The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

A different kind of burger @ R Burger, Tokyo

It's no big secret that I'm not a big fan of burgers. I don't dislike burgers - I will eat them, I just won't go out of my way to eat burgers on my own. Having a husband who likes a well-made burger means that I have to, on occasions, give in to eat burgers. In the last year or so, I'd given premium fast food burgers a chance at Freshness Burger where burgers are made fresh to order, tried gourmet-style at The Great Burger, and even braved the cold and the long queue to eat at the famous NYC burger joint, the Shake Shack. These are probably considered pretty good burgers, but I'm still standing firmly on the fence with burgers and can't really see the appeal of the usually-greasy processed meat patty doused in high sodium sauces which can't be good for your arteries.

We have often walked past the R Burger ("Revolutionary Burger") café in Roppongi, and a quick glance at the menu on the window by the sidewalk piqued our curiousity (or at least Rob's). I must admit that I didn't exactly jump at Rob's suggestion to try it out some day, but after doing a little googling, even I got pretty eager to go to R Burger. The burgers at R Burger are quite novel and different to the usual burgers, and burger purists may even dislike these ones, which are purported to be healthy and even good for you. Anyone who has eaten any type of Chinese bao (buns) - e.g. charsiu bao (barbecue pork buns) at dimsum, and mantou (plain steamed bun), just to name a couple - will instantly recognise the R Burger buns. The fluffy steamed white buns are a delicious substitute to the normal buns, and with the pork patty filling, the burger reminds me of the da bao (big meat-filled steamed buns, as featured in a previous blog entry) which I haven't encountered in almost 4 years in Japan. And these buns are great for the health and beauty conscious because R Burger puts collagen in their buns which supposedly stimulates collagen production in our body to help reduce wrinkles and encourage skin renewal (whatever that means!). R Burger is a Japanese concept, so the menu is decidedly Japanese with flavours like ume sauce, miso sauce and wasabi soy sauce.

Enough with the spiel, and now onto the food! We got a serve of the Vietnamese-style Stick Salad to share, which was simple but nice with crisp fresh vegetables, boiled shrimp and roast pork wrapped in chewy rice paper. Quite healthy, and it went well with the sesame sauce.

Honey got the Avocado Wasabi Burger (beef burger) with the Tofu Nuggets Combo Set, Rob ordered the Kurozu Burger (pork with Chinese black vinegar sauce) and I had the R Burger (pork with miso sauce). I think Honey and Rob liked this deep-fried bite-sized mock chicken nugget, but since I'm not a big fan of anything deep-fried, I thought it was only okay. I was pleased when I took a bite from my burger, as it tasted just like a Chinese bau. The meat patty was moist and succulent, like it had been steamed rather than fried, with a texture similar to the meat filling inside a bau. The miso sauce had a subtle flavour, and the shiso leaf gave a different but nice flavour to the burger. Rob's pork burger was very similar to mine. I had a little bite of Honey's burger, and I could taste the wasabi but it wasn't in an overpoweringly strong way. Honey was a little disappointed with her beef burger and said that next time she'll go for the pork as it goes much better with the steamed buns than the beef.

Honey's beef burger set; and the pork burgers:

The dessert looked quite decent too, and the Classic Chocolate Cake and Rare Cheese Cake got our thumbs ups.

This is perhaps the first burger experience that I honestly enjoyed, although both Rob and Honey (fans of burgers) said that you can't really compare this with the "real" burgers. Well, I liked it, and I especially liked how it is healthier than other burgers out there - organic vegetables, specific pathogen-free pork, premium chicken. This is one burger joint I'll be happy to re-visit!


  1. Re: Niku-man?

  2. Niku-man?
    What do you mean you haven't encountered da pao in Japan? That's basically what Niku-man is, yeah? You can get ones pretty similar to pao even if they tend to not be with everyone trying to reinvent it...

  3. Re: Niku-man?
    Niku-man is normal pao. Da bao is bigger with lots of fillings including a boiled egg (or half of one) :)