What makes the ultimate burger? Is it the browned, soft, oven-fresh buns; the juicy, succulent, melt-in-your-mouth meat; the dousing of a top secret, in-house made peri peri sauce; or the crispy, yet impossibly soft in the middle, thrice cooked chips? What if I were to say that this article doesn’t have the answer – please still keep reading – but tries to philosophise about that ideal burger: what exactly does it include?

Having lived in Kuwait for almost two years now, it is safe to say I have tasted a variety of burgers, from the essential McDonald’s Big Mac (and of course the burger chains that prove to be a novelty to a British Expat like myself: Hardees, Shake Shack, KFC), to a polished – and almost healthy – five star Sheraton Hotel burger. But what I still have an issue with, is how to define what makes a “good” burger? It’s that reoccurring deep question, we often ask about our own lives: what is the purpose of a burger? Is a burger supposed to, for example, be the go-to fast food snack to tame those 1am cravings? Or is it supposed to provide an expertly packed mix of flavours and ingredients, suitable for an evening meal?

The answer, frustratingly enough, could be both. And that’s what strikes me, personally, about “the burger”. Its’ endless ability to be adapted shows how the burger has transgressed cities, cultures, and traditions, to live on in new forms. Despite the dispute of whether the father of burgers, the hamburger, originated from Germany or the US; the growing versatility of the burger explains its’ widespread popularity.

A char-grilled Mexican vegetable burger, loaded with chillies and beans, on top a gooey sludge of guacamole, may sound very different to a deep fried chicken breast burger atop a bed of mayo and crispy lettuce, but who is to say which is better? The freedom that thus comes with a burger allows, and almost encourages us, to actively embrace a specific burger to satisfy us in that moment of time. So what exactly is this “ultimate burger” that I haven’t, it seems, gotten round to addressing? You see, that’s exactly it. The fact that there is no ultimate burger makes burgers the “ultimate dish”.

About Gem Hunter Sana

Sana Soomro

Born and brought up in London, but currently residing in Kuwait, Sana has always had a fondness for exploring different cuisines. Food, in its many arrays, helps fuel her passion for writing. The ability of food, much like language, to transcend cultures and generations is something that she finds inspiring – and definitely worth sharing.