National Burger Day 2016: a tour of burgers from all around the world!
There are many dishes in this world that can be truly counted among the most well-known foods internationally, yet precious few that rise from the typical rank and file to attain true legendary status. So prolific and widespread are these dishes that they appear in a hundred corners of the world, in a thousand different iterations, each one more unique than the last. Without question, the king of these A-list celebrity foods has got to be the almighty hamburger.
More icon than entree, slightly more stacked than an average sandwich, and with an origin story as hotly contested as those of other dishes, hamburgers have become a deliciously distinctive symbol not only of the post-war fast food revolution, but also as a token of American cuisine anywhere and everywhere in the world; it’s practically the edible equivalent of serving the stars and stripes on a plate.
In fact, so interchangeably symbolic is the hamburger with notions of the American identity, global variations on hamburger toppings, structure and ingredients offer potential for the super sandwich to become a flag-bearing food of whatever nation created it’s own version of it. Check out a few of these popular permutations and get inspired for your next backyard BBQ:
- In China, sandwiches resembling burgers called rou jia mo are a very popular street food staple all over the country. Pork is stewed in a scintillating pot of more than twenty spices and seasonings for hours, and served between clay-baked wheat flour bread (known as mo). The best part? Every rou jia mo you eat will be different from the one before, since spice combinations vary widely among vendors.
- In Mexico, cemitas pack beef milanesa or spicy pulled pork into slightly sweet, sesame-seeded buns known by the same name. Hailing from the southern state of Puebla, cemitas are massive sandwiches loaded with key traditional ingredients like avocado, citrusy green papalo leaves and Oaxacan string cheese. Overstuffed? Now that’s an understatement.
- India’s vada pav served looks identical to it’s all-American counterpart, but is far from imitation. Loaded with spices and made to be all-vegetarian. That doesn’t mean the iconic vada pav, hailing from the pedestrian-packed streets of Mumbai, should be taken lightly. It’s foundation is a potato patty lovingly seasoned with garlic, chile peppers and turmeric before being deep-fried in chickpea flour and topped with tamarind or mint chutney.
- On both Hawaii and in Polynesia a loco moco is a type of burger where the patty is served on a bed of white sticky rice, topped with an egg and then drenched in gravy. The patty can often be substituted with various types of seafood, too. Particularly in Hawaii, though, the loco moco enjoys a special prestige among locals as equal parts hangover cure and satisfying after-surf snack.
For the savviest of ground beef gourmands, the options are limitless — in fact, an all-beef burger may be behind the times, as many restaurants now offer combinations of patties featuring almost every other kind of meat you could think of, each with it's own unique flavours and toppings.
National Burger Day isn’t until this Saturday, but it’s totally cool if you want to start celebrating early. We understand.