The best burgers in Beijing

We risked life, limb and chronic meat sweats on your behalf

The classics


The Single Cheeseburger, Fat Burger
A blast of 1950’s Americana

fatburger

With an interior straight out of a Bazooka Joe comic – and old-school American diner food to match – Fat Burger is our go-to for classic American griddle-fried beef patties. Packed thin and grilled under weights like a proper greasy spoon, these juicy medallions slide down way too easily. Stack your burger as many as three patties high, but be warned: the buttered bun, lettuce, tomatoes and onion add up and before long you’ll be rolling out the door like a proper American. 45RMB.

Drinks please What could be more American than a malted milkshake? Wash down your burger with a thick vanilla shake for a meal straight out of the film Grease.


The Hu Burger, Village Café
A taste of high-class Tex-Mex

village cafe

Chef de cuisine Hubert Hu of the Village Café, at Sanlitun’s The Opposite House hotel, loves his burger so much he named it after himself. Handmade all-Angus beef patties are flame-grilled with a crunchy black char. A bed of house-made brioche and tomato salsa support the deluxe patty, before it’s crowned with creamy avocado, cheddar cheese, sliced jalapeños and a generous spoonful of sour cream. The smouldering heat and Tex-Mex touch elevate this above the rank and file. 80RMB plus 10 percent and 6 percent VAT.

Pro tip On Wednesday evenings the humble Hu Burger gets an upgrade to imported Australian wagyu-style beef, gratis. Just in case luscious Angus wasn’t enough.


Itis Burger, Home Plate BBQ
The country-style king

home plate

The powerful smell of applewood smoke that emanates from Home Plate’s Sanlitun location should be indication enough that these guys take their meat seriously. Two all-beef patties, hand-ground daily and lightly seasoned, get a good licking from the flames and come piled high with cheddar cheese, thick-cut slices of house-smoked bacon and a mound of fried pickles. 98RMB.

Add on Don’t sleep on the all-American treat that is the fried pickle. An extra order never goes amiss.


Classic Cheese Burger, Was Park
The hole-in-the-wall

was park small

You can find hungry Beijingers gorging on these diner-style griddle-fried beef patties day and night, hunched over tiny plastic tables on Fangjia Hutong. Output is slow and sides are limited, but for 40RMB you can’t beat Was Park’s greasy poetry. Skip the fries (25RMB) and save room for an extra-lukewarm Yanjing. 40RMB.

Pro Tip Don’t forget to clean up after yourself. Was Park’s sign clearly reads, 'Clean your s**t or else I do charge 10RMB per head!' Consider yourself warned.


The Cheeseburger, Great Leap Brewing #12 Brewpub
The double-decker gut-buster

Burger Pic GLB

Great Leap has a reputation for quality eats as well as fine brews, and the Sanlitun brewpub churns out some of the city’s best-loved burgers. The Cheeseburger comes piled high with two griddle-seared all-beef patties, smothered with slices of American cheese and served on a warm, buttered sesame seed bun. Graced with a generous pour of Fancy sauce (aka Thousand Island dressing) and thick-sliced pickles, this is really two burgers in one. 60RMB.

Pro tip Make it a working lunch and get a pint of Pale Ale #6 on the house (weekdays 11.30am-2pm).


The Classic, Slow Boat Brewery
The hutong original

sloq boat

Now that Slow Boat has an awesome new Sanlitun location, one no longer needs to descend into the depths of Dongsibatiao to find one of Beijing’s all time favourite burgers. We’re talking freshly ground beef, lightly seasoned and grilled to perfection. It’s the simple things like a house-made pickle spear and a cold beer that make life worth living. 45RMB.

Don’t forget dessert Well, sort of: save room for a pint of creamy vanilla porter from one of Beijing’s best breweries.


The luxe burgers


Wagyu and Foie Gras Burger, Bistrot B
A study in beefy indulgence

bistrot b

The luscious wagyu beef patty shimmers as a thick slice of comté cheese oozes its way lazily down onto a bed of tomato relish. Two thick-cut fillets of foie gras are pan-fried and placed atop what is already a mountainous testament to French gastronomic glutonny. The flavours are intense and the richness reigns supreme. It’s not something for every day, or even every week, but it’s a burger experience like no other. 220RMB plus 10 percent service and 6 percent VAT.

Pro tip If the foie frenzy seems a bit much, Bistrot B’s Angus beef burger topped with sharp cheddar and crispy onions (130RMB) is equally worthy if not nearly as regal.


The Prime Cheeseburger, Morton's the Steakhouse
A high temple to all things beef

mortons

This patty is made using Morton’s signature imported, wet-aged, never-frozen Australian beef, which is then sandwiched between a buttered brioche bun and topped with a choice of thick-cut bacon, sautéed mushrooms or caramelised onions. It has a similar flavour to Morton’s steaks, which are hands down some of the best in town, at a fraction of the cost. The burger’s juicy, full-flavoured beef is of a standard that only the Chicago-based steakhouse can deliver. 180RMB plus 15 percent.

Pro tip Head over for the happy hour from 4.30-8pm and wash your burger down with way too many ‘Mortinis’ for 45RMB a pop.


Wagyu beef burger, Mosto
A beefy weekend treat

mosto

Brunchers in the know will tell you that at Mosto’s weekend bacchanal, it’s the non-traditional brunch fare that steals the show. Case in point: the wagyu-style beef burger. Unassuming in its composition and yet firing on all cylinders, the weekend burger at Mosto is a hidden gem. The Australian wagyu-style beef is topped with slices of bright green avocado, pickled jalapenos and Swiss cheese. 125RMB.

Drinks please This bad boy is only available at the weekend brunch, so save some extra room for free-flow sparkling wine, mimosas and bellinis (188RMB for two hours).


East Wagyu Burger, Feast by East Hotel
An Aussie twist on the classic

FEAST

The East burger, a staple of the stylish hotel’s menu, features some damn fine imported Aussie wagyu-style beef, flame-grilled on a bed of beetroot chutney, topped with cheddar cheese, thick sliced tomato, crisp romaine lettuce and rings of onion. Sweet, earthy and bursting with rich beef flavour, this burger is worth the trip out to Lido on its own. 118RMB plus 10 percent and 6 percent VAT.

Pro Tip Feast’s burgers are two-for-one Thursday nights at adjoining café Domain.


The non-burger burgers


Roujiamo, Ling Er Jiu
China's favourite non-burger burger

rjm

When it comes to tasty late-night cheap eats, the roujiamo reigns supreme. Hailing from Shaanxi, the slow-cooked shredded pork shoulder number is often translated as a ‘burger’, but really it’s a mash-up of well-spiced pork, cubes of fat and fresh green chillies stuffed in a crispy, soft flatbread – aka the ‘mo’. A burger by any other name does indeed taste as sweet. 12RMB.

Pro tip Add a hearty pour of black vinegar and you’re set.


Donkey burger, Wang Pangzi
In heaven they have dragons, in Beijing we have donkey burgers

donkey

A regional delicacy hailing from the trading post town of Hejian in nearby Hebei province, the donkey burger may strike you as a bit odd at first. In truth, it’s not really a burger at all, but a golden flatbread stuffed with donkey meat, seasoned with garlic, onions and chopped fresh green chillies. The gamey tang of the donkey is unique and, when dipped in soup and washed down with a pint of Yanjing, there are few cheap indulgences as fine. 8RMB.

On the side Chinese custom dictates you should have a broth made from the same protein as the main to aid digestion, so do yourself a favour and add a bowl of donkey soup.


Buffalo Chicken Sandwich, The Local
Because one cannot live on beef and burgers alone

the local

Sanlitun hangout The Local has an impressive menu that’s been flying under the radar for long enough. Look no further than the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich. The fried morsels of boneless, juicy chicken wings are bathed in a thick coating of fiery buffalo sauce before coming to rest between the cheeks of a sesame seed bun. Served with celery, sliced carrots and a hefty portion of blue cheese dressing, just like god intended. 68RMB.

Pro tip Pair with the nightly happy hour and get properly sloshed for next to nothing (pints from 20RMB, mixed drinks from 35RMB; from 5-7pm).


The Knife and Fork Burger, Great Leap Brewing #12 Brewpub
The vegetarian in denial

knife and fork

In general we approach vegetarian food with suspicion and, occasionally, outright disdain. But we must concede the existence of vegetarianism, and that if you must, you need not suffer for want of an indulgent burger. Great Leap’s open-faced Knife and Fork Sandwich is a seasonal mushroom and barley patty slathered in creamy aioli, sitting on a bed of sliced tomato and peppery rocket, which in turn sit on a fat slab of buttery brioche. It’s got our vote. 50RMB.

Add on If you’re seeking a bit more greasy goodness, an order of beerbattered onion rings with honey mustard (30RMB) hits the spot.


Beetlovers Beet Burger, Tribe Organic Lido
The rise of the Beijing vegan burger

tribe

Given our distrust of vegetarianism, you can imagine our thoughts on veganism, but even we have to admit Tribe Organic Lido’s Beet Burger is one tasty sammie. Purists will scoff, but the truth of the matter is that this beetroot burger, served on a seven-grain bun, has a deep earthy flavour and a clean, light finish. Vegan or no, this is worthy nosh, and thanks to the deep red of Tribe’s organic beetroots, the burger even approaches the appearance of a beef patty. Make no mistake, a burger this is not, but for a healthy alternative (with mad karma points to boot), we say yes please. 58RMB.

Add this Make it a beetroot bonanza with a glass of Tribe’s freshly made beetroot juice (38RMB).

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