Places with fun burgers
It is fun to go to places like The Counter and get custom made burgers. What was even more fun at The Counter was when I did burger and beer tastings once. I got burgers done the way they like it instead of how I like it and it was very interesting. The sauces and the combinations of extras was quite unusual. However, the beers that accompanied the pairing were really awful and didn’t exactly match the flavors in the burger either. But, burger and beer tasting is a great idea. But, what about Thai burgers?
It is common for fun places to have multiple types of burgers. The mushroom burger, portobello, various types of cheeses, etc. But, I have never heard of a Thai burger. What would it be like?
The meat of a Thai burger should be grilled. Perhaps a chicken burger, or maybe beef or even pork. I could even picture a mixture of meats. But, the meat should be well grilled and a bit charred on the outside.
The seasonings could include basil, mint, galanga (an Indonesian spice common to most Thai curries) as well as coconut or peanut sauce. Some lime could accompany the sauces as well. The philosophy behind the seasonings in a Thai burger are based somewhat on Thai sate which is a popular appetizer. It is grilled meat with a peanut, sweet, or hot sauce. The other flavors are common in Thai stir fry or salads. But, rather than generalize about Thai flavors for cooking meat, and let’s come up with some specific ideas.
The Angel Burger
We’ve all had Thai angel wings which are stuffed with glass noodles and spices. But, what if this concept could be turned into an innovative and bizarre burger? Let’s first create a patty out of chicken meat, but not regular chicken meat. Let’s use the wing meat for extra flavor. We could even fry the wings before we grind them and then mix that meat with ground meat and put glass noodles in the middle. I’m not sure how this would turn out. You might have to add the glass noodles after the fact! The burger could be cut into four quarters and each quarter (or create sliders) could have a different sauce. A lemongrass sauce, peanut sauce, sweet & spicy sauce, and a red curry sauce for the last quarter.
The Pork Belly Slider
Pork belly is popular with Koreans as it was a traditional food that helped coal miners maintain lung health. The fat in the pork belly helps to remove heavy metals from the lungs! What if you cooked some pork belly, ground it up and mixed it with ground pork, and created a patty you could grill? Then, it could be served with a spicy sesame sauce. Maybe this sounds more Korean than Thai, but it sounds delicious to me.
Nothing beats a high quality beef like Wagyu or Kobe beef. The taste of the beef has a lot to do with where it is raised as well as what name brand it is. But, a good wagyu beef burger would go well with a peanut sate sauce in a burger, lettuce, tomato, onion, and perhaps a little mint or basil to add a little unique Thai touch to it.
Beef short ribs AKA kalbi
Forgive me, for I live near Koreatown. I rarely eat there, but, the culture has influenced me. Kalbi sliders, tacos, or anything else you can think of sound wonderful to me. But, what Thai seasonings would this traditionally Korean specialty go well with? Why not do tortilla lime short rib tacos with a basil / mint Thai sauce on the top. How is that for tri-cultural innovation?
It might be fun to have a burger that is not all beef. Why not mix chicken, beef, and pork in one burger. You could have a cashew spice sauce as well just to be different. Or just use the regular sate sauce which has spices, peanut, coconut, and more!
I am not a cook and have no idea what any of these dishes would taste like. But, it is fun to think about it, and I would drive 100 miles to taste any of these creations! Maybe some restauranteur will try these some day and see how the crowd reacts!