There are various burger joints in and around the valley that serve a great burger. However, burgers in Nepal have the tendency to be ordinary. A meat patty topped with the standard lettuces, tomatoes, and onion with generous amounts of mayo and a splash of ketchup between a crumbling bun. As good as those burgers are, in hindsight they could’ve always been better.
Well, things have finally begun to fall into place. Slowly but steadily better burgers seem to be arriving in Nepal. If there is any indication of a turf war going on, feast your eyes around the Jhamshikel-Sanepa area where there have been a number of eateries and restaurants popping up that serve a killer burger.
‘Turf War’, or to better put it, ‘a healthy competition’ between various burgers joints in about 3-4 Km vicinity is something we can all benefit from. For starters, a healthy competition between such eateries, and in our context burger places can only mean that the quality of the product and service will be less likely to drop and that the customers will always be left satisfied and willing to come back for more.
A Kathmandu Post story documents, the late Café Culture pioneer Shyam Kakshapati as the man who introduced burgers and hamburgers in Nepal. But regardless of who came up with the first burger or who created the first burger in Nepal, the most important thing is the burger is here and currently, with the burger obsession we are experiencing in the valley, it’s fair to say, it is here to stay.
The best burger can be a subjective topic for many reasons. Preferential taste, the consistency of the buns, the juiciness of the patties, the special sauce, the veggies, and the extra condiments; all make a difference in what people prefer in their burgers. So, we visited the following burger establishment to try and devour the best they had to offer (without their knowledge). And without any preferential opinion; they all get a solid ‘A’ in my books. A solid ‘A’ for not only what they had to offer (burgers) but what they represent and are doing to expand and improve the specialty food industry in the Valley.
The burgers at Lama are a beautiful mess. Inspired by authentic Serbian traditional recipes and American burgers, this spot offers customers great buffalo burgers, topped with an in-house sauce, fresh and natural ingredients, and a generous amount of creamy cheese.
All the burgers at Lama look delicious and the most difficult part about dining at Lama is deciding which burger you would want to have. Most of the burger patties here are buff, but you do have a few other options as well. The generous amounts of creamy cheese in almost all of the burgers acts like a fondue sauce that pairs with the other condiments, and the juicy patty giving a gooey texture to every bite. Needless to say, if you are a fan of a messy burger, Lama Burger hits the spot.
In addition, the Magical burger comes with a double buff patty filled with Kanchan cheese, caramelized onions, added bacon, and topped with burger sauce. And if you still want to go extra, just order the Magical Giant burger with four patties on it. Take it from me, it’s extra magical.
Other great options like American Classic Burger, Black Hawk, and Monster Burger are also on the menu. The Mt. Everest burger on the menu defiantly catches the eye and it looks the part as well. The burger comes with all the ingredients served in a solid premium bun. The patty is thick and juicy, and cooked to perfection retaining all the flavors.
Burger Shack is known for their premium American-styled burgers and shakes. Quickly making a name for themselves in the market with their unique buns, flat yet juicy patties, and their special house sauce that is made as per their own specification.
Burger Shack offers diners various American-style burgers, from the standard chicken and buff burgers to the elaborate double melts and quarter pounders and least not to mention the surprisingly delicious veggie burger. Seriously, give it a try, if it wasn’t for the vegetable patty, the special sauce definitely works its magic here. The Egg Muffin is as good as the ones the Ronald McDonald commercials claim to be.
Their new Texas Fried Chicken is refreshing addition on the menu too. The special Thai chili sauce mixes well with the deep-fried breaded chicken breast fillet with creole mayonnaise and iceberg lettuce. Needless to say, the Texas Fried Chicken offers something new in comparison to the “tried and tasted” Crispy Chicken burgers of Kathmandu.
However, the wildcard in this establishment is the New Yorker. The magic in this particular item on the menu is the special BBQ sauce on the patty, which is then topped with non-other than the dreaded pineapple. Now, most would think that pineapple doesn’t belong in a savory sandwich. I too am a purist who believes that pineapple does not belong on a pizza, nor should it be on a burger.
However, I’ll be the first one to admit when I’m wrong. The New Yorker is surprisingly delicious. The sweet citrusy juices of the pineapple marinate well with grilled chicken patty and the special sauce. It’s a weird combination, but it’s a brilliant combination.
One thing I have experienced from eating one too many burgers from this establishment is consistency. Burger shack has never altered from its original taste from their very first burgers till the ones they serve today. Restaurants, and to a certain extent the greater food and beverage industry is rather volatile in the country, and a fluctuation in taste and/or quality level is often treated as normal. Burger shack has steadfastly been consistent, and the fact that a restaurant can maintain its original quality and taste for years is quite amazing.
The Workshop eatery
The Workshop eatery was better known for its donuts; however, they are making a name for themselves with their ever-expanding menu that now includes Tex-Mex and of course burgers.
It’s been a pleasure dining and watching this establishment morph from a small eatery that could only house about a dozen customers at a time to a larger fast food model establishment that resembles the best fast-food chains around the world.
The Buff Cheese Burgers are popular by demand but the best item on their burger menu has to be their Grilled Chicken Burgers. The marinated grill chicken topped with ranch sauce, tomato salsa, and guacamole on brioche buns is constructed to perfection and not messy at all. To add, the Veggie Delight Burger over here is great as well and on most occasions a single Veggie Delight is never enough. Other scrumptious items on the menu include the Classic Cheese Burger, the Bacon Cheese Burger, and the Nashville Style.
Special mention has to be given to the Workshop American Classic burger. It’s constructed with a freshly grilled buff patty topped with ketchup, mustard sauce, caramelized onions, pickles, tomatoes, and cheddar cheese on a toasted sesame seed bun. The only thing better on the menu is the Double Workshop American Classic burger, with double the patties.
Over the years the Workshop Eatery has amassed a loyal cohort of regulars — both local and expatriates who come in for the spot’s quality and consistency. Plus, they do offer one of the better donuts in the valley. The eatery has done a fantastic job expanding to a larger venue, and the hordes of people lining up to place their order clearly affirms the popularity of the joint.
Every once in a while, a new restaurant pops up that offers the patrons a new take on a dish that hasn’t seen a lot of change — after all what is a burger other than a meat patty between two pieces of bread. Queens Eatery is such an establishment that has been a game changer when it comes to serving a mean burger. It’s no surprise that they have accumulated such a loyal brand of customers in such a short time.
Influenced by North American culture and cuisine, Queen’s gourmet burgers are probably the best thing to happen to burgers in Nepal since its original introduction to the country. When it comes to its burgers, everything the eatery serves is made from scratch; from the patties, the sauce, coleslaw, and most importantly the buns. There’s an old belief that one can tell the quality of a burger from the quality of the buns. If that’s the rule of thumb then this burger joint has hit the mark. It is soft yet firm enough to hold in all the tantalizing juices from the patties without turning into a soppy soggy mess.
Queens is not limited to just burgers. They also have an assortment of appetizers, donuts, and other breakfast entrees. That being said, burgers are clearly the protagonist in the menu. They have interesting takes on burgers; Pan-Asian burgers like Tofu Burgers or Thai Satai Chicken Burgers and Kimchi Burgers, as well as the internationally labeled Oklahoma Onion Burger, Black and Blue Burger, and Black Bean burgers. Once again, they are something that no other eateries in the area offer and it gives them a unique edge over the competition.
Despite the wide array of options made available, the two most popular selection for this eatery has to be the Queens Burger and the BBQ Pulled Pork Burger. The Queens Burger comes with a double buff patty, topped with bacon, jalapenos cream cheese, garlic mayo, and American cheese.
The BBQ pulled pork burger is a Friday special. This burger has a lot going on. The caramelized marinated pulled pork is topped with a salad dressing made of beetroot and cabbage. This burger has to be the crown jewel in the Queens menu which sets itself apart from anything else available in other eateries and restaurants in the area.
The ‘thunderbolt’ in their name should’ve been a clue that the burgers in this joint have to be so good that the diners are left ‘thunderstruck’. Food Struck is a new eatery located in Jamsikhel that specializes in pulled meat sandwiches and burgers with original international and local flavors.
They offer four categories of burgers; Basic Burgers, Classic Burgers, Signature Burgers, and Authentic Burgers. Classic Burgers have everything that standard chicken, buff, and veggie burgers elsewhere have, and more. They consist of pulled buff burgers, and crispy and grilled chicken burgers. The patties in the crispy and grilled burgers can be replaced with tofu for the vegetarians out there.
The Authentic Burgers option is where the east kind of meets the west. The Newa-American combo of the Kachila Burger consists of a traditionally marinated buff minced grilled patty and the Choila Burger with its aromatic spices and herbs infused grilled buff meat is a welcome spin on the traditional burger. The Kachila and Choila Burger definitely stand out from the rest, and the customers are certainly getting what they paid for this mouthwatering combination.
And lastly, Signature Burgers have an array of creatively named burgers such as the Buffalo Soldiers, Twisted Transister, and Fishy Blinders. The latter burger was a marinated grilled basa fish layered with coleslaw, mayo, and ketchup and topped with lettuce and cheese that was cooked to perfection and was delicious. However, the best burger that sits figuratively on the top of the mountain for this burger joint, is the ‘14 Peaks (Nim’s Burger)’. The ingredients have everything one can think of, from freshly grilled buff or pork patties and/or crispy chicken cutlet layered perfectly on lettuce, coleslaw, melted cheese, siracha mayo, honey mustard mayo, signature sauce, and topped off with bacon, eggs, caramelized onion and crispy cheese on premium toasted buns. Yes, that’s a mouthful!
The 14 Peaks Burger meets all the criteria for a delicious burger and even more. Eating this burger is quite an experience. And overall, you will not be disappointed with the quality and the flavors you can find with any of the burgers at Food Struck.
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