Whether they’re innovating on tradition or keeping with the classics, these are Hong Kong’s best burger joints. Enjoy!
Is there anything more satisfying than a well-made hamburger? For some perhaps yes, but for true fans of this one-handed feast, the humble hamburger if a symphony of flavours and textures that sings true perfection. As you can imagine, many have claimed its creation, including Hannah Glasse, who included a recipe for ‘hamburgh sausage’ in her 1758 cookbook The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy (yes, they had cookbooks in the 1700s).
Another clue to the hamburger’s origins might be in the name, with a similar dish, the ‘Rundstück warm’, made popular in the German port city of Hamburg. It was from this port that the Hamburg America Line sailed the Atlantic, feeding its passengers en route with “Hamburg steak”, so it’s little wonder that immigrants bound for the Land of the Free brought with them a taste for this deliciously simple snack.
It didn’t take long until sandwich cars in major US cities started serving hamburger sandwiches, priced at a very reasonable five cents, and the rest, as they say, is history. Today, hamburgers are found in stand-alone restaurants and fast-food chains from New Hampshire all the way to Hong Kong, where the burger has enjoyed a renaissance as timeless recipes are supplemented with great quality produce by a handful of passionate burger joints. Here are our favourites. In Hong Kong, we take a fairly contemporary approach to this timeless dish.
Upper Deck Bar & Grill
The newest opening for Tung Chung, Upper Deck Bar & Grill offers a wide range of USDA Prime beef cuts, which is awesome, but the steakhouse is also home to some great burgers. These range from a classic American B.L.T. burger served with crispy onion rings; and a Wagyu beef burger with bacon marmalade, cognac mustard, fontina cheese, and truffle sauce; to a buttermilk fried chicken burger with chipotle sauce; and a juicy lamb burger with spiced onion jam. Be sure to pop in for the restaurant’s great happy hour and a round at the pool table.
One of the best burger parlours in the Fragrant Harbour, Black Sheep Restaurants’ Burger Circus has the laid back, unpretentious vibe of a 1950s diner, with traditional-styled burgers to match the decor. Located on Hollywood Road, the little restaurant serves a simple menu of burger choices – beef, chicken, and fish options – as well as onion rings, loaded fries, and wings. You can also order an alcoholic milkshake or a homemade soda if you want to keep with the diner theme.
Home to classic cheeseburgers in the American style, Honbo has been a place of pilgrimage for burgerphiles since it opened in 2017 on Sun Street in Wan Chai (they’re now also at The Mills in Tsuen Wan). Honbo is about getting the basics right, from the all-natural potato milk bun to patties made from Doble Gold American beef from Wisconsin. Purists will love The Gold Standard, with a double 4 oz patty, double cheese, bacon, and pickles, but don’t discount the likes of the soft shell crab burger, the fried chicken burger, and the plant-based Impossible burger.
The Butchers Club Burger
You would probably trust a burger joint that came from a butchery background and that’s just what The Butchers Club Burger is. Opened on Landale Street in Wan Chai in 2014 (and now also in TST and Taikoo Place), the venue’s burgers feature dry-aged Black Angus beef from Australia, with the patties minced and cooked to order. The menu here is limited to burgers, beers, and bourbons, which is a mantra we can certainly appreciate, although the variety of burgers and the diversity of ingredients used is a departure from the tried-and-true classics – you can even have a plant-based Beyond Classic Vegan burger, which is pretty cool.
Beef & Liberty
A restaurant concept that seems to capture the simplistic majesty of the hamburger, albeit through close attention to the perfect meat-to-bun ratio, grind coarseness, Maillard reaction, and cheese meltability, Beef & Liberty has venues in Lan Kwai Fong, Stanley, Wong Chuk Hang, Sheung Wan, and even Hong Kong Airport, for those pre-flight feasts. With 11 burgers on the menu, complemented by a range of salads and side dishes, there’s plenty of choice, but we suggest you go for The Liberty, with its 220g 29-day dry-aged grass-fed Tasmanian beef patty, caramelised onions, house pickles, Dijon mustard, and raclette cheese – a limited availability treat.
For burgers packed with flavour, it would be hard to go past Burger Joys, which has outposts in Central, Wan Chai, and Sai Ying Pun. Serving up USDA Black Angus beef patties cooked in red wine butter (oh la la), which are then lovingly wrapped in a feather-light brioche bun cooked at a top-secret bakery in Kwun Tong, Burger Joys‘ burgers follow the popular LA ‘smashed’ style, where patties are pressed during cooking to ensure a more consistent caramelisation of the meat. They also do some mean wings.
We’re not sure if there was ever a Beeger 1 but Beeger2 down in Kennedy Town has built a cult following with its simplistic offering – great burgers as big as a baby’s head, and beer to wash all that sinful goodness down with. Black Angus patties are made with love, layered with traditional and fresh ingredients, and served by cheerful staff – what more could you want?
Famed for its towering contemporary takes on the hamburger, Burgerman in Sham Shui Po likes to bring innovation to the grill. Look out for the likes of their Danish blue cheese burger, the roasted portabello burger, a foie gras and Wagyu stack, and, for those suffering from a little overindulgence, the two-handed trucker burger, a Kenworth-sized mound of beef, bacon, and cheese – all the major food groups. They also do some great wings and, oddly enough, pasta dishes.
Another spot where decadence takes over from tradition, Causeway Bay and TST’s BurgeRoom outposts have dedicated themselves to breaking the burger mould with huge hamburger packed with flavour. While the Classic is a soul-soothing combination of fresh romaine lettuce, tomato, beef patty, and homemade sauce; try one of their 38 – yes 38 burgers on the menu – signatures, which include the Truffle Cheese Portabello Burger, with mushroom, truffle cheese, and bacon; the Double Foie Gras Burger; or the curious Hiroshima Oyster Cheese Burger.
A classic burger joint from New York, Shack Shack has locations across Hong Kong and keeps things simple and delicious with burgers made from 100 percent all-natural Angus beef, served on non-GM potato rolls, with fresh lettuce, tomato, and pickle. That’s not to say they haven’t innovated on the traditional hamburger – lookout for chicken burgers made with cage-free chooks; the BBQ ShackMeister, topped with ShackMeister Ale marinated crispy shallots, American cheese, and Shack-made BBQ sauce; and the Cheeseburger with all-natural applewood smoked bacon, and chopped cherry peppers. They also do some pretty great hot dogs.
Smashed by Electric Ave
Finally, this is where you go to have your burger perceptions blown away. Home to Hong Kong’s most inventive burgers – from Chicken Cabonara Burger to the heart-stopping Quad Mac – Smashed is the kind of place you order from online, and then, when your huge (and extremely well priced) burger arrives, hideaway in a locked office or apartment where you can’t be seen or judged as you slurp and munch your way into ecstasy. New additions to look out for include the delectable Double Add Oil Burger, and the Hot Sauce Fried Chicken Burger, with Peri Peri mayo, Yardbird hot sauce, and maple syrup pickled onions.
Take that Hannah!
For more Wining & Dining inspiration click here.