Makansutra: Rich, addictive burgers at Five Guys
Get ready to dig into sinful, calorie-loaded burgers when the chain opens at Plaza Singapura at the end of the year
Yet another cult American burger chain will be hitting our shores soon.
The folks behind Zouk are making their foray into the food and beverage business and will serve up Five Guys' burgers at Plaza Singapura at the year end.
Since I am currently in New York City, here is my pre-opening review of Five Guys to give you an idea of what to expect.
I first had Five Guys' heart-stopping 1,060-calorie Bacon Cheeseburger (US$9.49, or S$13) in New York City in 48th Street nine years ago, and a few times in between.
A Five Guys burger is not for the faint-hearted. The Bacon Cheeseburger comes deceptively adorable and beckoning - a thick, juicy beef patty, framed by cheese, bacon, mayonnaise with lettuce, onion, tomato and pickle (just to make you feel less guilty).
It is that all-in-one sensation - rich, addictive and an unrelenting gastro-sin.
Amsterdam does not want Five Guys burgers - which uses healthy peanut oil for all its products - on its shores, as the city is looking to reduce and limit fast-food culture.
In Singapore, however, it seems the more the merrier. Perhaps my favourite US burger chain, In-N-Out, will come here for good soon.
But back to the heavenly sins of Five Guys. The regular Hamburger (US$7.85, 840 calories), while so easy to wolf down, feels underwhelming if you have it after the Bacon Cheese version.
Sure, the moist patty beckons with the grilled onion, tomato, pickle and lettuce, but it pales in comparison.
This Arlington, Virginia, company says it does not use freezers, "only coolers", to store its patties and ingredients, which made me curious. Will Five Guys ship its patties chilled from the US or make fresh ones in Singapore?
For variety, I tore into the Cheese Dog (US$5.55, 590 calories) which had bite and texture and is one for those I-don't-feel-like-a-burger days.
And on the topic of variation, I noted one special offering - peanuts in shell. Five Guys leaves a bucket of them near the counters and it is free - just scoop, crackle and crunch away.
I hope this will be offered in Singapore too, as it is much healthier than fries, which is another signature at Five Guys.
The Cajun Style Fries (from US$3.49) claims to be the best, but I have had better and I would rather chomp on peanuts with the burgers.
K.F. Seetoh, the founder of Makansutra, dabbles in street food businesses like Food Markets and has his own TV shows on cable. He publishes food guides and online content. He is also the creator of the World Street Food Congress. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.