When I first came to Thailand, a lot of successful western-style food purveyors had arrived and failed miserably.
Pizza Hut and Subway to name just a couple. Thai people just hadn’t warmed up to bread, cheese and burgers yet.
Nowadays it is obvious that tastes have changed. The expanding waistline of Thai teenagers is evidence of that.
Double cheeseburgers, super-sized fries and half-liter sugar-laden soft drink containers abound. Subway, McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC and half a dozen different pizza providers flourish all over Thailand.
So I’ll let you in on a little secret about me. I’m a burger snob. To be honest, I’m not much of a meat eater. But, when my brain tells my body it’s time for a burger, I won’t settle for anything but perfection. I do not eat fast food burgers from Mickey D’s or Burger King. The closest I will come to that is Carl’s Jr., which by the way is a damn good burger. But once again, to be honest, at Carl’s Jr., it’s more about the onion rings and hand dipped milk shakes.
But last month I stumbled upon Burger Nirvana. And that’s the story this picture is telling. I’d just come out of Apoteka on Sukhumvit Soi 11 after listening to some ear-blistering blues from local legend Benz and his band. As I rounded the corner I noticed what looks like a food truck restaurant bolted to the front of a building with an adjoining bar. The name of the place was Daniel Thaiger and it was busy as hell. Some cool tunes were emanating from inside, so I trundled in and ordered a frosty German beer.
The aroma of sizzling meat was absolutely intoxicating, so I asked for a menu. I’d heard of Daniel Thaiger before but shrugged it off as some hipster food truck thing. The menu was intriguing but I was skeptical. Anytime a burger-maker makes a big deal about the bun … I’m skeptical. I opted for the Thaiburger with the classic accouterments of grilled onions, tomato, lettuce and a mysterious “Thaiger” sauce on the much ballyhooed brioche bun. It came steaming to my table encased in a classic burger wrapper leaking decadent juices all over the place. Quite simply, it is the best damn burger I’d ever had …period. And by the way … that brioche bun totally makes a difference.
But that’s not the story this picture is telling. The burger in this picture is another Daniel Thaiger creation that takes burgers to the next level. This is a lamb-burger with double smoked bacon, cheese, jalapenos and yet another mysterious BBQ sauce. It’s called “The Cowboy”. I nearly ordered two; one to eat and the other to roll around in.
Now I look at the evolution of Thai tastes and cuisine in Bangkok in a different light. I’m sad to see the fat kids gulping down Big Macs and slurping tankards of Coke on the road to juvenile diabetes. On the other hand, somebody in Thailand has captured the true spirit of the burger and actually offered a new and improved version.
Take it from a burger snob … Daniel Thaiger rocks.