Ramen Burger vs. Saimin Burger?
If you’re a regular reader of the Honolulu Star Advertiser, you probably read the “scoops” by Erika Engle this past week about L&L facing legal action over an eMail L&L had circulated that contained a video clip of Jeff Shimamoto promoting his brother Keizo’s now nationally-famous Ramen Burger on Hawaii News Now’s “Sunrise” program. Being that Jeff-San is an attorney, he decided to file a lawsuit against L&L for the “personal misappropriation of his likeness by L&L to promote its own product”. Ehem, cough-cough.
What I found particularly interesting (or of non-interest) in the article, is there was no mention about the Tanaka Saimin Burger (read the comments in that post for some VERY interesting stuff about Yours Truly), which came WAY before L&L jumped on the concept, or let alone, Keizo-San “inventing” (marketing) the Ramen Burger.
That said, the case ended up being dropped by the interested parties, so that’s that on that. There’s lawsuits waiting to happen all over the internet, which we’ll see what and who’s involved next. Heh.
Moving along to the immediate subject at hand, we have L&L Hawaiian Barbecue’s take on the Saimin Burger…
Notice the choice for your L&L Saimin Burger of either BBQ chicken (not ground), a “Ham” Patty, which really should be straightforward by saying it’s a hamburger patty (if hardly true as you’ll find out later), and Teri’ (yaki) steak. Oh man, I so bet the Teri’ Steak version of the Saimin “Burger” would rock!
Yet, being the purist that I am when it comes to burgers, it’s all about 100% ground BEEF, baby. Or is it? We shall soon find out.
So I got my L&L Saimin Burger from the Iwilei L&L Hawaiian Barbecue location, in the same parking lot where Costco is, right next door to Quiznos….
A quick 5 minute walk back to the office, and voila…
Open it up… oooooohhhh….. ahhhhhhhh……
Let’s get in for a close inspection…
The Saimin “bun” with the teriyaki sauce slathered all over it looks MONEY…
Further into the deconstruction, the “hamburger patty” has nice “crustification” (as Guy Fieri would say), while the chopped green onions surely adds a nice saimin-like touch…
You know The Tasty Island rules, gotta’ get the cross-cut shot…
If you’re wondering how big it, here it is to scale in my hands (I’m 5’9″ with average sized men’s hands; and don’t judge anything else in size further than that. lol)…
OK, enough photographic analytics, let’s do this. Hai, itadakimasu…
And? The saimin “bun” is EXCELLENT, albeit way too small. I mean, common’ man, noodles are cheap in cost, so don’t skimp. Sheesh. Especially the bottom saimin noodle “bun” was way too thin, where I could hardly grasp it in my hand.
Other than its rather smallish slider-like size, the Saimin “bun” was a winner, having a perfectly crisp-fried finish on the flattop, while its texture inside was wonderfully glutenous, and flavor profile being purely as advertised, tasting like saimin noodles, albeit in compacted hamburger “bun” form. Best of all, it had great integrity, with the noodles being “glued” together, yet having their own individual “noodleness”. Wow, that was deep! lol
Where they entirely dropped the ball was the “hamburger patty” (yes, that needed quotation marks), as it just plainly SUCKED. Way too thin, way too overcooked (well-done? Ouch!), and tasting like ground beef mixed with cardboard. On top of that (both literally and figuratively speaking), the “teriyaki sauce” was a complete joke. All it tasted like was shoyu (some cheap @ss brand) thickened with cornstarch and that’s it. No sugar, no mirin, no miso, nor ginger or anything else to give it character. This “Teri’ Sauce” was straight-up, CHARACTERLESS. It didn’t even help flavor the fries, the ketchup packet was that much better.
The leaves of Iceberg Lettuce helped a little in giving the overall Saimin Burger some freshness, yet then that takes away from the concept of it being a “Saimin Burger”, whereas the Tanaka Saimin Burger fully grasps the concept by using watercress. Then again, I like the idea of lettuce, but if you add that, make it a total “Saimin Burger Deluxe” by also including tomato (thick-cut), onion and melted American Cheese.
“Bigger & Better”? Sorry L&L, but the Tanaka Saimin Burger has you beat on all accounts in that regard.
Summing it up, Mr. Flores, if you read this, please REQUIRE your franchisees to use 100% ground beef that’s hand-pattied in-house. Especially if they’re charging $4.99 for just the saimin burger alone. There’s easily profit margin in there, and the sales volume will increase exponentially if you get the burger patty right in this here L&L Saimin Burger. Also, make sure there’s an ample amount of Saimin Noodle “Bun”. Have Sun Noodle premake them for your franchises for more cost efficiency. Better burger patty and more noodles in the excellent Saimin Burger “bun”, and you’ll have a winner with the L&L Saimin Burger.
I did really enjoy the perfectly cooked (deep-fried) and seasoned side order of crinkle-cut fries though!
L&L Saimin Burger
Purchased at the Iwilei L&L Hawaiian Barbecue location (next to Costco)
The Tasty Island rating:
• Oki Burger
From Okinawa to West Oahu, the Oki Burger exclusive Tasty Island recipe coming soon!