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…
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…
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…
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…
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….
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…
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 – 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…
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….
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!