Burger Wars!

duke_burger_Hong_Kong_Soho

In the space of two years, Hong Kong has transformed from being a burger wasteland to a burger garden of Eden! Suddenly there are over 13 places that cater primarily to burger fans. Now the question is which place to choose?

Burgers, like pizzas, come in all different shapes and sizes. And like pizza, the taste of a
true great one can be ascertained by sampling something basic, like a regular cheeseburger.

When I get hungry for pizza, I’m craving mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce, I don’t want Peking Duck, so I don’t care about things like Peking Duck pizza. Similarly, when I’m hungry for a burger, I don’t seek out a foie gras burger.

Here’s my rundown of some of the prominent burger joints in town, with an emphasis on the new spots. Let the burger battles begin!

Warning: you may get hungry while reading this post!

Things to consider:

There are several different categories of restaurants serving burgers. Some are purely fast food, while others go the gourmet route. A few are someplace in between.

Burgers are a personal thing. Your taste might be very different from mine. Plus there’s no such thing as the best burger in Hong Kong. It depends on what you’re looking for: convenience, taste, price, atmosphere or location. This rundown is according to my personal taste. You can add your own favorites in the comments.

Disclaimer: I don’t like added flavorings to the meat. If it’s good quality beef you don’t need to jazz it up. Likewise, I don’t dig fancy add-ons. Keep it simple. I also don’t like my burger too juicy. I got for medium-well to well done. If you enjoy rare, you will probably have different favorites.

In alphabetical order…

Atomic_Patty_LKF_Hong_Kong

Atomic Patty
I’ve seen people eating these late-night, but haven’t tried eating one myself. Atomic Patty is located right in the epicenter of Lan Kwai Fong. Fast food.

Atomic Patty address: 7 Lan Kwai Fong, Central, Hong Kong

BurgerKingCounter

Burger King
Burger King relaunched in Hong Kong after a long hiatus. Until recently it was a rarity, a fine delicacy available only after check-in at the airport. But for a few years they’ve slowly been adding branches (or franchises) in the city. My favorites are the branch at The Peak Tower and also the three airport branches.

Burger King address:

The Peak branch: 128 Peak Road, The Peak Tower, shop 103, level 1

Airport branches (Terminals 1 & 2)

Tsim Sha Tsui branch: UG/F, Sun Arcade, 28 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon

burger_republic_Hong_Kong

Burger Republic
Burger Republic is located on Gough Street, an area packed with many restaurants including some local favorites, such as Ngau Kee and Kau Kee. There’s also an outdoor ‘cha chaan tang’ that’s crowded during lunch time, and some high-end spots as well. Burger Republic features flavored meat. Between restaurant and fast food.

Burger Republic address: 35-37 Gough Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

Burger_room_Hong_Kong

Burger Room
Not a bad choice, on a quiet, off the beaten track street in Causeway Bay. It’s sort of near the Agnes B. Bistro and Lee Garden Two. I was into the mozzarella sticks! Between restaurant and fast food.

Burger Room address: 3-15 Caroline Hill Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Cul_de_sac_Hong_Kong

Cul De Sac
Another, slightly more restaurant-style burger joint, open late in Lan Kwai Fong on the small street leading to “rat alley”. Though it’s been in business for years, I haven’t tried it yet. Cul De Sac also serves poutine (those fries with gravy that Canadians love!)

Cul De Sac address: 17 Wing Wah Lane, Central Hong Kong

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Dan Ryan’s
This was THE spot for a burger in town for many, many years. Dan Ryan’s is a landmark American-style eatery in Pacific Place. The big booths make it a good place to linger after you eat.

Dan Ryan’s address: Shop 114, 1/F Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong

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Duke’s Burger
Good quality meat, small portions, and expensive. The atmosphere doesn’t match what I think of when I want a burger. The tater-tots are a novel idea, but I didn’t find them to be knockouts. Fine dining / restaurant.

Duke’s Burger address: 5 Staunton Street, Soho, Central, Hong Kong

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Fatburger
How long does it take to open a 7-11 in Hong Kong? Around three days. How can it possibly take almost a year for Fatburger to open across from the Hopewell Centre in Wanchai? Burger fans have been waiting and are getting a little sick and tired of you teasing us like this. The one in Macau has been open in the Venetian for a long time already and your competition in Hong Kong is winning loyal customers while you dilly dally. Open already! (I walked by today and they were finally doing the interior… I’d say it’ll be early September.)

Fatburger address: QRE Plaza,196-206 Queens Road East, Wanchai, Hong Kong

freshness_burger_Hong_Kong

Freshness Burger
New to Hong Kong. A Japanese burger, not very traditional, but catering to Japanese tastes. Several different types of sauces on the burger. Features smaller sized patties. Fast food.
Freshness Burger address:

Ocean Terminal / T.S.T. branch:
5-25 Canton Road
Shop 242, 2/F Ocean Terminal
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon

Windsor House / Causeway Bay branch:
311 Gloucester Road
Shop 110, 1/F Windsor House
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Gourmet_burger_union_Hong

Gourmet Burger Union
I’m not a fan of gourmet burgers, however, the fact that this place lets you construct your burger how you see fit is a definite plus. I haven’t tried it yet (I’m kind of burger-ed out at the moment!) The location (around the corner from Drop, Yumla and Propaganda) is good for late night party-ers, though I’m not sure the place is open late. Between fast food, leaning more towards restaurant.

Gourmet Burger Union address: Next to the escalator at 1/F, 44 Lyndhurst Terrace above Dozo.

Inn Side Out
I was surprised at how good the burger was at Inn Side Out. I happened to eat here on a whim and it was tasty! A good spot in Causeway Bay’s “Burger Triangle”. (Burger Room and Shake ‘Em Buns being the other two joints.) The restaurant / brew house is located on the ground floor, in back of the main building. Look for the place with peanut shells on the floor!

Inn Side Out address: Sunning Plaza, 10 Hysan Avenue, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

McDonald’s
Fast, cheap, and always the same, bad qualities for a person, but great for a quick bite. McDonald’s is better in Hong Kong than in other cities in the world because of the fast turnaround of the food. You won’t find items sitting on the shelf long before someone eats them. With more locations around town than anyone else, this is a good choice for a fast bite. Who can resist those golden fries? Besides, McDonald’s always has the best toy giveaways and movie promotions. Anyone remember the water-front McDonald’s attached to the Fleet Arcade in Wanchai?

Monster_Burger_Hong_Kong_HK
“Ahhh Monster Burger… how romantic”

Monster Burger
Haven’t tried it yet. Fast food. Good location near Lan Kwai Fong.

Monster Burger address: 21 Stanley Street, (near the intersection of Pottinger Street) Central, Hong Kong

Mos_Burger_Hong_Kong

MOS Burger
Haven’t tried it in ages. MOS Burger is a Japanese burger chain. They make hybrid burgers using Japanese ingredients and sauces. Fast food.

MOS Burger address:

APM Shopping Mall branch:
418 Kwun Tong Road
2/F APM Millennium City Phase 5
Kwun Tong, Kowloon

Langham Place / Mongkok branch:
8 Argyle Street
Shop 1, 4A/F Langham Place Shopping Mall
Mong Kok, Kowloon

Press Room
One of my favorite burgers in town. Big size, great bun, good quality meat. Not over-priced considering the restaurant and location. Bistro.

Press Room address: 108 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong

Shake_em_buns_Hong_Kong

Shake ‘Em Buns
One of the first of the new breed of burger joints. I tried the first branch on Star Street over a year ago when they used to run out of meat. They’ve been successful and have expanded to several other locations.

The menu is loaded with sexual innuendo, which I don’t find very appetizing. I’ve seen families in there, and it must be uncomfortable to order. I would make a family or kid friendly menu available as well. Recently I’ve been hearing great things about their Philly Cheese-steak. Check out their onion rings too! Somewhere between fast food and restaurant.

Hong_Kong_best_burger

Shake ‘Em Buns address:

Causeway Bay branch:
5 Hoi Ping Road (opposite from Lee Garden shopping center near Hysan Avenue)
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Shake_em_buns_Central_Hong

Central branch:
76 Wellington Street, (the entrance is around the corner on the old cobble stoned Pottinger Street) Central, Hong Kong

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White Spot / Triple O’s
I’ve enjoyed this place since it first opened. The BC Burger combo is consistently delicious. I like mine ‘dry’ with no Triple O sauce. The fries are good and the Coke is a bit sweeter than at other places. It’s a great set, as we’ve come to eat burgers with fries and a drink. Of Canadian origin, White Spot / Triple O’s is in the middle between restaurant and fast food. Conveniently located at major shopping centers.

White Spot Triple O’s address:

Pacific Place / Admiralty branch:
Unit 009, Level LG1
Great Food Hall, Pacific Place
88 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong

Ocean Terminal / T.S.T. branch
3001-DB, Level 3, across from Citysuper
Harbour City, 5-25 Canton Road
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon

Central / Exchange Square branch
8 Connaught Road, (The Forum, Exchange Square, near IFC Mall)
Shop 10, 1/F The Forum, Exchange Square
Central, Hong Kong

Causeway Bay / Times Square branch
Basement, Times Square Shopping Mall (inside the CitySuper Food Court)
1 Matheson St, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s burger craze doesn’t stop there… even the Three-Sixty supermarket in the new Elements shopping mall has a burger bar!

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Special mention:

American Club, Tai Tam
Sitting by the pool sipping a fruit punch is great, but what’s even better is when your burger arrives! One of the better burgers in Hong Kong. For American Club members and guests only.

Staffing problems at burger joints?

Staffing restaurants is a hassle in Hong Kong. The aim of the restaurant is to provide the best experience at the cheapest cost. Hong Kong has less of a professional wait-staff scene than for example, the U.S. does. Additionally, restaurants that are semi-fast food can’t afford top quality staff. This presents a major problem for restaurant owners. This is also why fast food restaurants have standardized their processes – to ensure the best food experience with the least skilled workers (therefore at the lowest cost.) Chains can do this, but smaller, independent places have a much harder time unless the owner is always around. This is also how a great place can lose its magic. Once a restaurant grows to several branches, it’s difficult to maintain quality control.

The best burger of all? Making your own!

The quality of the meat at Park N Shop and Wellcome isn’t the best for making burgers. Oliver’s in Prince’s Building, Great in Pacific Place, and 360 in the Landmark, are all choices for buying higher quality chopped or minced meat for creating your own patties. My favorite however, are the pre-made patties available from City Super. They are in the fresh meat section and come in packs of two. I find the taste to be excellent. I just sprinkle a little salt on the top when I’m cooking them.

Use a cast-iron griddle. No need to get the fancy colored $900 HKD Le Creuset. Go to the restaurant supply district in Yau Ma Tei and search the shops til you find one. They go for less than $50 HKD. (Ikea also has an inexpensive variety, but I haven’t tried them.)

Pre-heat the griddle on the top of your burner set to medium high. Wait until a drop of water sizzles and vanishes right away. Now you’re ready to start cooking! Place your (already defrosted) burger on the griddle. Cook it to the desired amount and you’re done. Note that the second side of the burger takes less time to cook than the first. You should only need to flip the burger once. The griddle drains off part of the fat during cooking. Make sure you have the kitchen fan on since it will smoke a little. Add gouda, mozzarella or cheddar and a little ketchup and you’re set! Enjoy!

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20 Responses to Burger Wars!

  1. Miles August 16, 2008 at 2:12 pm #

    Mos Burger in Langham Place has the plus point that you can sit outside…it’s high enough that the air is better than at street level – thank God! – and as locals prefer to eat indoors you can always find a seat. It’s about the only safe place I can think of to eat in Mongkok.

    Freshness Burger currently do a nice Hawaiian Burger.

  2. Esther August 18, 2008 at 1:29 pm #

    woow~~ Thanks for sharing!!!!~~~

    How abt a feature on dessert next time??
    heehee~ ^~^”

  3. Administrator August 19, 2008 at 4:03 pm #

    Thanks Esther!

    First I get fat from eating all those burgers… now you want me to write about desserts? Jeez! ;)
    O.K.! coming soon!

  4. Ana August 23, 2008 at 1:49 am #

    Mos Burger is delicious. They are about the size of a McD cheeseburer. What I think makes them better than a McD cheeseburger — is the quality. It reminds me of the In ‘N Out burgers in the West Coast of the States, but with Japanese influences.

  5. deb August 24, 2008 at 6:55 am #

    sounds like you and i have similar burger tastes. have you been to california? in’n’out burger is the BEST! they keep it simple and fresh. it’s one of the main things i miss from home whenever i’m abroad.

  6. TomSires August 27, 2008 at 11:59 am #

    Hi – good rundown! I’ve just moved to HK from the UK just over a week ago and have been looking around for vegetarian burgers – for anyone else who’s interested McDonald’s and Burger King don’t offer anything, Monster Burger in Central’s pretty good but the best so far is Triple O’s veggie burger – it’s the closest thing I’ve found to the (sadly discontinued) Hungry Jack’s veggie burger I had in Australia years ago.

  7. judy August 30, 2008 at 8:37 pm #

    thanks for sharing . I like monster although is a bit local shake and bun come second as I only eat dont eat red meat . not much choice for me .Will try to tried the rest of the japanese buger place u mentioned

  8. Rom September 5, 2008 at 5:42 pm #

    Hey TomSires,

    Try any of the Shake ‘Em Buns, they have a veggie burger… I would also mention Delaney’s in Wanchai which also have a decent veggie burger!

  9. velshin September 10, 2008 at 1:24 pm #

    Burger Room is really awesome! Best (beef) burger I’ve had outside Canada/the U.S. Mozzarella sticks were very good.

    Triple O’s has a consistently great veggie burger. Their fries can be a soggy mess depending on who’s frying them, but when they get it right they’re good. Try the hash browns instead.

  10. Clive January 12, 2009 at 3:44 pm #

    I went to Monster Burger in Stanley Street yesterday the 11th Jan for the first time and also the last time. The burger I had was tasteless and the french fries were disgusting! They were re-cycled having been previously cooked and then put back into boiling fat. They were just like sticks of grease. I was so angry I took them back and emptied them on the counter. Well worth the $12 I paid for them.

  11. Micah January 16, 2009 at 9:08 pm #

    MOS burgers taste like poo, and the burgers they serve you look nothing like the ones they show you on the menu (zero resemblence! Soggy shredded lettuce instead of whole leaves). Atomic is great after a big night out (the fat man is the juiciest burger ever, I actually ruined my coat because of it), but I can’t really give an honest opinion because I’m never sober when I hit that joint up.

    If I had to pick, I’d either go for Dan Ryan’s or Cul De Sac (great philly cheese steak sandwich).

  12. Micah January 16, 2009 at 9:11 pm #

    I’m sorry Rom. The worst veggie burger I’ve ever had was at DeLaney’s (the one in Wan Chai). It was just so dry and bland, the chef didn’t even put any sauce on it, so all I got was a veggie patty in a bun! (with some veggies and fries on the side.)

  13. DT February 5, 2009 at 7:30 pm #

    Veggie burger seekers, FYI: my fave veg burgers are found at Cul-de-Sac and Shake-em-Buns. Triple O’s comes a close runner-up but maybe I had too many of those and got a bit sick of it. Too much of their “special” sauce I think. Not an innuendo — that’ what they call it. Burgerroom veg one replaces the patty with a grilled portobello mushroom, and as much as i Love mushies, burgers just ain’t burgers without a good patty…

  14. EE February 24, 2009 at 7:59 pm #

    I went to Monster Burger and jeez…terrible. The meat tasted like it had been sitting in a freezer for weeks then thawed in a microwave. Tasteless and poor quality meat. The fries were grease sticks, which are good only if you’re into that sort of thing – which I happen to be.

    Still…bleh.

  15. miss_idealiste March 11, 2009 at 6:09 pm #

    Hi thanks!! Great job!! wat abt BUFFET VENUE next time?

  16. Stefan March 19, 2009 at 1:06 pm #

    Great FAQ on HK’s burger joints! Amazing that only a few years ago, it really was Dan Ryan’s and that was about it. BTW, there are other locations for DR’s and MOSburger around town.

    I’ve been a MOS fan since the 80s…when I lived in Tokyo they were a fave for two important reasons: 1) you can customize your burger (those who’ve lived in the Land of No-Choice know what I mean), 2) they had a non-smoking section. Their fries are distinctive, another plus. I feel the Hong Kong branches of MOS are not nearly as good as the ones in Japan.

    Inn Side Out in Causeway Bay is allied with East End Brewery in Quarry Bay (I work out there but since the non-smoking ordinance came into effect 1/1/2007, EEB refused to comply and I haven’t entered since). At either place you can get blue cheese on yer burger…add bacon and you’ve got a unique combo. Also won’t have to eat again until the next day!

    I’m with you: if I want a pizza, I want a PIZZA. It won’t have hoisin sauce on it. Therefore, a “veggie-burger” is an oxymoron: if I’m getting a burger it will be made out of beef. Veggies? On the side!!

  17. YTSL January 2, 2010 at 10:21 pm #

    Have you tried Big Bite over in North Point? Love their hot dogs so much I’ve yet to try their burgers but those certainly have their fans…

    http://www.jinlovestoeat.com/2009/10/big-bite.html

    Etc.

  18. Trisha March 3, 2011 at 6:38 pm #

    I’m from Mumbai, India and I visited HKG last year. Sadly, I didn’t have the opportunity to read through this post first… Great job of all the info in one spot!

  19. martin June 9, 2011 at 10:41 pm #

    Has the Shake em Buns on Sunning Plaza in CWB closed?

  20. poorna chander rao February 2, 2012 at 6:27 pm #

    hii….i hav seen u r images its looking so nd tasty also i thnk and i hav to do the burger zone…so could u plz help me…..im waitng fr urs suggestion sir nd mam.

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