Editors' Picks: The Best Burgers In Singapore
This story was first published on May 28, 2020.
For many of us, food has often posed as a source of great comfort. And it's a big part of the Singaporean culture, too. In these unprecedented times, a delicious bite serves as an almost certain way to lift your spirits and brighten your day.
Around the world, we see myriad ways of how food has comforted those in isolation and helped bring communities together in imaginative ways. Take René Redzepi, Danish-chef and co-owner of two-Michelin star restaurant Noma, who recently converted his fine-dining restaurant into a cheeseburger joint. The establishment, which was once notoriously hard to reserve and had a months-long waiting list, has now scrapped its queues and made its newly reinvented two-item burger menu accessible to locals, in an effort to boost social life in Copenhagen since the city's coronavirus lockdown.
As we continue to practise social distancing in Singapore, the Tatler team has produced a list of our favourite burgers in the city that would provide a tinge of comfort as we tide through the weeks to come.
(Related: Impossible Burgers For Delivery In Singapore)
1/12 Basque Kitchen By Aitor
The secret to a great burger (well, at least one of them) lies in the quality of its patty. And, for me at least, that means one made with some of the best varieties of beef to achieve a uniquely flavourful adaptation. It’s also why Basque Kitchen by Aitor’s Wagyu “Txuleta” double-patty burger (from its takeaway menu) is arguably one of the tastiest out there. Here, the chef uses grass-fed Australian old cow—similar to the famously mature Galician variety—that’s around 8 years of age. This is because the beef from this prized animal has amazingly complex flavours. It’s then dry-aged for 45 days to further evolve those innately deep and savoury notes. The chuck roll is the cut of choice. But this is also a Wagyu, which means there’s tenderness and still a good balance of buttery notes and a less greasy fatty flavour to be had.
An order of this elevated nod to the humble burger comes with double cheese and pickled Basque green chilli peppers (piparras), complete with a side of homemade fries and mildly spicy Espelette pepper mayo. But if you can make room, I recommend finishing the meal with a slice of Aitor’s Basque burnt cheesecake. Click here to order.
—Don Mendoza, dining content director
2/12 Burger+ (Permanently Closed)
When I first found out about Burger+, I admit I was sceptical. It was after all branded as a burger joint with Korean roots. Not knowing what was on the menu, I went there expecting to have a gochujang chicken burger or a beef burger with kimchi in place of lettuce. But the menu is a safe one with offerings such as the classic cheeseburger, truffle burger and mushroom burger.
Feeling adventurous, I plumped for the Korean Bulgogi beef burger that is inspired by the popular Korean dish of grilled beef marinated in soy sauce, sugar and Korean pear juice. The sweet-savoury beef patty pairs well with the mayonnaise in the buttered potato bun, which is soft and fluffy. Of course, I'd prefer the beef patty to be thicker and juicier but for a fast-food restaurant, the Korean Bulgogi beef burger ticks all the right boxes and I'll definitely be back for more. Click here to order.
—Terence Lim, editor
3/12 Shake Shack
The Shackburger is an American fast food icon—it’s the reason why people stand in those snaking Shake Shack lines for hours. This burger is soft and sloppy, and the all-natural beef patty and slightly-crusted soft bun melts in your mouth. The ingredients are traditional but done to perfection. And the secret sauce: the tangy, creamy Shacksauce (with multiple copycat recipes online) keeps you wanting more. Don’t bother with the single patty too; go straight for the double.
For a little more kick in your bite, order the Smokeshack burger, which also includes strips of applewood smoked bacon and cherry pepper bits sprinkled in. If you have space for just one side, make it a milkshake—it is Shake Shack after all. The Shakes are on the sweet side, but addictive. My favourite is the Common Man coffee version, which is exclusive to Singapore. Click here to order.
—Daphne Chen-Cordeiro, digital content director
I’m always up for a good burger—and good, halal-certified, gourmet ones are hard to find. (To be fair, I’ve not been super diligent about finding the best ones.) But since Fatburger, the fast-casual Hollywood favourite that hip-hop stars have waxed lyrical over, came to town, I’ve not (yet) looked at another. That first bite of the signature Fatburger went straight to my heart (tugged at my heartstrings and sent me to food heaven). The single beef patty (80 per cent lean meat and 20 per cent fat) is juicy and not dry thanks to the fact that it is freshly prepared and never frozen, and held its own in the flavour department despite the works—lettuce, tomato, mayo, mustard, relish, onions and pickles—between two soft brioche buns.
For those who are meat-hungry, go for the Double (XXL), Triple (XXXL) or Quad (XXXXL) stacks, but for me, the Original single is enough to satiate my burger fix. I like to add on the beef bacon—the slightly thicker cut used here, rather than the crispy version at other joints, has grown on me—and crispy onion rings for added texture. And of course, I “make it fat” (Fatburger speak for make it a meal) with fat fries and milkshake—because at Fatburger, you have to go big, or go home! Click here to order.
—Hashirin Nurin Hashimi, sub-editor
5/12 Three Buns
Some may think that an overload of ingredients can ruin the taste of a good burger. But what if it means pairing your usual gooey cheese and jalapeno pickles with unconventional garnishes like freshly made bawang goreng and watermelon relish on top of a 100 per cent grass-fed beef patty? Consider me sold. The first burger I tried at Three Buns was the Bun DMC, and I couldn't stop thinking about it for days. Chomping on it created quite a mess but I wasn't mad about it at all. It was all thanks to the generous amount of house-made sauces that drenched the juicy meat patty—but believe me when I say it was absolutely worth it.
And have I mentioned the soft, pillowy brioche buns used in their burgers? They’re baked daily at the restaurant so you never have to worry about sinking your teeth into stale, limp pieces of bread. So give your tastebuds a treat and order yourself one of their burgers, and if you can, add a milkshake on the side—the Madagascan Vanilla is my favourite because you can never go wrong with good ol' vanilla. Click here to order.
—Andrea Saadan, assistant digital editor
6/12 Five Guys
Burgers are my ultimate comfort food. If I feel like indulging, I order my usual cheeseburger from Five Guys. What makes this so delicious are the two stacks of flavour-packed patties, made with 100 per cent grass-fed beef that's cooked well-done and draped with gooey cheddar cheese. The burger is designed to be customised and I always crown my order with fresh lettuce, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, and, for an acerbic touch, pickles. Everything comes together with mustard sauce.
The all-time favourite milkshakes here are worth trying, too. Go for The Elvis, a surprisingly delicious concoction of banana, salted caramel and, yes, bacon bits. Skip the whipped cream—it's already sweet enough as it is. Click here to order.
—Dudi Aureus, digital dining editor
(Related: From Burgers To Milkshakes, Here's What We Love At Five Guys Singapore)
As a vegetarian, what I like about VeganBurg is that they have an extensive menu featuring an assortment of plant-based patties—a refreshing change from the much-hyped Impossible Meat, which it also offers. There are also vegan add-ons like egg, cheese, as well as bacon, which I’ve heard tastes almost like the real deal.
My must-have would be the Char-Grilled Satay Burger, which oozes with local flavour—sweet satay sauce dripped on a grilled plant-protein patty with fresh romaine lettuce, cucumbers, pineapple and onions for that juicy kick. Those who are conscious about their carbs can also swap the bun for a lettuce wrap. Click here to order.
—Chloe Pek, senior writer
(Related: A Veritable Vegan Feast: More Meat Lovers Crave For Plant-Based Meals)
8/12 Burger & Lobster
When Burger & Lobster first opened its flagship restaurant at Jewel Changi Airport, it was the talk of the town as lobster fans could finally get a taste of the famed London-based establishment. And while their fresh crustacean offerings indeed live up to the hype, so do their delectable burgers that'll keep you coming back for more—because I sure did. My favourite is The Mayfair. Loaded with a 170g Nebraskan beef patty, house-made pickles, crisp lettuce, tomatoes and a douse of the restaurant's secret burger sauce, this simple yet delicious stack never fails to satiate my burger craving on any given day.
It's only right to try some of the restaurant's lobster dishes during your visit, so the B&L Beast Burger provides the best of both worlds. Not only is it served with a Nebraskan beef patty sandwiched between their signature brioche buns, it is also lined with a truffle mayo spread and mounted with succulent chunks of lobster meat. Click here to order.
—Amelia Yeo, writer
9/12 PS. Cafe
My first encounter with Impossible Meat was the Impossible Burger at PS. Cafe, and what a pleasant surprise that was. My initial expectations were low—especially since the restaurant's signature wagyu beef burger has been my go-to—just how good can a plant-based patty be? But my doubts were proven wrong as the first bite exceeded all expectations. The patty, which tastes similar to red meat, was cooked to a perfect medium-rare. It was also slightly charred and topped with wilted spinach, sautéed mushrooms, crispy onions, tomato and vintage cheddar, making the experience even more savoury.
Since no burger meal is complete without a side of (generously salted) chips, it is served with the restaurant's popular shoestring fries, which can be switched up for its truffle variant as well. Click here to order.
—Amelia Yeo, writer
(Related: 10 Restaurants Where You Can Try Impossible Meat)
The name says it all—MeatSmith is definitely a carnivore’s heaven with steaks, ribs, sausages and more on offer. Truthfully, I’m not a big red meat eater but when the craving strikes, I choose a place that takes it meat seriously. And with chef Dave Pynt of Burnt Ends as co-owner, I know MeatSmith more than delivers.
Any burger here would be worth the calories but start with the signature MS Cheeseburger, which has mouthwatering double beef brisket patties, slices of cheddar cheese, pickles that add an acid kick, all hugged by the sturdy house-made buns. Make sure you’re hungry or bring companions because the servings are very generous (they also have a kid’s menu so you can make it a family affair). In fact, I can only finish about two-thirds of this enormous burger, much to the delight of my meat-loving husband who gets to enjoy the rest.
I have yet to try their sandwiches but apparently the fried chicken sandwich is a cult favourite, so that is next on my list. Don’t discount their desserts—the S’mores Tart has just the right sweetness to end a savoury meal. Click here to order.
— Kissa Castañeda, editor-in-chief
It’s not very often you’d come across a burger that you’d feel confident will taste good based on its looks. Well, BurgerLabo’s basic burger is one example. Made with the kind of care and attention one might associated with a fine restaurant, this is not simply a head-turner with a set of sexy buns. What is more significant yet not immediately obvious is its quality patty—made with a precise blend of grass-fed Black Angus beef neck, Toriyama Umami Wagyu A4 tenderloin and a changing selection of other Angus cuts. For me, though, the not-so-secret ingredient that raises this simple amalgamation to new heights is the addition of house-made bone marrow “butter”.
If you prefer something leaner yet arguably more indulgent, there’s always the Toriyama Umami Wagyu Burger, made with only tenderloin from the feted Japanese Black (Kuroge Washu) cattle from Japan’s Gunma Prefecture. Both are available as a single or double patty burger.
BurgerLabo is operating from Naked Finn at least until phase two of the post-circuit breaker reopening. Click here for the takeaway menu.
—Don Mendoza, dining content director
12/12 Wolf Burgers
Wolf Burgers is my go-to joint for delicious gourmet burgers at reasonable prices. While there are so many enticing options on the menu, I always go for the original Wolf Burger. It may look deceptively simple, however, it’s anything but. The secret lies in the patty, made with different cuts of premium beef grilled to juicy perfection. It also comes with a generous layer of gooey cheddar cheese and a secret sauce that adds an umami finish. I recommend ordering it with crispy fries and a luscious smoothie (which comes in mango and vanilla, Oreo, and berrie brulee flavours) for a truly indulgent meal. Click here to order.
—Dudi Aureus, digital dining editor