Ah, burgers. I try not to be one of those obnoxious “look at me, look at me” Americans because they give the rest of us a bad name, but it’s still pretty obvious that I’m American. Not only because of my accent and the way I project my voice without consciously meaning to, but in my absolute enthusiasm for meat, cheese, and bread. And being from Texas, not only do I like burgers, I am a burger connoisseur. And sadly most of Shanghai’s options land on the mediocre to mediocre-good portion of the scale.
A bit back I went to The Camel, a pretty popular sports bar in Shanghai, for their Wednesday burger deal (burger and beer/wine for 50 RMB). I had their bacon cheeseburger and yum it was good, but just the standard kind of yum. You know what I mean? Meat, cheese, and bread will nearly always get a checkmark in my book, but it was a bit lacking in flavor and seasoning and just didn’t have that greasy richness I was hoping for. So The Camel won’t make my list, but if I’m in the area on a Wednesday … it’s still a good deal.
Because sometimes you just need a hamburger. And crinkle fries. Especially when there’s free delivery. And if that craving happens about once a week, what’s the big deal?
Oh yes. I don’t understand why people think burgers are oh so unhealthy. What’s in a burger? Bread, meat, vegetable, fruit (the tomato), and dairy. Right there you have your five major food groups. Granted there’s not much nutritional value in the accompanying fries, but they’re good for the soul, so they’re a-okay in my book.
Five years ago when I first arrived in Shanghai, I heard about this hamburger place called Munchies, which was opened by an American, so I gave it a try and promptly fell in love. A lot of the burger joints in Shanghai are the gourmet kind, but Munchies is more of a normal burger place: good service, good food, and decent prices. The food isn’t write-home-about, but it’s solid. Now Munchies has two locations, although I’ve only been to the one. And I will keep going, because it’s good eatin’.
There’s a lot of food in New York. Thank goodness because I’m not a good cook (although for the sake of cheapness, I try). Eating out so often means … yummy midnight leftovers! It also means a very sad bank account … but let’s not think on that, eh?
Beyond Thai Kitchen: Drunken Beef Fried Rice
M&O Market & Deli: Fish Sandwich
Red Rooster: Harlem Chowder
M2M: Hamburger and Fries
All of these are totally recommended. Beyond Thai Kitchen’s drunken fried rice is really darn good and every time I go to M&O I try a different sandwich and am consistently completely satisfied. Red Rooster in Harlem on 125th is pricey, but it’s worth the trek and splurge … at least once. And as for M2M … I can’t even count how many times I’ve been there or how many hamburgers I’ve had from there – I also really don’t think I’d want to know.