One of the tastiest food trends is still rocking an American staple — simple burger buns have gotten a major makeover. In fact, you may not even recognize an all-beef patty once it’s sandwiched between fried foods such as ramen noodles and doughnuts. Here’s a look at three bizarre burger fads that are cooking around the States today on National Cheeseburger Day and every other night of the week:
The Ramen Burger
Keizo Shimamoto ignited a food frenzy of mass proportion when he offered his ramen burger to Brooklynites at the Smorgasburg foodie event over the 2013 summer. His creation paired two fast-food favorites (burgers, ramen) into one giant guilty pleasure made of American prime beef, topped with a secret sauce and sandwiched between two ramen noodle “buns.” Since then, Shimamoto has seen thousands of fans lining up in Los Angeles, New York and even Sao Paulo for a chance to sink their teeth into the original. But you don’t have to follow the globetrotting Shimamoto to get a taste of this new flavor combination — interesting iterations of the ramen burger are popping up on menus all over. For instance, Andrea’s, a hip Asian restaurant inside Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, has a unique take on the culinary trend: ramen burger sliders. Executive chef Joseph Elevado created this version, which consists of two sliders encased in pan-fried ramen buns and topped with a spicy relish sauce, oven-dried tomato, Bibb lettuce and red onion. And housemade amazu pickles come on the side. Just recently, Elevado decided to garnish his eclectic menu with ramen fries, too.
The Doughnut Burger
Sweet and savory, the doughnut burger is about as sinful as it gets. Hamburger joints around the country have been quietly serving up this combo for some time, but recent incarnations don’t hold anything back. PYT in Philadelphia’s Northern Liberties neighborhood sells the “Doh! Nut” burger — a patty topped with chocolate-covered bacon and served on a glazed doughnut bun. This spot creates a new innovative burger once a week, and the really popular ones, like the Doh! Nut, stay on the menu much longer. (At one time, PYT had a deep-fried Twinkie burger on the roster, too.) Chicago’s Buzz Bar in North Center created a decidedly gourmet version of the glazed doughnut burger, made up of an Angus beef patty topped with housemade truffle aioli, caramelized strawberries, smoked bacon and aged cheddar and pepper jack cheese.
The Mac And Cheese Burger
Leave it to the Windy City to really innovate when it comes to sandwiches with grilled meat. A little while back, the geniuses at Rockit Burger Bar in Wrigleyville came up with the Mac Attack, a burger sandwiched by a fried mac and cheese bun (it’s still gooey in the center) and served with sriracha ketchup, tomato and scallions. The bun was the brainchild of chef Amanda Downing, who was inspired by the popular mac and cheese dish already on the menu, reworking it into a perfect bun. While we’ve seen irresistible burgers piled with mac and cheese before — the Boston Burger Company covers its Angus beef with a four-cheese mac and bacon, while Guy Fieri’s 22-ingredient version topped with his secret “donkey” sauce won at the New York City Wine and Food Festival’s Burger Bash in 2013 — we hadn’t come across an actual bun made of the stuff until Rockit’s out-of-this-world concoction.