Burgers are a staple of Western culture; from a beer and burger in your local Wetherspoons on a Thursday or a Maccy D's when hungover to treating yourself to a Five Guys when out shopping... But how do you navigate finding a burger in a country synonymous with rice and noodles? Every year, Beijing holds food festivals dedicated to different food types. Read on to find out who won the title of Best Burger in Beijing.
Fear no more... I've done the belt busting work of chowing down on burgers so you don't need to.
When you don't know anywhere else nearby...
Blue Frog (#9 in the Beijinger Burger Cup 2020)
A staple in most shopping malls around major cities in China, Blue Frog offers a pretty standard burger, at a reasonable price. It's the place to go when you don't know what you want to eat and you are out shopping. Ideal on Monday's for a Buy One, Get One deal on all burgers before taking on the 100 Shots challenge! A positive of BF, is that you can have your patty cooked to your choice- Well done, medium, rare... it's your call. If you're a Brit or aware of UK culture, Blue Frog is basically your China based Wetherspoons.
If you love a craft beer with your burger...
Great Leap Brewing (#5 in Beijinger Burger Cup 2020)
Great Leap is your typical brewery- industrial in style, chalkboards with numbered brews to choose from including guest beers and typical brew pub food on the menu. The menu boats a few basic burgers and a set of awesome appetisers and pizzas to share with the crew at a good price. With a few locations across Beijing, you will always find one nearby to satisfy your cravings. The burger patties are of a good quality and hearty in size. Great for a meet up with your mates.
Beersmith (#4 in Beijinger Burger Cup 2020)
More upscale version of a brewery than GLB and set in Central Business District in Hotel Jen, this makes a great option for a date night. The Beersmith menu has a diverse set of options on their burger menu- from Wagyu sliders to Venison with sauerkraut. The burger patties are thick and juicy with a homemade quality. Beersmith also offers Live music and big screens for watching sports- more suitable for a night with the girls/ guys. Beersmith is a great option for any event/ occasion.
Slow Boat (#2 in Beijinger Burger Cup 2020)
Slow Boat is a favourite amongst Beijingers, not only for their juicy, thick burgers and beer but also the laid back atmosphere. Started by American friends, expats group to the many locations for quality and quantity! Also SB were last year's burger cup winners and with burgers such as the Fryburger and Lao Thai Thai, it's no surprise they are a firm favourite. Situated around Sanlitun and the hutongs, its easy to see why they are so successful. Offering not just craft beer and burgers, even the fussiest member of the group will find something they like.
Great for somewhere off the beaten path
Andy's 3 Little Pigs (#7 in Beijinger Burger Cup 2020)
Non-fussy, straight up good grub. Andy hails from the USA and uses home made ingredients in his burgers for authentic USA style burgers served with Tater tots. Known mostly for his sausages, Andy's offers a great hangover cure in his small, cosy eatery and bar! When ordering be sure to upgrade your burger by adding Andy's BBQ Pulled Pork. You can find Andy's hidden down a Hutong near to Zhangzizhanglu station (Line 5)... If at first, you miss the hidden door, do not give up- the taste of home is worth it.
Somewhere New and Upcoming
Known by jingers as Henry's Sliders, he is opening up a new spot by Liangmaqiao river selling his wagyu sliders and renowned duck fat fries! Wash it down with his home made gin. If you can't wait for the spot to open you can order on the food delivery services. I was lucky enough to get my hands on one at the recent Spicy Fest. Definitely a contender for the 2021 Burger fest!
BEST OF THE BEST
Side Street (Winner of Best Burger in Beijing- Beijinger Burger Cup 2020)
Situated in the hutong area of Gulou, this small restaurant/ bar offers great service with even better food. With bright neon lights and industrial interior it is a must visit before a night out in the hutong bars. All burgers can be opted into Vegan or Vegetarian options with items removed or added to preference. SS also boasts a set of pre-made vegetarian/ vegan burgers on their menu. All burgers have the option of adding either regular or sweet potato fries. The tastiest appetisers on the menu are the Spineless Bird- bourbon BBQ or Buffalo sauce topped OR the Love Handles cheese sticks with a spicy chutney for dipping!
Don't forget to order a Bembel cider or a pink MG Gin and Tonic to go with your order.
Recommendations: El Cholo 2.0; Squatter; KO; Bacon Blues; Southern Tikka; Hutong Hipster.
Pictured below: (Top L-R) El Cholo 2.0; K.O; Squatter (no bacon)
(Bottom L-R) Regular Squatter and El Cholo 2.0; Buffalo Spineless Bird; Shots of Fireball.
All images are my own.
Copyright Lauren Toner 2021