When I was growing up in Guwahati, Assam, more than 30 years ago, the burger was a good-old dish that didn’t had much fan following. That was a time when Mc Donalds and KFC had not touched the shores of India.
When I came to Delhi in 2002, I found burgers and patties being widely sold in carts on wheels. It used to cost Rs 10 then. The patty inside the burger is mostly made of potato, two slices of tomato and a few pieces of chopped cabbage leaves. As a newbie to Delhi, it was my favourite, and then typhoid happened, and it has been 15 years, I have not dared to eat the road-side burger again. Much later when I was in 2nd year of my college and I was entrusted with the responsibility of arranging food for the farewell party. I chanced upon the burgers of the Unique bakery in Zakir Nagar — a complete desi burger, high on mayonnaise. It was an instant love, although by then I was also frequenting Mc Donalds.
Pardon me vegetarians, but I am of the opinion that a burger should be lion-hearted — just the way Americans intended it to be — and for that it has to be made of red meat. Talking of desi burgers, I have to mention the Mumbaiya vada pav — easy to hold and the patty so perfect that it never spills out. Except Niruala’s and some of the old restaurants in CP, I cannot recollect decent restaurants/eating joints serving good red meat burgers around ten years ago. With Burger King, Wendy’s, Dunkin Donuts and Carl’s Jr. joining the fray there’s a lot more option in red meat burgers now, my personal favourites from the lot are Burger King’s double patty mutton burger, and Mc Donalds’ sausage mc muffin with egg, which they serve as part of their breakfast menu. A trend that I have noticed with many pubs that are mushrooming all over the NCR is that they offer miniature burgers.
Having grown up in India, where beef is mostly banned, it was only when I went to Bangladesh, I got a taste of beef burgers. Here, I have to admit that I did not consciously go out looking for the best beef burger in the town, so whichever I ate weren’t satisfying — the potato mixed with the beef, I suppose used to kill the taste.
Cut to the present, the Juicy Lucy burger of Café Delhi Heights is gradually attaining a cult status. It is, too, huge to be eaten alone. Heard that cricketer Virat Kohli is also a fan of the Juicy Lucy burger. The presentation style of the Juicy Lucy burger is also unique; a knife sticks out from the burger, signifying that it is for the large-hearted.
The good old burger has come a long way, with outlets coming out with black, red and now white coloured burger.