Monday, May 30, 2011

The Kathmandu Burger Project

As I mentioned in this post it is tough to make a really good burger in Kathmandu, but this hasn't deterred me from trying. So yesterday I gave it my first real attempt since I've been living here, and despite some of the components being substandard the result wasn't bad at all. 

Real Hamburger- Step One

Getting real, decent hamburger in this country is a little tougher than most due to its Hindu heritage. Why people of various religions think God(s) is(are) interested in micromanaging our diets is beyond me, but I digress. Nina & Hagar's supplies ground beef tenderloin and it can be purchased for a reasonable price, but it does come frozen. Despite this, the quality seemed decent, although defrosted hamburg is harder to shape properly. I made use of wax paper and a rolling pin with a little shoring up of the edges with my hands afterwards to create burgers that would cook evenly.

Condiments, toppings & Bread

What prompted me to finally put this all together is that a shipment of cheese from the US arrived via Harilo a few days ago. While you can get some Australian cheddars that aren't terrible, they aren't really quite right. For this time around I cut up some New York sharp cheddar and grilled up some bacon for New York cheddar & bacon burgers. In addition I grilled up some onions, mushrooms, peppers, chopped some fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and broke out the Heinz ketchup (though I may start making ketchup from scratch) and Grey Poupon. 

One difficulty was still the bread. Kim made some really nice bread the other day, but I have no head for baking. So I went off to European Bakery, which produces some of the better bread products in town, only to find that they were closed. Stuck between a rock and a hard place I lowered myself to buy the rolls at Bhat Betini- and these are rather terrible. It looks like a roll but the texture is just all wrong, it's far too light, and they disintegrate rather easily, not unlike Wonderbread. To combat this I toasted the rolls over  a girdle which firmed them up, and lets face it, toasted rolls are better anyway.

Result- New York Cheddar Bacon Burger

I'm happy to report that the first test run was relatively successful. The weakest link was the bread, but I'm confidant we can overcome that problem. The burger itself was quite tasty, the cheese we shipped worked out well, the bacon was good, and the toppings were all there. Although I'd normally have a burger with fries, recent events have had me cooking more fried food than I like to eat, so instead I took the opportunity to make some other items I had wanted to test out including some walnut & Gorgonzola stuffed mushrooms and a salad with apple, cranberries, walnuts, cucumber, Gorgonzola, tomato and tossed in olive oil. This is just one burger of a list of about a dozen I have to experiment with so I'll be sure to update my pursuit of burger perfection in the hardest place on earth to make a good burger. 


  1. Brian, where are you finding Gorgonzola!?

  2.! Yeah it was shipped from the States. No Gorgonzola in the Du.

  3. Great post. More people should take the time to write about burgers. Burgers are great. Burgers are yummy. I truly appreciate your devotion to making the world's finest food in a difficult environment. Cheers to you.

  4. Hi Brian,

    Glad to see the experimenting is going well! Although apparently Nina and Hager's burgers aren't to shabby:

    I do hope walnut and gorgonzola mushrooms make it to the final menu!

  5. Sure there is gorgonzola in the du, produced by Danish company Arla! Opposite the greenwich hotel and the shops on the restaurant street in jamhel have gorgonzola!


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