Saturday, March 28, 2009

"Mashed Potato Beef Burger" (Red-skinned Potato Salad in Taiwanese Sacha Cheeseburger)

Preparing for this event, it finally seemed to me that we're getting back into the swing of blogginthings.

Which means, that once again, we were rushing towards deadline and had to come up with something for Weekend Wokking in less than two days. In our defense, though, the rush had nothing to do with our lazy, procrastinating natures. We did take that out-of-town, out-of-country, out-of-time-zone trip after all, for the whole of ten days.

top left: XiMen area; top right: ShiLin Night Market
bottom left: store selling scooter helmets; bottom right: ChiaTe Bakery

Make that 2 days in transit, floating about and flitting from airport to airport, and 8 days in Taipei.

In Taipei, we got to attend the joyous occasion of a friend's wedding, and it is from Taipei that we get our inspiration for this month's edition of Weekend Wokking.

The feature ingredient this time is beef, and when we think of beef, really, really, really, truly, truly, truly, the first thing that comes to mind -- and the last thing on our minds too -- is ground beef and hamburgers.

The Inspiration

image from Burger King Taiwan

Intriguing, isn't it?

We spotted a poster for this "Mashed Potato Beef Burger" at a Burger King window. In fact, I took a picture of it. However, I realized that the image from the Burger King Taiwan website would be much better.

We didn't get to try this new Burger King product because we saw this poster on the last day.

Besides, we did not have any fast food from the "big names" (Western multinationals) at all. It is so easy to get good food quickly in Taipei. Given the speed we were served beef noodle soups there, we had the feeling that going into a fast food place might actually take longer than other food establishments.

Also, the food choices in Taipei were varied enough that we did not need to "reset" our palate and our stomachs, like the time we went to Tuscany. After 12 days in Tuscany, eating more or less the same things each day, I was really dying for some McDonalds (or anything non-Tuscan). I remember digging into a Quarter Pounder with Cheese, munching on french fries and sipping ice-cold Coke, with a whole lot of glee at the train station in Pisa.

I wanted to check out a local McDonalds there and actually get a McDonald's burger in Taipei too, but not for the same reason as I did in Tuscany. This time, I just wanted to know if burgers in Taiwan are as cardboard-y as the burgers we have over here from the same joint. I have a suspicion that the burgers there might taste slightly, just a tad, better than the burgers here, to adapt to the "unique, local conditions" in Taipei. Who knows, eh: they might have added a unique Taiwanese twist to the some menu items. They might have other interesting items too: I hoped to see a minced pork burger there.

Not to be, though. Maybe next time. This time, we attempt to recreate this "mashed potato beef burger."

First of all, thanks to CL and our cousin JY for help with the translation! And of course, AL for the complete translation. (Read transalation here.)

Sadly enough, JS and I are quite bad, very bad, with the reading of Chinese. We can only read about 10% in isolated characters, I would figure. That's quite useless. We just looked at the picture. =)

So, we have a sesame seed bun, cheddar cheese, the beef patty, "BBQ" sauce, crispy onions, and the star component, the "mashed potato."

When we started the dish, we only had the above information. I guess we should've asked for a complete translation from the start, eh? But, no matter.

Here's our interpretation of this very intriguing what-the-West-thinks-that-the-East-thinks-food-in-the-West-is burger.

Sesame Seed Bun & Cheddar Cheese

If we had enough time, we would've made the buns ourselves, like we did before (Chimichurri Burger; Sesame Seed Buns).

But, store-bought worked fine. We also bought some pre-sliced cheddar.

Beef Patties

We've defaulted to making all our burgers with onions and celery in the patty, like in Yaya's Philippine-style burgers. They really are so much juicier that way. So, in a food processor, we buzzed together some onion and celery, added that to the ground beef, seasoned with salt and pepper, and formed the patties.

As you may know, Burger King does pride themselves in their flame-grilled burgers. Unfortunately, flame-grilling is not yet in the cards for us. We had to pan-fry ours. (Of course, flame-grilling would be fabulous!)

Satay/Sacha Ketchup

Instead of a North American BBQ sauce, we decided to Asianize this component. Here we have a satay/sacha ketchup.

It's as simple as mixing together ketchup and satay/sacha sauce.

By "satay sauce", we mean this "sa-cha" sauce, not the peanut sauce for Indonesian/Malaysian satays (skewered meat). Actually, I didn't realize satay sauce and sa-cha sauce were one and the same until I took the photo of the can above and sort-of-accurately guess-timated the pronunciation of the Chinese words! We use this primarily for Mama's Fish Head Soup.

Update, a few hours later:
Hmm, we may be totally wrong! Satay sauce and sacha sauce may not be the same at all!

We discovered this while walking around T&T a few hours after posting this and spying a bottle labeled "satay sauce", but the Chinese was not the same as our can at home.

But, we have sacha sauce as part of our "condiment"/dipping sauce in Cantonese hotpot. And, I'm pretty sure it has been referred to as "satay" sauce. The plot thickens.

So, I turned to Sherman of Sherman's Food Adventures for answers regarding this quite confusing satay/sacha situation. Read more about satay here.

Crispy Onions

We almost didn't include this component into our burger. JS kept telling me not to include it. But I had to! I had to stay true to our inspiration!

I simply tossed some onions slices in seasoned cornstarch and shallow-fried them.

"Mashed Potato"
(Red-skinned Potato Salad)

When we started making this burger, all I knew was that this "mashed potato" component was made with red-skinned potatoes.

However, while in Taipei, we noticed that such an item as bread with a potato salad filling existed. We found this in boulangerie/patisserie-type stores (French baguettes with potato salad filling), in deli-counter type places (white sandwich bread filled with tuna salad and potato salad), and in Taiwanese bakeries (Taiwanese soft bun filled with potato salad).

From this, we concluded that this "mashed potato" must actually be potato salad. So here's ours.

I boiled some red-skinned potatoes, drained, cooled and diced them. In my mayonnaise, I added green onions and cilantro. To once again Asianize this, I also added soy sauce and sesame oil, along with the common salt and pepper.


Bun + Cheddar Cheese + Beef Patty...

+ Sacha Ketchup + Crispy Onions...

+ Potato Salad + Sesame Seed Bun!

The storebought soft, white, commercial bun was essential to the whole "fast-food burger" experience. Of course, this burger did not taste like "fast-food."

The burger patty itself was juicy and moist -- so no complaints from that end. It wasn't chargrilled, but hey, we have to make do what we have. ;) The celery and the onions added made the beef flavours lighter and not so one-dimensional like a cardboard burger patty.

I was slightly apprehensive about the sacha ketchup, because it smelled very pungent while TS was preparing it. But, in the burger, it melded quite nicely with all the other flavours. When I read the ingredients, I discovered that the sacha sauce contained dried and fermented shrimp and fish.

As for our star component, the "mashed potato", the creaminess of the potato salad played a delicious counterpoint to the pungency of the sauce, and provided a nice textural and temperature contrast.

Quite the success, this one.

eatingclub vancouver Weekend Wokking posts:
Ravioli "Caprese": Tomato, Basil, Bocconcini
Eggplant "Clafouti"
Pumpkin Congee w/ Pumpkin "Beignets" & Sesame-Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Chicken, Broccoli and Cheese w/ Pipián Verde
Adobo Mushroom Tart
Duck and Orange Crêpes with Orange-White Wine Sauce
Almond Eggplant "Bisteeya" (Bastilla)
"Mashed Potato Beef Burger" (Red-skinned Potato Salad in Taiwanese Sacha Cheeseburger)
Korean Soybean Sprouts Pancake (Kongnamul Jeon)
Lemon Chamomile Tiramisu
Cilantro Horchata
Strawberry Cilantro Salsa, on Grilled Flank Steak
Duck Enchiladas with Chipotle Peanut Salsa
Clear Oxtail Soup with Corn, Cabbage and Potatoes
Beijing Pickled Cabbage
Salsa Romesco ("Queen of the Catalan Sauces!")
Aguadito de Pollo (Peruvian Chicken Soup)
Bangus Belly à la Bistek (Milkfish Belly with Onions, Calamansi and Soy Sauce)
White Pork with Garlic Sauce, Two Ways (蒜泥白肉)
Mr. Zheng's Soupy Tomatoes and Eggs with Tofu (蕃茄雞蛋跟豆腐)
Steamed Fish and Tofu with Chinese Black Beans
Spinach and Cheese with Puff Pastry, Three Ways


"Mashed Potato Beef Burger"
(Red-skinned Potato Salad in Taiwanese Satay Cheeseburger)
Makes 8 to 10 burgers

Sesame Seed Buns
8-10 buns, store-bought is fine

Sliced Cheddar Cheese
1 to 2 slices per burger

Beef Patties
2 lbs ground beef
1 medium onion
4 stalks celery
salt & pepper

In a food processor, buzz together onion and celery. Add mixture to ground beef. Season with salt & pepper to taste (start with 1 teaspoon salt) and mix together well.

Form into patties, using approximately 1/2 cup of beef mixture for each. Or simply divide mixture into how many burgers you wish to make. (We used the store-bought bun as a guide in terms of patty size.)

Pan-fry in a skillet, or grill.

Sacha Ketchup
Makes little over 1/4 cup

1/4 cup ketchup
1 to 2 tablespoons sacha sauce

Combine well.

Crispy Onions
1 onion
cornstarch for dredging
oil for frying

Slice onions. They don't have to be rings. Dredge in cornstarch. In a pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. The oil should be around 1-in high. Add dredged onions and fry until onions are golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

"Mashed Potato" (Red-skinned Potato Salad)
Makes approximately 4 cups

1.5 lbs red potatoes (approximately 4-5 medium-sized)
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3 stalks green onions
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
salt & pepper

Wash and scrub potatoes. Place them in a pot with enough cold water to cover. Let the water come to a boil and lower the heat. Simmer until potatoes are cooked, from 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of potatoes. Drain and cool.

When cool, dice into 1/2-inch cubes. Mix diced potatoes with the rest of the ingredients.

Divide each component into 8 or 10 parts, depending on the number of your patties.

For each burger, place a slice or 2 of cheddar cheese, a beef patty, a teaspoon or so of sacha ketchup, some crispy onions, and a generous amount (about 1/2 cup) of potato salad.


Enjoyed this post? Why not subscribe to our blog? Subscribe via reader or subscribe via email. Thank you!

We're submitting this recipe to Weekend Wokking, a world-wide food blogging event created by Wandering Chopsticks celebrating the multiple ways we can cook one ingredient.

The host this month is Marija of Palachinka.

If you would like to participate or to see the secret ingredient, check
who's hosting next month.

Check out
all Weekend Wokking Roundups.

All about satay sauce
Sherman of Sherman's Food Adventures clarifies our newfound confusion regarding "satay" sauce.

"There's peanut-based satay sauce, there's a satay sauce based on peanut and brillfish, and then there's a savory one that does not have peanut.

"The peanut-based one is usually meant as a dipping sauce, not a soup base. I use the non-peanut one myself for hot pot.

"The brillfish satay sauce is synonymous with Lee Kum Kee. The peanut one is synonymous with the Amoy brand.

The one you want for a soup base for hot pot is the Koon Yick Wah Kee brand; the label is tealish-green in colour. I mix that brand of satay sauce with chili flakes, dark soy, sugar, salt, white pepper and sesame oil with chicken stock. That's my hotpot soup base."

Whew. Thanks, Sherman!

Back to the burger: click here.

"Mashed Potato Beef Burger" Ad Translation

Title: Mashed Potato Cheese Burger

Burger Components

Fresh Red Skinned Mashed Potato
Combined with red-skinned potato imported from the US; tastes fresher and sweeter.

BBQ sauce
Secret Burger King BBQ sauce, rich and smooth, is a unique taste that best compliments the mashed potato cheese burger.

Crispy fried onion
Special crispy fried onion, full of crunch.

Topped off with a slice of melting cheese, adding to the full flavor of the burger.

Grilled = Delicious
Burger King is the only restaurant worldwide that uses a 370 degrees Celcius automatic barbeque grill oven to create its signature grill marks. Excess fat is lost during the grilling process, so that the patty does not taste oily and retains the fragrance of the barbeque. This makes our patties completely different from those fattening patties sold by other fast food chains.

Thanks, AL!

Back to the burger: click here.


  1. I had the spicy chicken burger at McD's in was so goooooooood! That was the only fast food I had though.

    This looks sooooo good...adding ketchup to the sa cha is ..different. Once I get some of these ingredients, I think I'll try making it at home too. :)

  2. There's nothing like a great burger...and I'm loving all the twists here that make this an awesome eat!

  3. This mashed potato burger is really cool and awesome. Nice trip in Taipei : ) Love that photo from Burger King.

  4. That is just too fab! I love the idea of remaking a fast food dish - I bet yours was about 100x better!

  5. very interesting. one thing i've noticed in my travels is how fast food menus are different in different parts of the world. this is a perfect example of this! looks like something i dig my teeth into happily.

  6. what a unique burger--i love that you were inspired by burger king, of all places. it looks succulent and delicious. :)

  7. I like the sound of this burger!

  8. Wow, that's some burger!
    What a unique concept. It's like a whole picnic in a bun!!

  9. You're killing me with this burger. I think I can eat at least 3 of these. :)

  10. 604foodtography:
    I knew it! We really should've gone to McD's! =D

    Darius T. Williams:

    Haha... yeah, just look at how thin and puny that patty is in the BK ad! =D

    we are never full:
    When we didn't want anything remotely resembling "fast food", we'd see McD's. When we actually wanted some, they were nowhere to be found!

    Teehee. Thanks. =)

    I didn't think of it that way. But yeah, if you didn't want to dirty up more dishes/utensils, then this is the perfect picnic dish!

  11. Back from vacation and you still managed to get in an entry for Weekend Wokking! Thanks ladies.

    I saw a picture of a burger in McDonald's in Taiwan where instead of the bun, it had two rice patties that were shaped like buns.

    I love going to McDonald's when I travel just to see what's different.

  12. Wandering Chopsticks:

    OH THAT. looked just so weird, I didn't want to try it, but on the flight back home, I really regretted it because I worried that it won't be there the next time I go back...which I don't know when that'll be.

  13. I luv your version of burger and the detailed explanation of sacha ketchup. They look so irresistable and inviting!

  14. Wandering:
    Hehe... we can't miss it!

    Oh, we saw that type of burger at a diff place (seeing as we somehow missed going into a McD's). And I tried one. Pretty good! =)

    Yeah, you should've tried it! Actually, the one I tried was at Mos Burger. And the filling for mine wasn't a burger patty, it was more like beef sukiyaki. So it was just like eating beef sukiyaki on rice, except it was portable! =D

    Food For Tots:
    That sacha was a source of newfound confusion. We weren't confused before! Haha.

  15. "what-the-West-thinks-that-the-East-thinks-food-in-the-West-is burger"
    sadly this is not the case. these are in american burger kings, too. it's called a steak house burger over here, and the mashed potatoes are actual mashed potatoes with bacon and cheese in them. the american version has enough calories to power your body for a week. this version looks WAAAAAAY better.

  16. Shannon:
    Oh, really... Have you tried it? I wonder whether they both came out at the same time!

  17. McD's burgers and bfast sandwiches pretty much taste the same, but their fries are definitely different from vancouver, i don't know what variety they use, but it taste's earthier, better since i'm used to what we get here in North America. Also, for any visitor's to TW, do not try their street vendor 'soft serve' ice cream, it's not milk, but some watered down sad excuse.

  18. Beautiful stuff. A little Social Media linking (FaceBook, Twitter, ++) would not hurt. Love the work here. Good wishes.


LinkWithin Related Stories Widget for Blogs