FFC: Flashback Burgers

I was trading comments with Amanda when I had a flashback to a remarkable burger I ate in China, several years ago.

Back then in Beijing, there were two places to get a good burger. One was the shiny new, plasticky clean MacDonald’s. The other was in Sanlitun, a well-known nightclub and bar district. Sanlitun was right beside the CBD and all the foreign embassies. I used to think this a coincidence but a little bit of research showed that this was also the government prescribed area for diplomats and foreign nationals. Suffice to say that when the young expats wanted to cut loose, Sanlitun was the place to go. During the day however, it was a nice place to go shopping and have Western style food.

I remember going to a patio restaurant known for it’s casual dining fare. Sitting in the upholstered rattan chair and surrounded by potted plants and chalkboard specials, I could imagine being back in Toronto/Raleigh/Austin or any other city stateside. I opened up the giant tri-fold menu and looked at the familiar fare of burgers with cheese, fresh tomatoes and lettuce; BBQ burger with onion relish; Hawaiian burger with grilled pineapple; Aussie burger with pickles and egg. Aussie burger! That’s different, I thought. I’ll give it a try.

My Aussie burger came stacked on a big bun with a thick beef patty piled high with cheese, bacon, lettuce, extra ripe tomatoes and a fried egg. The egg was a bit unusual, runny and potentially messy to eat. I got extra napkins, pressed everything down and took a bite. Yummy, beef and bacon. Weird but ok, fried egg. Weird but odd … something else. Peeling back the layers in my burger, I saw that one of the tomatoes was a slice of pickled red beetroot.

This was only the second time in my life that I’d had beetroot. My first time had been at a friend’s dinner party where I was honor bound to eat it. This time around I had nothing but my pocket-book obliging me to finish. I warily took apart my burger and removed the slice of blood red beetroot.

According to this article, pickled beets are an essential part of an Australian burger. Why put beetroot in a burger?

“Maybe it was our desire not to be Americanised?” ponders Warren Fahey, Australian folklore collector and author of Australian food history compendium, Tucker Track. “For some reason the idea of hamburger wrapping stained by beetroot juice was accepted as the sign of a great hamburger. People get quite emotional over the subject of Australian hamburgers.

So that was then, when I wasn’t an Aussie burger beetroot fan. Nowadays, I’ll indulge in a burger during summertime and sometimes reach for a burger without beef or bacon. I’ll have my non-beef, vegetarian burger loaded up with lettuce, tomatoes and dill pickles. Recently, I read the list of ingredients of my vegan burger. Along with plant protein from peas, mung bean, fava beans, coconut oils and potato starch, it also included beetroot juice. I guess the beets have caught up with me.


This is Week#2 of the Friendly Friday Challenge: FLASHBACK.

Tell us a story about a FLASHBACK reminding you of something that happened THEN compared to NOW. This challenge topic goes up to Thursday, after which Amanda will post a new topic. Remember to include a pingback to this post or the original. Have fun with the topic!


  1. I have never had nor heard of serving beetroot in a burger, but can actually imagine it being very tasty. We eat beetroot with a Finnish dish that has potato and mince and it goes with it perfectly. I also love those Beyond meat burgers. I recently served them to a meat eater, who commented how tasty they were before she knew she was eating a plant based burger! Maybe it’s the beetroot.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The Beyond Meeat burgers are good. I’ve read that the beetroot is primarily to give it a meaty red color vs taste. What’s the name of your Finnish dish?


    1. I actually don’t remember but I’m guessing it was Lets Burger since it’s in Nali Patio, which I do remember. YOu have a very good memory .. I will remember the place but not the name. For a jog down memory lane, I”m sure you’ll recognise these favorites: Annie’s, The German Bakery, and Jenny’s Supermarket. I also had many a fine pastry at the Kepinski Hotel and once watched a lone foreign diner order an entire Peking Duck dinner for himself at the Chinese restaurant there. I felt sorry for him because I’m sure he didn’t realise what he was ordering. However, I under estimated him as he ate it all, all three courst and then some.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, Sandy – As soon as I hit “publish”, I realized that it was Let’s Burger. I had the same burger there once. Interesting…but I didn’t order that same one again. ;D
        I still have plateware from Annie’s and cloth bags from Jenny Lous and The German Bakery. Cool about the lone foreigner eating an entire Peking Duck dinner solo.
        Very fond memories!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Haha, I saw your earlier debate with Amanda about the inclusion of beetroot in a burger! I’ve never tried an Aussie burger but I’m with you in disliking beetroot and I can’t imagine what it would add to a burger 😬 And I usually use a knife and fork too, as I prefer to leave the top half of the bun!

    Meanwhile here’s a second flashback for you: https://www.toonsarah-travels.blog/elephant-encounter-flashback-to-our-first-safari/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OK. OK. Under duress, I admit that I’ve succumbed and taken my knife & fork to an piled high burger. I feel guilty all the time doing it. It’s one of the reasons I keep my burgers plain and simple: single patty, pickle, lettuce & tomatoe; no cheese, bacon, onions, egg, beetroot, pineapple or any other accoutrements.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Now, @Sarah – this is something you have to understand. Pineapple is essential on any variety of pizza! Chicken – yuk yuk, but living in a tropical country, the taste of fresh pineapple on a pizza is delicious to me. You don’t know what you have been missing! Lol. Blue cheese on a burger might be considered sacrilegious to some. Lol…. But I am with you on the bacon albeit occasionally.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve had Hong Kong Borscht which is a Chinese adaptation from Russian emigres during WWI. But since China didn’t grow beets, then, it doesn’t have beets and it tastes like more like Campbells’vegetable soup with cabbage.
      I’ve never had the original version. Cold soup with sour cream does appeal.
      If you’re interested in how borscht came to China this article explains:

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Beets beat me. But one thing is sure that every country stamps a burger with its own peculiar taste. In China/ HK it was Chinese flavour no matter which restaurant u had it. In India the burger cater to Indian palate.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well it is both. First no beef only chicken and veggies and secondly it is cooking medium and spices. The McDonald’s McAloo Tikki burger was a big hit when introduced in 1998. It bun with spiced veggie patty made from potatoes and peas, topped with fresh red onions, sliced tomato, and egg-free creamy tomato mayo.😋

        Liked by 1 person

    1. … and it is messy.

      Did you know that Singaporeans eat burgers with knives and forks? Not the fast food ones, but the fancy resto ones. Utensils makes a lot of sense with these towering burgers but it goes against the very principle of a hamburger.
      As my teenage son says, “That’s nonsense!” 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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