The Humble Hamburger Getting a More Authentic Ethnic Makeover

The Humble Hamburger Getting a More Authentic Ethnic Makeover

Food & Drink

The Humble Hamburger Getting a More Authentic Ethnic Makeover


By Cari Martens

Restaurants have long tried to add creative ethnic touches to the traditional hamburger. Add a few jalapenos and salsa and you have a Mexi-Burger, señor. Or top with mozzarella and marinara to create an Italian pizza burger.

But today there’s a burger trend that delves a little deeper, goes a bit more authentic, as reported by Peter Romeo in a story for Nation’s Restaurant News. Some market newcomers are applying a more emphatic ethnic touch, he says, that goes beyond the condiments and garnish.

Some examples:

The signature Mexican burger at Burguesa Burger, called La Monumental, is garnished with ham, rather than bacon, as a burger often is in Central and South America. It features two beef patties, two slices of cheese, ham, avocado, lettuce, tomato, onion, refried beans, crunchy tostada, and special creamy sauce on a sesame seed bun, crowned with a whole jalapeno pepper.

The Counter gourmet burger chain offers a Kung Pao Shrimp Burger consisting of grilled shrimp in a spicy sauce on a bun.

Celeb chef Cat Cora recently unveiled a Greek burger, which is made from lamb and adds feta cheese. You can find it at Kouzzina on Disney’s Boardwalk in Orlando, Fla., menued as the Char-grilled Lamb Burger, selling for $15.99 served with sweet potato fries.

In the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights, Ill., Gabutto Burger sells 16 different Japanese-style burgers. Most are made with a combination beef/pork pattie mixed with breadcrumbs. Prices range from $3.65 to $4.45.

In New York City’s West Village, the hip crowd can chow down on a burger at New York Hot Dog & Coffee that’s made with bugogi, the marinated beef often used in Korean cooking.

The Phillipines-based Jollibee chain now serves a sweet-tasting Heavyweight Yumburger and an Amazing Aloha burger.

‘No one wants to menu a plain hamburger anymore,’ says Jack Li, relevance strategist for the foodservice research firm Datassentials, quoted in the NRN article. ‘The pressure is to be more upscale, more unique. You want to put on something different, something very expensive, or something ethnic. It’s all part of the same trend,’ he says.

Well, I don’t know… all these sound good, but so does a basic American ground beef burger with mustard, pickles, lettuce and tomatoes. When’s lunch?

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