We did it - we scoured South East Asia in hunt for that perfectly juicy burger that is plant-based. And let us be honest, it was quite a task. Plant-based burgers usually have a bad reputation for various reasons - too plant-tasting, not juicy enough, not tasting like meat, having a weird aftertaste.These complaints are things we have heard far, wide and way too often. So when the Game Changers documentary took over Netflix and the internet by storm, we were intrigued; is there a way to enjoy a classic stable dish - the burger - that’s plant based but still as tasty? If you’re plant-based curious, here are our top contenders in each major Southeast Asian city.
This German burger grill is known for two things - it’s stunning interiors and solid burgers. You see, the spot has real aspen timbers that span from floor to ceiling, making dining there quite a unique experience. Some say it feels like being in a forest in Germany. The spot has a variety of regular, vegetarian and vegan burgers on offering. Our plant-based pick is The Fabelhafter, which combines a wheat patty with avocado cream and herb salad. Reputation has it that the patty tastes just like meat. Complemented by an orange-mustard sauce, be prepared to have serious temptations for plate number two.
Wah Wah Burger
Wah Wah Burger has a reputation far and wide across the islands of Indonesia. Located in the fancy area of Seminyak Village, these guys have received hundreds of reviews on their food - vegan and regular burgers alike. Their plant-based burger called The Ultimate Vegan Burger was added to their menu ten years ago - when plant-based wasn’t even a thing. Pioneers, if you ask us. For those who opt to stay away from grains, you have the option of making your bun gluten-free.
POP Vegan’s Barbecue
We’ll start by saying Hong Kong had a ton of vegan burgers for us to test. Most just did not make the cut though. Then we discovered POP Vegan’s Barbecue and things quickly changed when they added The Barbecue Vegan Chicken Burger to their menu. This new addition comes free from garlic and onions and it is quite a hit (with any sane person with a taste bud). Combining deep fried hedgehog mushrooms, avocados, tomatoes, a layer of pineapple, the textures and flavours work beautifully combined. Usually with deep fried burgers, grease is the unpleasant trade off. But with The Barbecue Vegan Chicken Burger, there was not one spot of gross grease stain or aftertaste present. Instead, it truly feels and tastes “meaty” and also comes with large fries and a salad. Be warned though, it’s incredibly messy to eat - but totally worth the slop.
Burger on 16
With plenty of good reviews floating around, we checked Burger on 16 semi convinced. After the first bite, we contributed to the vote of confidence. Known for their extensive burger list, there are a few vegan options on the menu and our go-to’s would be the Spinach Sandwich Burger (made from spinach, nutmeg, basil and pesto ) as well as the Chickpea Burger (made from chickpeas, sweet corn and sesame oil). Off topic, but their fries are also to die for. For other plant-based KL spots
Open 24/7, this joint with a retro American feel represents all things old-school comfort. Under the “Craft Your Own Burger” section of the menu hides a Veggie Burger made from broccoli, onion, carrot, oatmeal and tofu amongst other ingredients. This dish is quite an accomplishment for those who visit or live in Bangkok, as Thai food usually takes the center stage in the city. To have another cuisine be raved about is rather uncommon, but we are not one to complain. Vegetarian food also often does not usually make center stage, let alone Western food that is vegetarian. But we were pleasantly surprised. And oh, make sure you ask for extra avocados. Always!
Stay tuned for the next series of Best Plant-Based Burgers - Part 2 - coming up in February!