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Pan de Sal Burger

Diner E’s home-made Pan de Sal Burger – Valerio’s Tropical Bakery Pan de Sal “bun” (roll), Cheese, May’s Seasoned Patty, B.F. Mayo’, Sliced Cabbage (not lettuce) and Heinz Ketchup

Any true burger connoisseur will agree the bun is just as crucial as the patty and toppings in determining how good or bad a burger turns out. Which is common sense, as in most cases, the bun usually has more cubic volume than everything in between it. Unless of course you’re talking about one of those insanely extreme ‘Quadruple Bypass Burgers’ from Heart Attack Grill!

Obviously in the realm of extreme, when I first heard of the Krispy Kreme Burger, I for one was confident it would work – at least on paper – as I find the marriage of savory and sweet a compelling culinary path to follow. And its been done for ages now, from foods such as Charsiu pork, to Orange Chicken, Honey-Glazed Ham, and of course, Teriyaki Beef. All of which the sweetness is subtle yet present enough to compliment the savory meats and really enhance their flavor.

While not as extreme as a burger sandwiched between a sugar-glazed doughnut, yet equally a new and interesting twist as far as I’ve ever seen, behold the Pan de Sal Burger, which Diner E busted out for home lunch today. What a novel idea!

Diner E mentioned he first heard of a Pan de Sal Burger when he visited the Philippines a few years ago, where he tried one from a roadside cart called Burger Machine. Apparently these Burger Machine carts are propagated throughout the P.I.. Here’s a Burger Machine TV commercial posted on YouTube (there’s many more within that link)…


Pan de Sal is a popular bread roll found throughout the Philippines, which you’ll find at all Filipino Bakeries here on Oahu. In this case, the Pan de Sal is from Valerio’s Tropical Bake Shop in Waipahu (there’s also a location in Kalihi on King street), which Diner E notes that if you make this burger, insist the Pan de Sal is from there. Valerio’s Pan de Sal are large enough to serve as a hamburger bun when sliced horizontally across, and also have the perfect balance of density, texture, and most notably, it’s subtle salty-sweet flavor profile.

Here’s a look at Diner E’s Pan de Sal Burger, deconstructed…

Diner E’s home-made Pan de Sal Burger – Valerio’s Tropical Bakery Pan de Sal “bun” (roll), Cheese, May’s Seasoned Patty, B.F. Mayo’, Sliced Cabbage (not lettuce) and Heinz Ketchup

Valerio’s Pan de Sal “bun”? Check. Pan-fried May’s Seasoned Hamburger Patty? Check. Melted American Cheese? Check. Dollop of Best Food’s Mayonnaise? Check. Ketchup? Check. Sliced Cabbage? Che…. Wait, whuh? Slice CABBAGE did you say?

Yes my friends, sliced cabbage. Diner E explained that one of the best local style Teri Burgers he’s ever had was from the now gone Omiya’s in Aiea, who served their burgers with cabbage instead of lettuce. Which makes total sense! How many times have I been frustrated having a burger that’s been sitting in its wrapper for more than a half-hour, where by the time it reaches my mouth, the lettuce is wilted, lifeless, and taste as good as gardening compost. No thanks.

Cabbage is a much more stable green that tastes just as good crispy fresh as it does when softened by heat. Corned Beef and Cabbage is a perfect example of that, as are just about every Chinese stir-fry dish out there.

And you know what? The combination of the the fresh sliced cabbage ‘n mayo, ketchup, along with the salty-sweet and dense Pan de Sal “bun” and basic pan-fried May’s Teri burger patty absolutely ROCKS! OMG, this burger so rocks. Masarap!

Here’s a bite-through view, where you can see how the Pan de Sal easily has enough integrity and density to support all the burger goodness in between it…

Having a big bite of the Pan de Sal Burger… Masarap!

Take notice that Diner E slathered the Best Food’s Mayo’ on the burger patty, right under the bed of sliced cabbage, versus on the bun. This allows the mayo’ to infuse with and coat the sliced cabbage, almost turning it into a simplified coleslaw. Genius!

Diner E gave me a generous slice to try of his home-made Pan de Sal burger, and all I have to say is it’s a WINNAH! 4 SPAM Musubi as is. Gauranz’ would be 5 if had a home-made top-quality beef patty that was char-grilled on the hibachi.

Salamat po Diner E (and Burger Machine) for this novel burger concept!


While we’re talkin’ burgers (one of my favorite topics), today must have been “burger day”, as Diner A also had da’ “ono’s” for one, so he headed on over to the neighborhood Jack in the Box to try their currently advertised ‘Bonus Jack’.

Actually not just one, but two burgers-in-1, ala the Big Mac. According to a few fast food burger critics out there, in terms of flavor, Jack in the Box’s ‘Bonus Jack’ is far superior to the godfather of the concept, McDonald’s Big Mac.

Well, let’s see…

Image courtesy of JackintheBox.com

Note that the promotional price in Hawaii for this deal is $4.99, not the nationally advertised price here of $3.99.

Of course, the food you get from a fast food joint almost NEVER looks nearly as pretty as how they’re SUPPOSED to look as presented by professional food stylists in their print and TV advertisements. Case in point, the real deal, as Diner received his from the drive-through window…

Jack in the Box ‘Bonus Jack’

One feature clearly missing on the Bonus Jack in comparison to the Big Mac is the Sesame Seed Bun. From there, the construction looks very similar, as seen by this bite-through view of the Bonus Jack…

A bite of Jack in the Box’s ‘Bonus Jack’

Actually, quite honestly, I don’t think I’ve had a Big Mac since high school, so who am I to compare? lol Well, I still remember quite a bit about it, so I’ll just go off that. Besides, I didn’t eat this Bonus Jack burger anyhow, Diner A did. Yet I gotta’ admit, based on his positive reaction, I’m tempted to try one myself!

Remember earlier we were emphasizing the importance of a good BUN, and Jack in the Box got it covered with the Bonus Jack, TOASTING each and every inside part of the bottom, “saddle” (middle) and top part….

Jack in the Box ‘Bonus Jack’ – showing off the toasted buns

Diner A also notes that the “special sauce” in the ‘Bonus Jack’ is a little deeper in tomato flavor than the more “Thousand Island’ish” Special Sauce™ in the Big Mac.

Most importantly, and contrary to the emphasis placed earlier on the buns, Diner A noted that Jack in the Box beef burger patty is far superior in flavor, texture and size to that included in the Big Mac from McDonald’s. Anyone care to comment on that? lol

The current ad promotion includes a small drink and natural cut fries, but he swapped out for a medium drink and curly fries instead for a slightly higher price…

Jack in the Box’s ‘Bonus Jack’ with Seasoned Curly Fries (and House Buttermilk Dressing!)

Main thing the burger’s got a sliced dill pickle in there. A must as far as I’m concerned.

Summing up the ‘Bonus Jack’, Diner A really enjoyed it. So much that he quickly polished off this one, mentioning he could go for another right away. Wow, I’m sold!


Continuing on with “Burger Fever”, here we have a couple more, this time from Forty Niner Restaurant in Aiea…

Forty Niner Restaurant – Double Cheeseburger, $5.25

Forty Niner Restaurant – Egg Burger, $3.45

Those were from Diner A and family, who visited Forty Niner Restaurant this past weekend. These were ordered by his two sons, who he said they both WHACKED ‘EM, so I’ll take the liberty myself of giving them both a good 3-SPAM Musubi rating. The prices sure are great.


Finally, from Asahi Grill – Kapiolani Coffee Shop’s sister location on Ward Avenue – we have this SUPAH’ ONO Hamburger Steak Plate…

Asahi Grill – Hamburger Steak Plate

Whoah man, da’ gravy on dis’ buggah’ was KILLAHZ, cuz! Thick, deep, meaty-savory, stick-to-your-ribs onolicious. The two hand-made beef patties were nicely charred as well, adding mo’ flavah to da’ party….

Asahi Grill – Hamburger Steak

What’s interesting to note is that instead of the usual way of putting grilled, caramelized onions ON the dish over the gravy, the onions are instead diced and sauteed, then mixed into the ground beef before cooking. That really helped punch out the flavor of the burger patty after it was cooked. Winnahz!

Their Mac Salad was also perfect. Cool, creamy and simple, with plenty just enough salt. Jussss’ right.


Whew, all this talk about burgers is making me crave one right about now!


13 thoughts on “Pan de Sal Burger

  • October 8, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    Okay..you just gave me a good idea!

    I’m going to buy some Pan De Sal tomorrow and make burgers w/ them (including the cabbage)!!

    That looks so good!

  • October 8, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    Pomai you need to check out Nandings bakery in Waipahu they make fresh pandesal they are sooooo good..

  • October 8, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    OK! I had to let you know that the Mays Patty was not Teriyaki but the regular seasoned patty. but the Teri sounds good to. Remember I told I had an idea about adding coleslaw to a burger well its been done, After reading a blog about Burger Machine in PI. I remembered why I like the burgers at Burger Machine, because they served their burgers with coleslaw and Banana ketchup its called a Bart Burger…also read they served a roast beef and Longanisa Burger…Wife is going this November wonder if she can bring back some burgers…Oh, I did not spam musubi rate my burger cause I might give myself a 5 spamer LOL!!!!

  • October 9, 2009 at 6:19 am

    What an awesome idea! I love the Pan de Sal and cabbage idea. I’ve been buying sesame buns for my stuffed cheeseburgers but I’m going to pick up some pan de sal and cabbage the next time I make burgers. We have a Valerio’s here in San Diego but I don’t know if they are related to the ones on Oahu.

  • October 9, 2009 at 7:52 am

    Those burgers looked pretty good!

    But then I clicked on the Krispy Kreme burger link. The photos and description, they make me queasy. Bleagh. I should hang a photo of that in my office as a diet aid.

  • October 9, 2009 at 9:12 am

    On Monday I’ll be going to “Town” in Kaimuki, and I’ll make sure one of gets a burger to compare. Hope my pics turn out good.

    I think I need to get a decent SLR. what do you use Pomai?

  • October 9, 2009 at 10:46 am

    I like the use of cabbage instead of lettuce, too! I also don’t like warm wimpy lettuce in my burgers.

    I have to go and try the Bonus Jack – look so ono, especially w/ curly fries! Getting hungry again….time for a break.

  • October 9, 2009 at 11:42 am

    Pomai, in past entry way back you said something about Carl Jr. Teriyaki Burger with Pineapple. Well I went out and got one. Boy it no way like on Hawaii Teriyaki Burger at all. It was Haole Teriyaki Burger plain and simple. Ate a lot of Jack In The Box when in college enjoyed it and the prices not bad at all.

  • October 10, 2009 at 1:52 am

    LOL, I want to “get it all” too! That ad. is hilarious.
    I’ve only recently discovered pan de sal. Never really imagined eating it with burger meat though. Looks good! Is there a large Filipino community over there?

    Hello from California!

  • October 10, 2009 at 8:37 am

    hungryhuy, indeed, that commercial is a riot. So are some of the other ones by Burger Machine.

    There’s a Velario’s Bakery in Cali’. They don’t call theirs ‘Tropical Bakery’, but I believe it’s the same company as the one here.

    Being a “melting pot” in the middle of the pacific, Hawaii’s Filipino community is HUGE. Huge. On Oahu in the towns of Waipahu and Kalihi, you can’t look left or right without seeing someone Filipino. In fact, you can’t look left or right ANYWHERE here without seeing someone from just about every race on the planet.

    Honolulu has a yearly event called the Filipino Fiesta, A Filipino Community Center (in Waipahu of course), and not to ruffle any feathers, but even the late Philippines president Ferdinand Marcos had exiled to Hawaii and died here, and for a period of time, was entombed in a Mausoleum on the windward side of Oahu.

    Betty, I don’t remember mentioning Carl’s Jr., and have never eaten there before, but The Shack offers a Teriyaki Burger with a grilled Pineapple Ring in it, which quite good, actually. Not my favorite style of burger, but FWIW, I’m down with it.

    Deanna and CAB, next time you make your burgers, do try the sliced cabbage. I’m positive you’ll be sold on it. I mean lettuce is great, as long as it’s crispy-green ‘n fresh, but for long-term service and just an interesting twist on having my greens with my burger, I’ll take cabbage over lettuce any day now that I know how good it is!

    Tony, oh, you were talking about this coming Monday. I thought you were rescheduled for this PAST Monday. As for camera, nah, no DSLR. Too bulky and “hassles” for food blogging purpose. Even what I’m using now is actually too bulky, but so far I’m happy with the shots I’m getting out of it, which would be a Sony DSC-H5 Cyber-shot Super-Zoom still camera.

    I really should get myself a Canon G model (G7-11), which is the high end of Canon’s point & shoot line-up. Built like a tank, has a larger CCD than most point ‘n shoots, takes great shots throughout its range, including macros, and has great light metering in dark situations. Most importantly it’s compact. I miss having a camera that’s small enough to fit in my pocket. Although I’m used to it now, lugging around a camera bag can become burden, especially when you’re sitting down in a restaurant where table space is limited. In a perfect Digital Cam’ world, I’d have a Canon or Nikon DSLR for all other purposes of photography, and a Canon G model for food blogging. Yet I’m happy with my do-it-all Sony P&S zoomer for now.

    Spotty, lol. Yup, them Krispy Kreme burgers sure do look nasty, but from what I’ve read on folks who’ve tasted it, they really like the combination of savory-sweet flavors it offers. In fact, there’s some MLB stadium on the mainland that now sells Krispy Kreme Burgers at their concessions.

    What nobody here has tried yet is a MALASADA BURGER (using a Malasada as a bun). Ahhhh-ha!

    Ooooohhhh-nooooo, it’s Simon Kaukau! Wassup Diner E. I corrected the May’s patty error. Hopefully Diner CR can get some photos of a Burger Machine stand. That’d be great. A Longanisa burger, eh? Now that sounds interesting! So does the BART Burger with the coleslaw and banana ketchup. Next time you make a Pan de Sal Burger, try using Banana Ketchup instead of Heinz. I’d like to try that. But hey, you gotta’ admit, your Pan de Sal burger was worthy of some big SPAM Musubi points. Winnahz!

    Keanu, I’ve tried the Spanish Rolls from Nanding’s Bakery. Ono! I’m sure their Pan de Sal is good too. I think I had some, but I forget. Fortunately there’s a Velario’s Bakery in Kalihi, which as you know is much more convenient for me.

    Alicia, looking forward to how your Pan de Sal Burgers turned out. Keep us posted!

    Howzit Raph’!

  • October 10, 2009 at 10:34 am

    Pomai, are you trying to scare us just because Halloween not far away with the Malasada Bun Ideal? I see Car Jr Ad and no way I go for teriyaki burger with pineapple. Trying at home and did not agree with me at all.

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