Author’s Blurb: Making burgers is something I’ve actually tried before with my partner over the MCO. Granted, we couldn’t find burger buns so we ended up using sandwich bread. Call it a DIY Ramly Sandwich, it was a long hard process that made me appreciate the roadside Ramly Burger ‘bang a lot more.
Launched just a month ago, Pasadena Burger is a new premium burger online delivery service aiming to bring American flavours to Malaysian grounds.
The burgers are inspired by the city of Pasadena in California, home of the world’s first cheeseburger.
To try them, you have 2 options: Make it yourself, or order them ready to eat.
The concept of a “dipping burger” honestly sounded unappealing to me. If this burger had such premium quality ingredients as they say, why mask it in a sauce?
What’s In A Kit?
Disclaimer: We received a box containing ingredients and instructions for their featured DIY Dipping Burgers from the Pasadena Burger team themselves, so we could only review the product and not the delivery service.
The DIY kit we got came with:
- An instruction leaflet,
- 4 muffin burger buns,
- 4 high-grade Australian beef patties,
- 5 cheese slices,
- 4 crispy cheese slices,
- Salt and pepper,
- 3 cheese-based dipping sauces: Honey Cheese, Cajun Spicy Cheese, and Habanero Southern Californian Cheese with Minced Meat.
BYOB (Build Your Own Burger)
To get started, we first watched a short tutorial video they’d sent us on how to assemble the burgers.
We realised that the video actually featured their DIY California Burger, which was why some ingredients (like tomatoes and caramelised onions) didn’t match up with our kit. But it didn’t matter since the steps to building a burger are the same anyways.
First, we had to halve the buns and season the patties.
The instructions called for spreading butter on the buns first, but as we didn’t have butter in our office, we oiled up the pan with olive oil and toasted the buns that way.
The patties were then grilled one at a time to ensure that the meat was properly cooked by the centralised heat of our pantry’s induction stove.
Like most of my cooking experiences, the first two burgers were a messy trial run. We became quicker with the next 2 as we got into the groove of it.
After all the prep, all we had left to do was put the burgers together: bottom bun, patty, crispy cheese, lettuce, mayo, top bun.
In total, due to the constraints of our office kitchen and cooking tools (and admittedly, our lack of experience with them), it took us about 1.5 hours in total to cook up 4 burgers.
If you’re cooking at home and are familiar with the cooking tools you own, the process should go a lot faster because it’s very straightforward, and we don’t believe you need any particular skills to put these burgers together.
Getting Lost In The Sauce
Burgers all cooked up, we did some preliminary cleaning of the first mess, and then began creating the second mess.
We started with the Honey Cheese sauce, pushing in an edge of a burger into the sauce, dripping it on the table a little. Upon reaching my mouth, it overpowered my palate, and I was not a fan.
If the idea was to mask the beefy flavours of the patty—which I love, by the way—with a creamy sweet and salty cheese dip, then Pasadena Burger has done its job. I thought it was a bit of a shame, and found it a bit jelak too.
Instead, I decided to just spread the sauce into the burger and eat it like a regular one (I can’t stand mess). I went with my favourite out of the three, which was the Habanero Southern Californian Cheese with Minced Meat.
My colleague, on the other hand, who unlike me isn’t a huge fan of burgers in general, loved it. She enjoyed having a dipping sauce on the side as the burgers weren’t as juicy as she would’ve liked.
That was in part due to the firm, drier buns, which we asked the Pasadena Burger team about as to why they didn’t just use regular burger buns.
They replied, “English muffin buns are sturdier compared to regular buns and more suitable to be dipped into our dipping sauces.”
My colleague polished off her burger by drenching it in several different sauces as if it was french fries, which sadly weren’t included in the kit.
From the few of us who tried it, we agreed that our favourite sauce was the Habanero Southern Californian Cheese with Minced Meat, as it had a nice balance of savouriness and even texture.
Honey Cheese was nice, but it’s probably the sauce you’d get jelak of the fastest, and Cajun Spicy Cheese tasted a little thin and watered down.
One thing that we wished was done is the labelling of the sauces, as there were none to identify which was what. It ended up being a guessing game of reading their descriptors online and matching them to each sauce.
Was It Worth It?
Call me spoilt, but if I were paying RM98 for 4 burgers (RM24.50 each) and dipping sauces, they should come warm and ready to eat, which is the other option, albeit for a slightly higher price per burger.
My colleagues and I agreed that the burgers on their own (sans dipping sauce) didn’t justify their price, and believe that you’re paying more for the experience of the concept than anything else.
If you prefer ready to eat burgers, it’ll cost you RM26 for an a la carte Dipping Burger, and RM28 for the set with fries and a soft drink. Both of these also come with 3 dipping sauces.
Too Early To Be Certain Of Success
As Pasadena Burger doesn’t yet have a physical joint or an established brand in the Malaysian market, selling their burgers as an experience that involves cooking them yourself—similar to MyBurgerLab’s Home Kits in April—plus the banjir concept of the dipping sauces might just work for them.
However, one has to wonder if Malaysians will only be trying them out once or twice for the novelty of it, or if Pasadena Burger will be seeing a stable customer base eventually.
The team is confident that they’re here to stay though, as they said, “Besides our dipping burgers, we also offer classic Californian cheeseburgers and that’s what they are—classic. That’s why it has staying power.”
“In the future, we plan on introducing various new dipping sauces as well as flavours, constantly innovating for our customers to come back and try new things.”
Overall, if the responses from me and my colleagues are anything to go by, we believe that Pasadena Burger will be attractive to a portion of the population, and hard to sell for the rest.
It’s too early for them to share any substantial numbers yet, but as long as Pasadena is able to target the right crowd of experimental eaters who are also gourmet burger and cheese lovers, we believe that they could amass a solid following.
Bottom Line: Pasadena Burger could even take the opportunity to sell their sauces on their own, like what Nando’s does with theirs. Package them in bottles, sell it on the shelf, and let people enjoy it as a condiment with other snacks.