Last Updated: January 20, 2021
From hawker to high-end restaurants, from fusion to classic American, we are indeed very spoiled for choice when it comes to burgers as we are with all things food. It is in that spirit that I have taken up the gauntlet and audacity of trying to suss out the best burgers you can find in Singapore.
As much as I would like to try every burger humanly possible for this Food Showdown, I thought we’ll start with famous burger chains that have captured our imaginations for quite some time. These brands don’t need any introduction; they are Fatboy’s The Burger Bar, Shake Shack and Five Guys, all great in their own right but who will reign supreme?
Well, only one way to find out.
A homegrown brand that needs no introduction, Fatboy’s is where you’ll want to find yourself on a Friday night. Already an empire since its inception in 2009, Fatboy’s has become a household name for good quality burgers.
One of the best things about eating at Fatboy’s is that you can customise your burger to your heart’s content. So, if you want triple patties, by all means, go for gold hun’. To keep things relatively the same, I ordered a standard cheeseburger at every place and a serving of fries because what’s one without the other, am I right?
At Fatboy’s, their Classic Cheese Burger (S$12.50) was pretty standard. You get a rather generous portion of fries, with a side salad thrown in. Here, you have an archetypal sesame brioche bun that was as pillowy as it can get, cradling a 100% beef patty complete with a square of aged cheddar.
There was nothing to it; this was a pretty good burger that would satisfy anyone. The bun was soft and held its shape pretty well while the patty still had a blushing pink centre that one can’t help but be impressed by. Though, the patty could do better in terms of mouthfeel and juiciness. A better meat-to-fat ratio would have helped this burger soar to greater heights.
There was no lettuce or tomato, which I’m not complaining about. This was your regular, cheeseburger next door—plain and simple.
Fries must always be enjoyed in abundance, and Fatboy’s makes no mistake about that. Just like the burger, they were entirely satisfactory. Golden, warm with a little salt—what more could you possibly want?
Aah, the frenzy it caused when it was announced that Shake Shack would finally grace our shores at the literal crown Jewel in Singapore. Its presence is marked by the lime green burger sign, a homing beacon to many lucky ones who had the pleasure of trying this chain overseas. “Oh, their wonderfully whipped Concretes that will leave you all swooning”, they said.
Right, back to it. I’ve selected the classic ShackBurger (S$9.20) and French Fries (S$4.50) for this round. You know, this might be a little sacrilegious, but I’ve never really tried the ShackBurger. The long queues were a considerable deterrence, alright!
Well, I’m here now, and that’s what matters. The ShackBurger is assembled with a potato bun, 100% Angus beef, crisp lettuce, tomatoes, and a melty square of American cheese.
There was pretty nice charring on the beef patty such that you get both the delectable crispiness and a juicy, beefy mouthfeel. A little overlooked portion in the assembly of any burger is perhaps the bun. Not just a pale vehicle to carry the patty, the bun is the difference between a good burger and a fantastic one.
Shake Shack has cleverly used a potato bun where the grain is a lot finer and tighter than a regular burger bun. This way, the bun doesn’t get soggy or break apart when you get the last quarter of your burger.
A little smaller in size than most burgers, but one that fits quite nicely and neatly into my hand. I understood why people stood in line for this burger; it’s everything you’ll want and more. As for the fries, these were a lovely dark golden brown crinkle-cut that are deliciously salty. There are many differing opinions about what kind of fries one prefers, but I’m confident no one would say no to these.
Five Guys presents as a classic relaxed American diner with red and white tiles with rock music blaring from the speakers. Just like Fatboy’s, Five Guys is equally as customisable, a go big or go home situation.
A Cheeseburger will set you back about S$15 but with unlimited toppings, and I think it’s pretty worth it. Of course, when one is at Five Guys, you’ll have to order those signature Fries (S$7, Small) in Five Guys Style.
Packaged in a brown paper bag in a ‘takeout’ style and wrapped in aluminium foil, this was one mammoth-sized burger. Served with caramelised onions on the bottom, this was a messy, glorious burger and I loved every second of it.
Here, the beef patty is equally as tasty as those of Shake Shack, though it lacked a little bit of that wonderful crust but more than made up for with the patty’s thickness. It’s thicc with as many ‘C’s my editor will allow me to type.
That sesame bun did succumb to all those juice and started to deflate a little. Nonetheless, it was still a pretty delicious burger, and even in my burger haze, I decided to finish the entire thing.
About those taters, I have to say this was my favourite amongst the three. Five Guys takes a lot of pride in their fries, and it shows. Using potatoes from the Netherlands, these fries go through a fry calibration test to get the crispiness just right.
A liberal shower of salt, these thick-cut fries, were crispy on the outside and gloriously fluffy within. Has there ever been a more perfect fry? Yes, the one at Five Guys. Not to mention, their ‘American’ portions are just the cherry on top for me.
For me, this comes down between Five Guys and Shake Shack, and it’s akin to splitting hairs.
These are both great burgers that can make any difficult day a little better. Like Tyra Banks and all her judges at the table, we were arguing and clawing at each other, but there can only be one winner.
The winner of this Food Showdown is Shake Shack. The tipping point? It all came down to the bun. A potato bun that holds everything together with a shatteringly good crust that will continue to haunt you as you take a spin class to burn all those burgers away. I feel there will be differing opinions on this: what is a democratic foodie nation without one? So, by all means, fight me in the comments. I’m ready for it.