Editor's Note: Today's guest post comes from food blogger and street food vendor Daniel O'Sullivan of Street Foodie. When he first appeared on AHT back in 2009, he was an English teacher in Busan, South Korea, an experience that fueled his love for street food. Now he's in London sharing what he loves with his Korean-style "slider" street stall. (If you're in London, follow him on twitter at @street_foodie for his latest location and opening hours.) Today he brings us a taste of one of Malaysia's most popular fast foods, the Ramly Burger. If you have any burger intel you want to share, please contact us at [email protected].
You can't make a Ramly Burger without breaking some eggs.
There's an undeniable sense of theater that goes into making a Ramly Burger. The flipping, cracking, folding, and squeezing it takes to make one creates a sense of anticipation unmatched by any street burger I've eaten. But is it worth it? Many Malaysians certainly think so. Since the Ramly Burger was created in 1979 by Ramly Monkin, the family business has grown to supply thousands of street vendors, earning the "Ramly Special" an untouchable place as Malaysia's favorite burger. Part of this popularity may be because Ramly likes to do things a little differently.
[Tip: Burger purists may wish to "x" away now.]
1. The Meat
If you're the type of person who agonizes over which handmade chuck/brisket blend makes the most satisfying burger, then the Ramly Special isn't for you. Ramly burger patties all come from the same meat processing factory on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. Although meat quality has improved in recent years, the burgers were once famously banned in Singapore due to concerns over the low quality beef.
2. The Eggy Envelope
Part of the Ramly's appeal is down to its unique cooking method. Towards the end of cooking, an egg is cracked onto the center of the hotplate and spread out. The burger is then placed onto the egg and the edges are folded over to make a thin covering around the entire burger. This creates a sealed pocket that contains and restricts toppings and burger juice run-off.
3. The Condiments
The Ramly burger boasts a unique set of toppings and condiments. Ingredients vary between vendors, but a few are common to most. A healthy dollop of margarine is usually placed directly onto the patty itself, along with Worcester sauce (always Lea and Perrins) and a few shakes of Maggi seasoning. After the egg has been folded, cheese, lettuce, and ketchup are added.
Although by no means the best burger I've eaten, the Ramly Special won me over with its unique taste and cult personality. The meat isn't great, but there are plenty of other things going on to attract your attention. The strong flavors of the Worcester sauce, margarine and Maggi seasoning assert themselves individually, but also blend with the egg to make an addictive combination. Meanwhile, the shredded lettuce, melted cheese and sweet ketchup provide enough traditional burger comfort to make sure the Ramly stays true to its roots. The result is a burger high on taste and brimming with Malaysian charm.