I remember the 70s as the decade Western pop culture swept into Singapore like a monster tsunami. Education standards had been on a continual rise, and English was being taught in schools as our national lingua franca. This made western movies, music, and television ever more comprehensible -- and alluring. And Singaporeans lapped up all things western; and, in particular, Americana.
And what could be more Americana than fast food? Burgers and fries became hip and chic. Who could resist stopping for a Coney Dog and a Root Beer Float at A&W whenever you were around the Cathay Cinema at Selegie?
Remember the buzz when McDonald’s opened its very first restaurant at Liat Towers in Orchard Road? and the ‘McDonald Kids’? -- teens too young to enter the discotheque, who instead congregated at this particular outlet on weekends, dressed in the latest fashions and hairstyles. To me, McDonalds always meant great-tasting fries, great breakfast meals, and unforgettable TV commercials!
Kentucky Fried Chicken, on the other hand, always reminded me of my NS days when it became almost a staple, due to the presence of an outlet near my army camp. I remember gathering there for quick bites and ‘talk cock’ sessions with my army buddies before checking in, or for celebrations of any kind.
Burger King won me over because of its purportedly healthier ‘flame broiled’ burgers. Clever marketing ploy or not, it worked on me; and even today, Burger King is still my first choice in fast food, more so during the time I spent in Hangzhou. Other chains have come and gone, like Church’s Texas Fried Chicken and Milano’s Pizza, while a few seemed to have enjoyed a comeback, such as Wendy’s.
In the last few years, burgers have burgeoned in Singapore, becoming once again an ‘it’ food trend, with options ranging from ‘gourmet’ wagyu beef burgers to the startups of young entrepreneur-chefs creating their own formulas replete with injections of local flavors and ingredients. Taking a page from these guys, I humbly offer for your delectation my very own Beef Rendang Burger with Begedil.
Beef Rendang Burger – serves 4
Beef 450, minced
Corn flour 2 tbsp
Sriracha sauce 2 tbsp
Salt 1 tsp
Oil 2 tbsp
Onion 1 large, chopped
Salt ½ tsp
Brown sugar 1 tbsp
Garlic 2 cloves, minced
Red chilies 2, minced
Lemon grass 1, white part only and minced
Galangal powder ⅛ tsp
Five-spice powder ½ tsp
Grated coconut ⅓ cup
- Mix marinate, beef, corn flour and Sriracha sauce until well blended.
- Split beef mixture into 4 patties.
- Heat a little butter in a non-stick pan and fry meat patties about 5 minutes on each side.
- Toast buns, spread butter and Sriracha sauce (optional), and place the meat patty on top of the bread. Add onion and tomato before serving.
- Add begedil, papadams, sunny-side up and salad as side dishes.
- Sweat onion under medium heat until it turns transparent. Add garlic, red chili and lemon grass, and continue to fry for another 1 minute.
- Add spices and grated coconut, fry until the paste turns slightly oily and fragrant.
- Drain Oil and keep aside to cool.
Potato ½ kg, boiled, peeled and mashed
Onion ¼, chopped
Garlic 2, minced
Chili powder 1 tbsp
Salt 1 tsp
Pepper ½ tsp
Cilantro 10 stalks, chopped
Egg 1, lightly beaten
1. Sweat onion and garlic until onion turns transparent.
2. Add chili powder and mashed potato. Mix well.
3. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Add chopped cilantro and split mixture into 4 potato patties.
5. Dip potato patty into egg mixture and deep fry until it turns golden brown.
6. Drain thoroughly and serve with the burger.