Hong Kong Burgers

I know what you're thinking. SO MUCH red meat for an ex-vegetarian!

Personally, I view burgers as a sort of edible plate for whatever you are going to put on them. More of an excuse to put pimento cheese, jalapenos, and a fried egg on a bun for dinner than anything else. This is why, even after I abandoned vegetarianism at the age of 21, it still took until I was about 23 (and on my first date with Judson!) before I ate a meat burger again. If it's just a vehicle for burger toppings, why not just skip it in favor of the less expensive veggie burger options?


My view of burgers as little more than “the thing you have to serve if you're hosting a cookout” means I've never had to make them before because I'm always over in the corner plotting a dessert that won't melt in the sun. Someone else always views them as the quintessential expression of American cooking, and so I've always been exempted from making them. But not this time, and it turns out burgers are pretty easy-- even these weird ones. The texture of these is great: the patties are equal parts meat and bean sprouts, so there's a lot more going on than in a typical burger. And the fact that the flavour is more unique than just the “dump a packet of onion-soup-mix into a pile of ground beef” style of burger that I grew up with means you get to dress them up in a totally unique way. (Eleanor not guaranteed to approve, but, hey. You gotta do what you gotta do.)

We ate ours with acorn squash and roasted fennel, which I burned to a crisp. Life in our house is très glamorous.

The Verdict:

3 spoons out of five. Judson, a burger connoisseur, loved these. I thought they were good, too, but I got stuck eating the leftovers for lunch two days in a row, so I got bored. If we lived somewhere that wasn't Scotland, where it occasionally got warm enough to cookout, maybe I'd add another spoon, but, alas. Plus, I'm subtracting a spoon because the recipe called for ¾ lb of ground beef and ¼ lb of ground pork. Good luck finding ground pork anywhere, and if you do, good luck convincing someone to sell you only ¼ lb. We used all beef and it was fine. 

Note: If you're vegetarian or just not so into ground beef like I am, I think these would be really good made with black bean veggie burgers with a heap of steamed bean sprouts on top, garnished as noted below.

The Recipe:

Bean Sprout Burgers

The Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef
1 lb bean sprouts
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp ground ginger
Hamburger buns
Optional garnish: feta cheese, red onion, hot curry ketchup (1 tsp curry powder, 1 tbsp sriracha, 2 tbsp ketchup)


Combine all ingredients and shape into 5 or 6 patties (bean sprouts will stick out).
Chill for 30 minutes to allow flavours to mix.
Broil 2-3 inches from heat to desired doneness, turning once (about 5 minutes).

Yields 5-6 large-ish burgers.