Wuhan’s Biggest Burger Round-up Ever!

An American chef's journey around Wuhan to find the best burger in the city

13

 

“The search for the best burger is a life long journey”

The search for the best burger is a life long journey, and living in a foreign country for nearly 15 years doesn’t make it very easy, especially in a developing country like China where beef was once considered a treat, and then mostly for guests.  China has come a long way and Wuhan has changed tremendously.  Gone are the days where the only place to find a burger was McDonald’s.  It’s become a regular item on menus throughout the city. I decided to round up the best burger places in Wuhan, nearly all, and compare them in just 2 weeks.  Every day, for two weeks, I ate at least one burger, and some days up to three.

“I love burgers, but after the first week…it quickly felt like a chore”

I love burgers, but after the first week, the joy faded from trying each burger in town, and it quickly felt like a chore, one I wasn’t being paid or rewarded to do.  However, it combined my love and knowledge of food as an American Chef and my passion for writing and sharing my food experiences with expats and locals of Wuhan.  Throughout my tenure in China I’ve seen many burger places come and go, some I miss (Club Café), and some I don’t (Jenn lounge).  Since my first year here I’ve been spreading my love for grilled meats and BBQ, by hosting events at home, in bars, selling burgers and BBQ at night, at sporting events, and training Chinese chefs in the art of Western cooking.

“I hope that this review is useful in guiding your next choice on your own burger quest”

Most of the places I reviewed here I had already been to multiple times, but in the interest of fairness, I visited each one again and discussed in detail every aspect of their burger offering.  It’s my sincerest hope that this review is useful in guiding your next choice on your own burger quest.  I’ve taken the guesswork out of incomplete menu descriptions and Chinese menus, to provide you an objective comparison of each burger, followed by my own personal thoughts on each.

Hankou Burgers

Brussels & Atomium Beer Pub

Brussels

Price: 58CNY

Beef Patty: 250g, Inner Mongolia, handmade

Toppings: bacon, signature mayo sauce, lettuce, and tomato (ketchup, mustard, and pickles upon request)

This is the 2nd largest burger in town and comes with a unique pita bread bun for something different.  I found the meat and bun to be a little too dry, not juicy, but well seasoned and flavored.  Also the cheese was one of the strongest tasting of all the burgers. I tried and the house mayo was worth asking for more of to help moisten this gigantic burger, and fries (add 15 CNY for fries).  Definitely need a beer to wash this burger down with.  They have burgers available without cheese and bacon as well as a number of other unique dishes and beers you won’t find anywhere else.  It’s famous among expats and has been a Wuhan staple for nearly as long as I’ve been living here.

O Park

OPARK

Price: 42CNY

Beef Patty: 180g, Chinese, handmade

Toppings: 2 slices of cheese, “rainbow salad” of purple cabbage, carrot, and apple, and a homemade BBQ sauce

“The Big Mac” as its called on the menu. Situated right on the lake, secluded and not as easily visible, it offers a unique atmosphere and menu, with prices that are hard to believe.  The entire menu is opened when you scan a QR code, all in Chinese, but with pictures, so not too difficult to navigate, and you can pay with cash if you like.  The Big Mac BBQ sauce is hands down my favorite sauce on any burger I tried, it’s a little spicy the way Wuhan locals like it, but bold and rich enough to be familiar to any who enjoy Western BBQ.  The rainbow salad with apple slices paired surprisingly well and orders come quick.  While the meat isn’t imported like most in this review, they more than make up for it with originality and price.  The other burger offerings, like the Slow Stewed Beef burger are just as unique and worth a try, but foreigners will probably not like the steak burger.  This is my Hankou recommendation for Value and flavor, no one else comes close to the size and taste at this price.

Bounty Rhumerie

Bounty Rhumerie

Price: 88CNY

Beef Patty: 200g, Australian Angus Sirloin, sourced

Toppings: cheese, lettuce, tomato, a house “Cocktail” sauce, with a house mayo for dipping

“The Big Marcel” as it’s called on the menu is their only burger offering. Their bun is made in house and one of my favorites, an overall premium burger for the highest price burger in this review. (Tied with Blue Frog’s Cheeseburger at 88rmb) Slightly sour and a noticeably stronger flavor than most other burger buns in this review.  Along with the “cocktail” sauce, which isn’t actually cocktail sauce that you might thinking of with Shrimp cocktail, instead it’s a homemade recipe that is much milder and really worth trying. I found it to be excellent and complimented the burger well enough to be the only sauce you need, while not overpowering the flavors of the meat and bread. The fries also stood out, one of the few places that actually makes their own, great tasting with the skin still on.  The menu says aged Cheese, but you could barely tell it was there.  For an additional 20rmb you can order your burger with Raclette cheese, which would probably be worth it, but didn’t know about because it isn’t on the menu.  I will certainly add it next time.  On Tuesday it’s buy one get one free Mojitos making it a great choice for a summer time meal inside or outside.

Dazhimen Beer Resturant

Dazhimen Bar

Price: 58CNY

Beef Patty: 220g, Australian Sirloin, handmade

Toppings: BBQ beef rib meat, guacamole, chipotle sauce, sour cream, cheddar cheese, and onions

Fresh baked bread that is custom ordered, topped with pumpkin seeds, sunflower kernels, black and white sesame seeds, and oatmeal.  All the sauces are handmade and overflowing on the burger and perfectly toasted bun, complete with a generous portion of potato wedges coated in chipotle sauce and salsa…No wonder it was the 2017 Burger Battle Winner.  With the beef patty being topped with BBQ beef rib meat, it is a force to be contended with, and is one of my favorite all around burgers.  Juicy meat, well seasoned, cooked to perfection by Chef Adu and his team, it’s creative and well worth the asking price compared to other more expensive burgers in this review.

It’s really hard to compare this burger to others, because of all the extra handmade sauces that go on top, the flavors beautifully meld into a unique taste that captured people’s taste buds and launched it to glory to become Burger of the Year, however unfair it might have been versus a “normal” burger. As of this review, it has a very strong chance of winning the 2018 burger awards, it’s just that damn good.  The potato wedges are also the best side dish of any burger in this review, nothing compares to fresh potato wedges with the skin, topping them with his sauces and salsa are just going over the top.  From 5-9pm its 78rmb for a burger, fries, and beer, making it nearly the cheapest deal any night of the week.  Be warned, there are only 10 available each day, so let them know you are coming to guarantee they save you one or get there early.

Paddyfield Irish Bar and Restaurant

Paddy Field

Price: 68CNY

Beef Patty: 200g, Australian, handmade

Toppings: brown mustard, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, cheddar cheese (add 7CNY)

This Burger is very traditional American style with brown mustard and imported American fries.  The beef patty has some diced onion inside and is seasoned, but it reminds me too much of meatloaf in its texture and flavor.  My friend who just happened to be there at the same time had ordered a burger and they brought ours out at the same time, after I switched tables.  Both were cooked to different temperatures, he sent his back.  Both had bottom buns soaked red and wet on the bottom from juices, leaving most of the bottom bread an inedible wet mush.

It was honestly one of my least favorite burgers on the list, which is a shame, considering its one of the highest priced.  It’s a very nice place and atmosphere, excellent staff and service, with a huge menu.  I tried a slice of their pizza and thought it was really good, I didn’t know they had such great pizza. I just wish I had been reviewing pizza there and not the burger.  I suggested they let the meat rest before placing it on a bun which should help and also suggested waiting to warm up the bun, until before they serve it, otherwise it comes out cold.  I’m confident the chef will fix their issues, it’s a popular expat hangout and I’ve heard good things about some of the other food.

Red Stone Room

Red Stone

Price: 56CNY

Beef Patty: 100g, India, (Halal Beef), handmade

Toppings: homemade mayonnaise, egg, pineapple, onion marmalade, lettuce, tomato.

“Kiwi Burger” Wuhan’s Burger of the year 2016 has seen better days.  A few years ago there wasn’t as much competition and the management and chef were different than they are today.  Red Stone has a nice menu of other items, most of which I can recommend, just not the burger.  It is priced higher and smaller than other burgers around that offer more.  The mayonnaise was unrecognizable, I thought it was some other white sauce, the red wine onion marmalade is always served cold, and the pineapple is canned.  Combined with an egg, it’s just too much going on with the burger. It isn’t as messy as it once was, less juicy and a very boring seasoned patty lacking in juices that would give it some flavor.

Overall, I can’t recommend it and I suggested they shop around for a new meat supplier, theirs just can’t measure up to the others on this list, I even found it less desirable than local Chinese meat.  On the bright side, in a few weeks they will have a new menu and maybe they will work on their burger after understanding the competition is greater and more fierce than before.  Still a nice cozy spot with some New Zealand beers you won’t find elsewhere and soon they’ll be doing some seasonal stuff with crawfish.  I give them credit by pushing the bounds of traditional hamburgers and adapting to local’s taste preferences, I’m just hoping they can make a hit that resonates with the foreigners who are eager to return to Red Stone.

Bubble Lab

Bubble Lab

Price: 68CNY

Beef Patty: 200g, American Sirloin/Flank,  handmade

Toppings: lettuce, tomato, pickles, and grilled onion, mozzarella cheese.

American cheese burger on homemade buns. I almost didn’t go back to Bubble Lab for this review, I’ve had the burger a number of times and while it’s improved over the years, I just never felt it stood out as anything special.  Well that’s changed and after having their latest iteration, it’s definitely back on my radar.  The burger and bun are huge and toppings just right.  The only place to use American beef in this review and while it’s hard to tell, there is a subtle difference, though most probably would never know.  Regardless, with the craft beer selection, and handmade fries (when they serve them, they did not for my review), and the weekly live music scene, it’s a nice place for me and my family to have a dinner and drink before it gets too late.  With their Brew master in Beijing concentrating on beer full time, it really shows as the beer variety and taste has really improved.  They also offer a very spicy edition of their burger if you are feeling brave along with my favorite fish and chips in Wuhan. Happy 2 year anniversary Bubble Lab!

Commune

Commune

Price: 35CNY

Beef Patty: Chinese, handmade

Toppings: lettuce, tomato, pickles, mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard upon request

This is home of the cheapest burger and fries deal in Wuhan, but unfortunately it’s the last place I would recommend.  Most everyone knows Commune for the self service beer selection and cheap pizza, it needs little introduction to anyone going out in Hankou.  It may satisfy some late night cravings over beer, but not the place you would want to start for dinner if taste is your concern.  The meat is too finely ground and minced ,making it a very mushy patty in your mouth, while the custom ordered bun and fries are just average.  It only comes with mayonnaise, but you can request yellow mustard if you like and spread some of your French fries’ ketchup on it to add some flavor.  It also comes with a hefty side salad, jalapeños, and roasted sesame dressing, which I thought was a welcome touch that no other place offers.  They do ground their own meat and after talking with the Chef, their patty could change and they might figure out how to do it better. If this occurs, I’ll definitely give it another try and update the review.

Blue Frog

Blue Frog

Price: 78CNY

Beef Patty: 180g, Australian, sourced

Toppings: lettuce, tomato, pickle, onions

This burger is tied for most expensive Burger with cheese and you need to request things like regular mayonnaise, ketchup, and mustard if you want that on your burger. They have other optional sauces, cheeses, and toppings you can add, prices ranging from 10 to 20rmb each, which can quickly push this burger over 100rmb.  It does give you unmatched ability to build the ultimate choice of burger.  Don’t want to build one? They have 11 different burgers to choose from, ranging from 78rmb to 118rmb, that offer a little savings over building your own.  I have only ever gone on a Monday, because 4pm to close on Monday is buy one burger and drink, get a free burger and drink.  You can also substitute the regular fries for sweet potato fries for an additional 5rmb. When they first opened I thought the beef was really premium quality, but lately, it seemed not as good as before, especially when compared to all the current offerings in this review.

I’ve also had the most expensive “Gourmet” burger that sounds a lot more appealing than what you actually get, but was a nice variation on the standard burger offerings and bun.  Overall I can only see myself going there on a Monday, otherwise, it’s just not worth the asking price any other day.  They do have a large outside seating are and the drink menu is extensive, but prices can quickly approach your burger price and the deal just seems less and less attractive.  If you happen to be in the area on a Monday after 4pm give it a go.

Amigo Mexican American Restaurant

Amigo’s Mexican Restaurant 

Price: 68CNY

Beef Patty: 200g, Australian, sourced

Toppings: cheese, home-made sweet fried onion, fresh pineapple, mayo, bacon, lettuce

This burger was a surprise all around.  Not a fan of pineapple on my burger, I instantly removed it, only to try a bite and find it that it was fresh and not canned. That’s something I could leave on my burger and will in the future.  The homemade sweet onion was different, but a welcome variation after nearly 2 weeks of burgers.  It was served warm and had been cooked between with the pineapple.  The meat, which was cooked well and evenly, and season just right, sat between one of my favorite buns in this review.  They make their own buns and it reminds me of the homemade bread you can do at home with a bread machine.  The nice slightly toasted outside, wasn’t a crunch, but a crisper outer layer that was a warm welcome over the soft buns used by most everyone else. It’s thickness held the juices well and wasn’t dry at all. It really surprised me how much I would enjoy this bread and fresh toppings variety.  The sweet potato fries were a great addition, and the colorful side salad with corn and beans, covered in a vinaigrette were a nice compliment to this all around sound burger.  It’s one of the few I’m looking forward to trying again in the near future and am happy to have discovered it during my review.

Little Chihuahua

Little Chihuahua

Price: 68CNY

Beef Patty: 150g, Australian Sirloin, topped with beef rib meat, handmade

Toppings: handmade guacamole, chipotle sauce, sour cream, onion, cheese, and lettuce

If this burger looks familiar to Dahzimen burger, that’s because it was designed by the same Chef.  Chef Adu worked with Little Chihuahua to improve their menu and that he did.  While the menu doesn’t say it includes beef rib meat on the burger, it most surely does, a wonderful surprise as you bite into this burger covered in handmade sauces.  Daily fresh ground meat really makes a difference in quality and taste and it shows compared to some others that buy frozen and premade.  Once again it’s hard to compare this offering with the others, but it’s the only beef burger on the menu and it comes with so much healthy and premium toppings you can’t help but return for more.  The potato wedges on the side are plain and not sauced, and not many are included, which is a shame, because they are pretty good.  Overall, I’d say you can’t go wrong with this burger or the other offerings at Little Chihuahua, which include tacos, burritos, and salad bowls.  The drinks are also very healthy and their all natural offerings will appeal to health conscious individuals, as well as vegetarians, who can get a Tofu burger.

Wuchang Burgers

Devils Brewery

Little Devil’s

Price: 68CNY

Beef Patty: 150g, Australian, handmade

Toppings: onion, tomato, crispy bacon, house sirachi sauce, and medium Cheddar cheese

Wuhan Social Food and Drink Awards Winner 2017 Burger of the Year

Bacon cheese burger and fries. The seasoning is a little overwhelming with the ground pepper hiding the taste of the meat, but the flavorful American cheese is among the best on any burger around.  The Brioche bun is custom ordered and toasted with butter.  It holds together well, while the fries were just ok, but here you can also substitute sweet potato fries or Tater tots without additional cost.  It’s the only place in town serving tater tots and they have an excellent craft beer selection and other food items you won’t find elsewhere.  Sunday’s are the best time to enjoy, when you buy a Burger, you get a free beer, making it the burger of choice on Sundays.

Shine Shark

Shine Shark

Price: 32CNY

Beef Patty: 90g, Canadian Black Angus, handmade

Toppings: lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, mayonnaise , and a light honey mustard sauce, with cheese

Buns made in house and compliment their burger that is one of the best tasting in Wuhan. They only do burgers, with 14 on the menu and plenty of snacks and sides to compliment them.  Also the only Burger place in Wuchang to be serving milkshakes, which are pretty darn good and well priced. On the beef burger, the sauces aren’t overpowering and the seasoning just right, bringing out the truly great flavor of their premium meat.  While it may be a smaller patty than others, you can add up to 3 for only 9rmb each and still get more meat at a lesser price than other places.  It’s worth it, their meat patty is juicy and cooked perfectly every time, my go to dinner on Monday nights after work.  All of their burgers have a combo price with fries and soft drink, ranging from 46 to 52rmb. Lastly, they have the most amazing Ketchup I’ve ever had in my life, Tiptree ketchup imported from England, the Queens personal favorite.  You can buy a small cup for 3rmb with your meal, or a bottle to take home and enjoy, definitely worth a try next time you’re in.

Cheers Beer Taphouse

Cheers Bar Tap house

Price: 68CNY

Beef Patty: 180-200g, Australian, sourced

Toppings: lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles, cheese, and their own burger sauce

Both the bread and patty are sourced, as are the fries, but they still are great tasting.  While nothing really stands out, it is a very big juicy burger and the fries are plentiful, seasoned with herbs and cracked pepper.  The house burger sauce is also good for dipping and much better than just plain mayonnaise. The venue has more outside seating than inside seating available, complete with a large craft beer selection on draft from around China and a few other fried bar snacks.  Definitely some fun to be had on their large terrace, they even have a nice BBQ grill you can use if you bring your own meat.  Outside has open and covered seating, nice for bringing kids and having a party no matter the weather.

MONSTER

Monster Bar

Price: 40CNY

Beef Patty: 70g, Chinese (Halal Beef), handmade

Toppings: lettuce, tomato, onion ,cheese, mayonnaise, and house BBQ sauce

“Smash” Double Cheese burger, fries, and coke. This bar offers the second cheapest burger and fries combo in my review (perhaps cheapest if you consider the drink is included) and it didn’t disappoint.  While it wasn’t the biggest burger, it did an adequate job of satisfying my hunger.  The house BBQ sauce is a little thin and weak, but a nice variation from your standard burger.  The mayonnaise was top and bottom and a bit much for my taste, but the double meat and double cheese were done well enough to still come through in taste.  It’s not a bad deal if you’re are that area and looking for a cheap burger that isn’t corporate, not much other choice around.  And it’ll certainly do the trick if you’re around for drinks, which they have plenty of in a self service style, even a few beers from brewers I’ve never even seen in China, which is impressive.  The foosball table and outside area make this an ideal student hangout, which isn’t surprising given its location.  They’re also currently working on a newer bigger and improved “Monster” burger and looking forward to trying that out when it’s completed.

Hanyang Burgers

Aloha Diner

Aloha Diner

Price: 75CNY

Beef Patty: 180g, Kerchin, handmade

Toppings: cheese, mayo, tomato, and lettuce

“Texas Burger” with fries and refillable soda. This place has the distinction of being the oldest burger joint in town and there’s a reason its outlasted all the rest…It’s good, family friendly, and clean. Located in Hanyang on the French street, it’s finally accessible by the Subway, meaning I get there more often than before.  The ripple cut fries, milkshake selection, Hawaiian atmosphere, and American style ceiling fans, just transport you home. The tex-mex menu is the best and only in town if you are craving something different.  My personal favorite the “Western Burger” piled high with Onion rings and homemade BBQ sauce for 80rmb.  Lastly, if you are feeling brave, try the “Big Kahuna” burger.  Wuhan’s largest burger is 260g of beef that sits between 2 grilled cheese sandwiches (Yes 2 buttery grilled cheese sandwiches) topped with grilled onion and your choice of BBQ or ranch sauce, all for just 100rmb including free refills.….I’ve only ever split it and it was delicious.  The meat here is seasoned so well and more than just pepper and salt, it stands out as one of the best seasoned, if not the best, seasoned meat in my review.  Oh and did I mention they make their own donuts daily?  As if you needed any more reasons to visit.

“I did it for the customers, so they can make an informed decision when deciding their next burger purchase.”

While there are surely places that I missed, that only means there’s hope and possible joy in finding a better burger.  Throughout doing this review and writing, people have been asking me what the best burger in Wuhan is, and while I thought a clear winner would emerge, I honestly can’t choose a favorite.  It depends on your budget, location, and day of the week.  If taste is your main concern, then it depends on your preference of toppings, buns, and sauces.  I wish you luck in your journey to find your personal favorite.

“I did it for the businesses and owners who can take an in depth look… make adjustments where needed”

I spent a lot of time and money on food, drinks, and transportation putting together this review.  I have received no financial compensation or other incentives that have influenced my opinions in any way.  I did it for the customers, so they can make an informed decision when deciding their next burger purchase.  I did it for the businesses and owners who can take an in depth look at the competition and make adjustments where needed.  It should be a win-win situation for everyone. Thank you to the businesses that were kind enough to provide a free or discounted burger for this review.  I wish you all success and enjoyed visiting old friends in the industry and making some new ones along with way.  If you feel this guide will help you in your own future dining experiences or to improve your own burger as an owner, whether through the comparisons or my personal feedback, then consider using the “Tip the author” function.  Summer is heating up in Wuhan and I’m looking forward to the 2018 Burger Battle, consider this your scouting report and inside look at the best Burgers Wuhan currently has to offer.

“Tip the Author”

Benjamin Wilson, Chef, father, foodie, and a fan of all things Science fiction