The rise of young food entrepreneurs should, and have been given much reverence lately.
However, when this couple first started this burger stall in September 2014, there were little accolades to such endeavours.
But both Ryan and Claire had a mission, which was to to serve unique and quality burgers at affordable prices.
Their Ayam Buah Keluak Burger was their lead product and it took them 2 years from thought to product.
Ryan’s inspiration came from the urge to transform the very traditional dish that he grew up eating into a contemporary form; something relatable to both young and old, and thus would encourage everyone to give it a shot.
A no-frills business with a choice of 5 burgers with each costing no more than SGD5 each, Hambaobao located in Beauty World Food Centre certainly isn’t your run-of-the-mill hawker joint in a Singapore foodcourt.
Located in this worn-out food centre at Beauty World Centre, an old and almost forgotten shopping mall in the once buzzing part of Bukit Timah, this isn’t exactly prime location.
I’ve stayed at the HDB flats just above Bukit Timah food court 2-3 years back and I still recall the hassle of taking the MRT to Clementi and then hopping on another bus (Bus 52 or 184) to alight at Shell station at Bukit Timah.
Yes, at the time of their origination, Beauty World Centre wasn’t even accessible by the MRT.
Today, the Downtown line station Beauty World is right next to this shopping mall, which makes Hambaobao more reachable and thus, incredibly convenient for you to satisfy your burger cravings!
After placing our orders, we stood there to watch the power couple work.
Ryan was drenched in sweat; assiduously flipping patties, buns, fish fillets and the works over a medium sized grill while Claire efficiently assemble the orders.
It is self-service here so once you’ve placed your order, keep your ears peeled to her Claire’s shrieks of “Number XX! Number XX ” and hurry over to grab your burgers!
For me the Ayam Buah Keluak Burger is a must-try.
I’ve long been fascinated with this Keluak (Indonesian black nut) burger ever since I saw it on Instagram and I was absolutely thrilled to be able to sink my molars into one now!
And happily enough, it didn’t disappoint!
The minced chicken patty had homemade buah keluak paste embedded in the mix, so it worked better than the keluak burger I’ve had at Baba Chews in Hotel Indigo Katong Singapore as there were more keluak flavour overall.
The unexpected and ingenious twist of finishing the assemble with Nyonya Chap Chye and a dollop of fiery sambal was brilliant.
Every bite was satisfaction for me!
This is definitely a burger for those who do not mind keluak and open-minded enough to enjoy a unique burger as their meal.
The Crispy Pork Belly Burger (SGD5) is another close contender for the best burger here.
Well, I personally know a few people who prefers it over the keluak.
I don’t mind it at all, for the price is amazing considering the amount of thick pork belly sandwiches between the soft buns.
I did however, found it a tad fatty as each slice of pork belly was 70% fat and skin.
It is in a good way though, for the fat layers were juicy and the skin crackling crispy happiness. Whatever little meat were there was tender and the refreshing crunch from the cucumbers helped.
The well-marinated roasted pork belly was nicely done to achieve the desired crispiness on the skin leaving the tenderness on the meat.
The Spiced Pulled Pork Burger(SGD5.00) was on the other hand, a mixed bag for us.
While the mountain of delicious, slightly spiced and spicy (as in heat) shredded pork was excellent, we thought it could do without the cheese.
BELOW: Generous squirts of mayo on top…
Other than that we enjoyed it. The portion was overly generous and as you can see from my video, the meat was spilling out of the burger after my first bite!
This was finished with white and purple cabbage which gave a nice contrast to every bite.
Sure, the bun is slightly greasy since it was fried, but it was delightful having aromatic, buttery buns grilled on the underside that gives a crackling sound the moment you sink your teeth into each burger.
And if a burger is not enough, it wouldn’t hurt the pocket to opt for the additional Fairy Fries at SGD1 more. These fries aren’t your frozen variety, but are hand cut chips looking like a crossover of wedges and fries.
From looks alone these fries promised soft yet crisp potato skin, seasoned with salt to flavour.
We wanted to save tummy space for 3 burgers, and opted out for the fries.
I’ll definitely add on my next visit, which is imminent!
Oh, their broiled dory fish burger (SGD5) seems like a potential healthier choice if you fancy something “less guilty“.
A large fillet is grilled with red pepper, zucchini and topped with cheese and tar-tar sauce. You might want to opt for less tartar if you are really looking into a “lighter” burger.
Besides the humid hawker environment and lack of utensils (you just had to handle the burger with your bare hands, exactly how one should eat a burger), I vouch for Hambaobao as an excellent burger fix joint.
PS: Their burgers are on the greasy side. Be warned.
144 Upper Bukit Timah
#04-49 Beauty World Centre
Opening Hours: Wed – Sunday: 12:00pm – 08:00pm
Phone: +65 96675254