The history of burgers this International Hamburger Day

Posted on May 28, 2020 by admin

A food fit for a warrior

Scholars maintain the modern hamburger can be traced all the way back to ancient civilizations such as Egypt. Burger experts also purport that Genghis Khan’s Mongol army ate patties of ground meat and that concept made its way to Moscow when invaded by Khan’s grandson, Kublai Khan, where it was then transformed into Steak Tartare. At the time Kublai was not able to snap a photo and share on a social food app like Dishtag as evidence but I cannot imagine it looked as pretty as the one below from Roganic.

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Roganic KOMBU & AGED BEEF: kombu cracker, dry-aged sirloin tartare from the UK, Japanese white soy dressing with pickled kohlrabi, and nori crumb and emulsion garnish. Photography credits: Roganic
Putting the ham in Hamburger

So you mean there isn’t ham in a hamburger? No. During the 17th century, Steak Tartare travelled from Russia to the port of Hamburg, Germany and it is there where “Hamburg Steaks” were created, nicknamed among German sailors. These steaks then found their way to New York City in the 19th century with the oldest document that refers to the “Hamburg steak” is a Delmonico’s Restaurant menu from 1873 which offered customers an 11-cent plate of meat. While we have many photos of burgers in our database we couldn’t quite find a hamburg steak on any Hong Kong menu…but here is one from Frank’s that closest resembles it.

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Frank’s Steak & Chips: 12oz Flat Iron Steak, Homemade Potato Chips, Salsa Verde, Carmelized Onion Aioli. Photography Credits: Frank’s
The famous “Hamburger Charlie”?

Before the Impossible hamburger came the Hamburger. And while we know that Patrick “Pat” O’Reilly Brown – was the inventor of the Impossible burger – the Hamburger has many invention claims ranging between 1885 and 1904. Our favourite story is Charlie Nagreen who as a young entrepreneur at 15 sold Hamburg steaks from a street stall at the local County Fair in Hortonville, Wisconsin. Nagreen said his Hamburg steaks did not have much success. People wanted to freely move around the festival without the need to eat them at his stand. In a stroke of genius Charlie decided to flatten the hamburger steak and insert it between two slices of bread, so that the public could move freely from booth to booth while eating his sandwich. This became known as the “Hamburger Charlie”. Oh how many burgers have been eaten at festivals around the world since Charlie!

As we all know, during the next century the hamburger’s appeal spread worldwide and became one of the images of globalisation. In the next century will the Impossible burger replace the hamburger? Will our burger loving future generations be reading in the digital history books about the hamburger made with meat? The debate is on. If you haven’t tried an Impossible burger yet join the debate and try one at Beef & Liberty.

Beef & Liberty IMPOSSIBLE HAMBURGER: Impossible™️ patty, lettuce, Tiptree ketchup, red onions, house pickles. Photography credits: Beef & Liberty.
And then came the American Cheeseburger.

It was Matthew McConaughey who said the “man who invented the hamburger was smart; man who invented the cheeseburger was a genius”. And this photo of the classic American Cheeseburger from Burger Circus we think is the perfect representation of the global icon that is the American cheeseburger. But who was the legendary creator? Well, just as with the invention of the hamburger, the exact origins of the cheeseburger are unknown. According to wikipedia there are many chefs that claim the title. We fall in favour of written evidence from a 1928 menu from the O’Dell Restaurant in LA, which reveals it was serving burgers with cheese at the time.[4] Years later, Luis Ballast, owner of the Humpty Dumpty drive-in restaurant in Denver, made an attempt to create a cheeseburger with a registered trademark known as a “yellowburger”. Nice try Luis, but we prefer the name “cheeseburger”, and so do billions of foodies around the world!

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Burger Circus #2 AMERICAN CHEESEBURGER: 5oz Beef Patty, Bacon, Savory Onion, Wisconsin Cheddar, Circus Sauce. Photography Credits: Black Sheep Restaurants

The bacon cheeseburger

We would obviously not write about the history of the burger without mentioning the bacon cheeseburger. The king of burgers in our opinion was created by Dale Mulder in 1963 when it became an official menu item at an A&W Restaurant in Lansing, Michigan. The inventor of the Wagyu beef burger is another unknown. But they do serve a gorgeous looking one at The Continental, which also includes truffle mayo and fries!

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The Continental WAGYU BEEF & GRUYERE CHEESEBURGER: caramelised onion, smoked bacon, brioche bun, tomato, lettuce, truffle mayo & fries. Photography credits: Swire Restaurants.
That concludes the Dishtag version of the history of the hamburger, thanks to wikipedia for the inspiration. Whatever version of the burger you want to enjoy, enjoy that tasty burger.  And don’t forget to post your photos on the Dishtag app.

Read more about National Burger Day here.
Get inspired by other Dishtag dish guides, check us out below:

Best burgers in Hong Kong

Best looking desserts in Hong Kong

Most colourful vegetarian dishes in Hong Kong