and cheddar cheese, complete with lemongrass turmeric buns.
There is also the Japanese Hida Wagyu Beef Burger served with wasabi mayonnaise and pickled daikon. The Pacific Wagyu Beef Burger is packed with bacon strips and eggplant cooked into caponata tucked in between charcoal buns.
Each burger set, served with crispy potato bravas and a garden salad, is priced at $35++.
Those dining in groups of four to six can take on the 12-inch Beastly Burger ($190, right), which contains a 1.2kg Hida Wagyu beef patty sitting on a bed of lettuce, zucchini and tomatoes.
Orders for the Beastly Burger must be made 24 hours in advance.
Where: Available from Oct 1 to Nov 30 at Atrium and Pacific Marketplace (Level 1), Pan Pacific Singapore, 7 Raffles Boulevard
Open: Burgers are available from 11am to 10pm. Atrium is open from 11 to 1am (Sundays to Thurdays) and 11 to 2am (Fridays to Saturdays).
Info: For dining reservations and inquiries, call 6826-8240 or e-mail email@example.com
Artisan buns and slow-cooked sauces
What: Three Buns, which recently opened a new outlet at Robertson Quay, has a line-up of new burgers on its menu, which includes the Red Man Burger ($28++).
Get a taste of beef rendang in this burger, which is made with beef cheeks cooked sous vide for 24 hours in a marinade concocted with more than 10 ingredients.
The marinade itself is slow-cooked for two hours. The burger also features handmade virgin coconut mayo and fluffy coconut buns.
The Bun DMC ($16++) is inspired by the burgers that executive chef Adam Penney had as a child. The burger features watermelon rind relish, Three Buns's own blend of mayo, with caraway, ketchup and a hint of sriracha. For a meat-free option, there is the Truffello ($15++) made of twice-cooked portobello mushroom, miso and garlic butter, truffle aioli, coleslaw, lettuce and smoked cheese in a toasted demi brioche bun.
Where: Three Buns Quayside, 60 Robertson Quay, 01-01
Opening hours: 5pm to midnight (Tuesdays to Fridays); 11am to midnight (Saturdays and Sundays); closed on Mondays
Thick juicy burgers
Expect patties made from chilled, not frozen, Australian grass-fed beef at two upcoming outlets of American fast casual chain Fatburger. The first outlet at Kinex (formerly named OneKM mall) is scheduled to open on Sept 13 and its second outlet at Velocity@Novena in the later part of the month. Diners get a choice of brioche, wholemeal and gluten-free buns. The Original Fatburger ($7.90) comes with a 130g beef patty with mayo, letttuce, tomato, pickles, onions, relish and mustard. Those feeling adventurous can go for the Quad Fatburger ($15.90) which comes with four beef patties. For a bun-free option, go for the Skinnyburger ($7.50), which is similar to the Original Fatburger, but without the bun. Add-ons such as cheese, egg, beef bacon, chilli and onion rings are available at additional cost.
Where: Fatburger at 01-70/71/72 Kinex, 11 Tanjong Katong Road, Opening on Sept 13
Open: 10am to 10pm (daily)
VeganBurg is a plant-based burger joint that serves meat-free burgers like the Creamy Shrooms ($8.90), which has a vegan patty on lettuce, dairy-free cream sauce and topped with fresh button mushrooms.
Smoky BBQ ($10.90) has a mushroom patty, vegan cheese with layers of lettuce, onion, tomato and pickles topped with a creamy vegan aioli. There is an option to add bacon ($2), which is made using soy protein, wheat and a mixture of hickory smoked salt, sugar and paprika.
VeganBurg is also introducing its Curry DhalBurg ($11.90), which will be available for delivery and pick-up through orders made on veganburg.oddle.me from Sept 24 for a week before it is launched in-store on Oct 1.
Where: VeganBurg, 44 Jalan Eunos
Open: 11.30am to 10pm (Mondays to Sundays and public holidays)
Info: For more information, go to veganburg.com