Mondays are ordinarily when myBurgerLab addicts brace for withdrawal pangs & mourn outside the firmly shut entrance of their favorite restaurant. But every once in awhile, the outlet's staff congregates inside for a semiprivate cook-off, challenged to create trailblazing new recipes that _ maybe, just maybe _ could someday make it on myBurgerLab's menu.
Watching these patty prodigies work is inspiring; their enthusiasm feels infectious, their youthful energy becomes their best asset as they toil through this one-night burger boot camp, surviving a one-chance-only crash course in the culinary arts.
One by one, the experimental burgers are served by their makers, mainly students eager to excite a judging panel that must munch through multiple burgers.
This first offering, dubbed the "Zoidburger" by Hong, shows off admirable ambition, a skilfully realized cavalcade of complex textures & nuanced flavors. Its components would be enough for three burgers: a beef patty, tiger prawns, rempeyek crackers, blueberries, rocket leaves, curry mayo, olive oil, caramelized onions, lettuce, lemon, garlic, pepper & paprika.
We're haunted by the potential of Kar Weng's "Kokomo," topped with coconut strips & carbonara sauce. Maybe another ingredient _ kaya or a gula melaka glaze _ would help bring out the flavors better, but still, this one could be a template for a truly terrific knockout.
Here's what garnered the highest points from the jury, earning its creators Ian & Joe the night's top prize of RM236: "Monster Mash," a comfort-food combo of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, cherry tomatoes, sharp cheddar & spicy mayo with coriander.
"Love At First Bite," by Lucas & Jason: beef, spicy nachos, chocolate chips, enoki & shiitake mushrooms, raw onions, worcestershire sauce & cheddar cheese. An underrated pleasure, with resonantly savory notes playing off an undercurrent of cocoa sweetness.
Fiona's "Despicable Me" is easily lovable, featuring beef with fried pineapple, fried bananas & maple syrup. No-fuss fun; should please kids of all ages.
The Burger Battle's runner-up has the makings of an instant classic: "Whack-A-Mole" by Debra & Fu Jun, made uber-creamy with a thick, tangy topping of guacamole spiked with orange zest & lemon juice, spiced up with jalapenos.
Pile on the calories with "Say Mac & Cheese" by Cheah & Lim, an extravaganza of fried macaroni & cheese with green salsa, dried shrimp & more. Have this with chicken; it's a firecracker of flavor but far too rich to pair with beef.
The night's most innovative invention might belong to Hong, whose "Juxtapose" dessert burger of nut-crusted vanilla ice cream, hash brown, beef bacon, lychee jelly, peanut butter, blueberries & maple syrup is one for the history books. Quite a treat.
This Lab's a hive of positive vibes even on normal nights. For the cook-off, it positively hums.
Cthulhu cometh: Here's a new entry to myBurgerLab's menu, with deep-fried "rock-hard" oysters & a black "evil" cocktail sauce. Soon to be infamous.
Sloppy Joe-style ground beef & chicken might soon also be available here, with the same beef that's used to prepare the burger patties.
MyBurgerLab takes plenty of pride in its ever-increasing range of sauces. Love the seaweed mayo. Thanks to the chaps here for the invitation to this excellent event.
Earlier entries on myBurgerLab: July 11, July 16 & July 29.