Burgers are big business

THERE used to be a time when, aside from Mamak food, burgers were the go-to food for my single friends and I whenever we found ourselves with our wallets holding more receipt stubs than actual cash.

The Ramly burger pakcik, who could be found stationed every night under a tree near the local 7Eleven became our best friend - and it seems, all the neighbourhood youths too - as he lovingly prepared our buns that sandwiched a gloriously oily beef patty, or two, complete with yummy sunny side up and lettuce leaves that I'm sure have seen better days.

Fast forward to today and what do you know? Burgers are big business. The last time I had one of those oily patties was many moons ago (thankfully, finances have improved) but a recent visit to a popular stand just in front of our local mamak haunt (because the kids were howling for it) illustrated just how much this humble street food has evolved.

Manned by some seriously industrious youths, the stand boasted burger patties that lay on a bed of green apple slices instead of soggy lettuce. The menu was a foot long (I exaggerate) and the queue that snaked out from the stand and obstructed traffic comprised hordes of hungry youngsters.

A friend recently told me about another very popular burger "outlet" called Hardcore Burger in leafy Taman Tun Dr Ismail that does roaring trade too just from a simple stall by the roadside.

It is famous for its "... two beefed-up patties that stack as high as an iPhone5!" The burger craze seems to have started sometime in 2012.

Today, it's no longer just a roadside fare hankered after by those with thin wallets. Judging by the rapid mushrooming of gourmet burger outlets around the country, it seems that burgers are sashaying down the culinary catwalk and into the hearts of urban foodies who aren't fazed by the sometimes astronomical price of luxury in a bap.

These days, the choices in patties - from beef to rabbit meat - sauces and fillings are so adventurous that foodies really do have a hard time choosing from the expansive menu. It's no wonder that one is often never enough!