Archive | November, 2012

GIY (Grill it Yourself) – Villa Patty vs. Choice Foods

21 Nov

Choice Foods Wagyu Burger Patty

Bangkok Burgers - homeMore often than not I find myself wandering down the streets of this fair yet sometimes hectic city in my quest to find the Best Burger in Bangkok. While most of the time I enjoy this little excursion, there are times I wish I could just snap my fingers and a burger would appear before my eyes. And thanks to a neighborhood BBQ planned by my friend/grill-toating neighbor, this is sort of what happened.

So here’s the beef – when a friend of mine called me up and said that he could get some 100% wagyu patties from a local distributer,  I thought it would be a good chance to try out some pre-formed patties that are available in the supermarkets and have a little burger battle. He would bring the wagyu patties and I bring a second option; I chose some frozen patties from Villa. I also wanted to try out some burger buns … I picked up a 6-pack of farmhouse buns (30 baht) and a 5-pack of ZGI whole wheat buns (50 baht). I’ve seen ZGI buns around in my burger outings (Grace’s and Jurgen’s) – and had liked them quite a bit. Not many places are using a whole wheat bun.

Choice Foods Wagyu Burger ZGI whole wheat Buns Villa Beef Patty Sign

Ok, now let’s talk beef. I found out after my friend came with the Wagyu patties that they aren’t really on sale to the general public. These particular patties are served at hotels and restaurants in Thailand and are 100% Wagyu with no seasoning added. That said, you can go to the Choice Foods website and order another type of hamburger patty along with a whole range of other food items. The Villa patties on the other hand can be purchased and they come in packs of four  at THB 120.- per pack.

Bangkok Burgers Side by SideBangkok Burgers Side by Side 2Bangkok Burgers Side by Side 3

So, the question of the hour is how did the two stack up against one another ? … and to be honest, the answer isn’t as clearcut as I had thought it would be at the onset. I admit, I heard Wagyu and I had already declared it as a no brainer … but I know better than that and came to my senses. The truth is, I liked both burgers.  The Waygu had a slight edge on freshness and flavor, but could have benefitted from having a bit more density. 100% Wagyu patties are soft, there’s no way around it. And, if you ever come across a Wagyu patty that isn’t soft, you might want to question whether it is in fact 100% Waygu or not. I’m pretty some places in town call their burgers “Waygu” burger, when in reality they are just blends. As for the Villa patty, I was pleasantly surprised. I don’t know why, but I was sort of expecting a gristle-infested mess, maybe it has something to do with my last pre-formed patty experiment. Anyway, I liked that this patty was had a bit more body/density than the other patty.

Choice Foods Wagyu Burger PattyVilla Supermarket Frozen Burger Patty

The Verdict: When a few friends were asked at the BBQ which burger they preferred, their answers were split, and I’m almost the same. However, at the end of the day, I’m more of a practical person than extravagant … and while I give the Wagyu patty a slight edge and declare it the winner – for beer heavy BBQ parties, I think the Villa patties meet the grade.

Side Note: ZGI buns can be found at Villa’s, Emporium, K Village and Paragon supermarket.  I recommend tossing them on the grill or giving them a slight toast before “bunning the burger”.

Also, Big thanks to “W” for arranging the BBQ and T&Y for the Wagyu patties.

The Tavern

5 Nov

The Tavern Bangkok Cheeseburger Cut

The Tavern Bangkok Exterior21/19 Sukhumvit Soi 4 (map), Tel. N/A, Website: www.thetavern-bkk.com

Rating: 8/10

Overview: Once again I found myself wandering down Soi 4 looking for a burger joint (ok, it’s really a bar that has a burger) that a few of readers (thx Jeff & Richard, others) had mentioned to me … and after a short stroll, I found it. It was Halloween night, so the street was a tad more interesting than usual and the Soi as lively as ever. At this point, it really is no surprise to me that there are an abundance places serving burgers in this Soi, and if I ever feel like indulging, I’ll have to come down and do my rounds – maybe next Halloween I dress like the McDonald’s Hamburglar and do it. Just a thought.

The Tavern BangkokThe Tavern BangkokThe Tavern Bangkok

Anyway, The Tavern is a small bar that is literally made up of almost only a bar. It sort of reminded me of the bar in Cheers (a tv sitcom from the late 80s-early 90s) – and the theme song “Where everybody knows your name” probably applies here as well. I grabbed a stool, a menu and a beer (in that order) and then placed my order. I have to say, everyone in this bar was quite friendly, and testament to this was that within 5 minutes of me sitting down one, guy bought a round of shots for everyone there.

Cheeseburger: THB 155- (US $5.17)

“1/3 lb. (150g) beef patty, lettuce, tomato, onion and cheese on a toasted sesame seed bun.

The Tavern Bangkok CheeseburgerTwo thumbs up for this burger. I was a bit hesitant to rate it an 8, but I didn’t think 7.5 did it justice. A majority of the burgers I really enjoy have one thing in common … simplicity, and this one met the mark. While I like eating “gourmet” burgers from time to time, I don’t think a burger needs to be fancy to be good.  My only real complaint about this particular burger was that I wished that it was a bit juicier as it was on the verge of being dry. Other than than, it was nicely season and still had a very earthy, meaty taste to it. They were generous with the cheese, and the opting away from the standard processed cheese was a good call on their end. The bun was just your standard, run-0f-the-mill bun … nothing special here. Fries – well, there weren’t any, and I was thankful for that. Actually, they have fries, but you have to order them separately. The Verdict: What can I say – good is good. Not sure if it is the best burger in Bangkok, but it might be the best in Soi 4.

The Tavern Bangkok Cheeseburger GrillThe Tavern Bangkok CheeseburgerThe Tavern Bangkok Cheeseburger Cut

Other:

BTS: Nana