Echo Eats: Which Popular Hamburger is the Best?

Written by Alexander Kuek

 

Welcome back to your monthly instalment of Echo Eats, where we review and hunt for food to enhance your student experience here at Sunway. This month, we tackle a fast food classic: the hamburger.

The original hamburger was invented in Texas in the late 1880s. Since its introduction, it has evolved into the global food phenomenon that’s been known and loved for decades, and undergone several iterations, most notably the McDonald’s Big Mac. With an estimated 900 million sold annually, this classic burger continues to feed happy customers 51 years after its introduction, practically ruling the fast food market.

However, increasingly tight competition from rivals like KFC and Burger King resulted in equally dazzling burgers consumed by a growing number of customers, greatly impacting Big Mac sales. In other countries, local burger chains have also started up and grown fast. Hometown hero myBurgerLab is part of this next generation of new and emerging stars, and has been taking the nation by storm (and threatening the Mac’s share of our market) since 2012. So has the all-time fast food favorite lost its luster, or has it gotten better with age?

To find out, here’s a selection of burgers from popular fast food chains within the RM 8-20 price range, within the affordability of most students.

 

The Big Mac

Kicking off the list is the definitive hamburger, the signature dish that started a global craze.

image1

Price: 4 out of 5

The Mac has a price of RM 10.40 (with fries and an optional drink.) For not much more than a regular sized McDonald’s burger you get twice the meat, twice the bread, and twice the pleasure. Although not a bad price in any way, you wouldn’t be wrong for asking yourself if you really should be paying that much for one fast food item.

Taste: 3 out of 5

Surprisingly, I personally found that the taste doesn’t compare that well to the other burgers, especially considering the fact that it’s the largest one on the list. While it does fill you up pretty nicely, the lettuce has an awkward texture, and tastes just as bland as the double beef patties which don’t exude much flavor. However, I did enjoy the flavour of the sauce, which hasn’t lost any of its goodness and makes the Mac still worthy of being considered for a meal.

Overall: 7 out of 10

The verdict: A nice little snack and a good substitute for what you’d usually eat for lunch, although not the best tasting in my opinion. Could use a few improvements.

 

The KFC Zinger Burger

image4

The Zinger marks KFC’s entry into the burger market, aiming to rival McDonald’s Big Mac and other burgers being produced by the increasingly large fast food chains.

Price: 4 out of 5

You can get the Zinger at RM 11.20 with the Combo option (i.e. with fries and a drink) or at RM 8.90 with the a la carte option. Despite selling at about twice the price of a typical low-end McDonald’s burger of equal size (like the McChicken), this definitely looks like twice the quality.  

Taste: 4.5 out of 5

It’s smaller than the Mac, but unlike that, this burger has a far richer flavour. The lettuce tastes (and looks) much fresher, with its texture further enhanced by that of the smooth mayonnaise that provides the melt-in-your-mouth feeling one is looking for. The most noticeable part of the thick chicken patty is that it’s crisp, but the flesh is just as juicy.  

Overall: 8.5 out of 10

The verdict: I thought this was not bad at all for a first try. The Zinger is a great burger that packs a punch, despite being of a usual size.

 

The Texas Chicken Spicy Tex Supreme

Possibly the mother of all Texas Chicken burgers (well, second only to the slightly larger Mexicana Burger). It’s big, it’s bad, and it’s here to give you a taste you’ll never forget.

image3

Price: 4.5 out of 5

What really is surprising about this burger is that it’s the cheapest one on the list while still being of nearly the same size as the Big Mac. Like the Zinger, it has a Combo and an a la carte option, going at RM 12.60 and RM 8.60 respectively. But its value for money is just exceptionally great. All this for less than RM 10? Now that’s what you call a deal.

Taste: 4 out of 5

I was pleasantly surprised by the lettuce and mayonnaise of this burger, which taste just as fresh as that of the Zinger’s, as well as the tomatoes. Its cheese is also the tastiest of the three, and goes really well with the chicken patty (which is a little less crispy than the Zinger). The main highlight of this burger is its spice, which seems just a little too strong for such a casual dish. Just one bite and that burning feeling sets in, leaving me thirsting for a cold drink (thus, I would highly recommend getting a drink to accompany your meal).

Overall: 8.5 out of 10

The Spicy Tex Supreme does indeed live up to its name, and provides the best value for money, in my opinion. But if you can’t handle any spice, this definitely isn’t for you.

 

Conclusion: The overall verdict

The Mac still remains the choice of most despite its flaws, but I feel it’s fallen behind more innovative brands willing to experiment with its flavours. It’s a close fight between the Zinger and Tex Supreme for me, but with all things considered, the Zinger takes this one. While some might argue it lacks character compared to its two larger cousins, it provides the perfect blend of taste and affordability which few other burgers possess. McDonald’s ought to learn something from this newcomer that just schooled its decades-old icon.

 

~ BONUS! ~

The BurgerLab Spicy Hawaiian

image51.jpg

This isn’t a fast food burger, but just for kicks, let’s examine a local take on the beloved hamburger, the Spicy Hawaiian. This burger packs the spice of the Tex Supreme in a Zinger-sized serving.

Price: 4 out of 5

The Spicy Hawaiian is the most expensive compared to the three fast food burgers, coming with a price of RM 17, but it’s worth the buck you pay. While some may automatically go for the cheaper Zinger of the same size, let’s not forget that this burger falls into the gourmet burger category, unlike the other three options. BurgerLab specialises in burgers and burgers alone, and use hand-crafted meat patties of better quality than the others, which explains its higher price. The black charcoal buns are also a unique addition to this delectable dish.

Taste: 4 out of 5

The chicken patty isn’t as crispy as that of the Zinger’s or as chunky as that of the Tex Supreme’s, but it sure does taste good. For the highest price on this list you get the largest blend of flavors, the salty succulent chicken combined with the sweet pineapple and the cheese, the sharp taste of the mushrooms and the sauce; makes it the burger with the most ingredients on this list – and a feast fit for a king (or a local burger connoisseur).

Overall: 8 out of 10

While it does come with a higher price tag, the goodness of this local favourite makes it a strong competitor amongst the elite burger league, and simply can’t be held to the same standards of comparison as the fast food burgers. Besides, it’s also great to dine at a local business now and again to show your support to the growing local cuisine scene.

 

That’s it for this month’s edition of Echo Eats! Make sure to leave a comment with suggestions for next month’s topic, and have fun trying out the burgers on this list! We sure did.

Recommended Articles