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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ssam Burger- Asians Make Burgers Too

Warning:  The following may be inappropriate for children under the age of 13 and those not familiar with Yosemite Sam

Ssam Burger will become to the burger what Hankook Taqueria has become to tacos.  An unassuming location with less than stellar aesthetics, but just incredible food.  With the common theme that both are run by visionary and hard working Koreans.

Ssam is the perfect example of what culinary "fusion" is.  They take something as iconic as the Hamburger to new heights by adding some traditional Korean twists.  The movie parallel would be putting an 80 year old Dirty Harry into an Asian neighborhood as they did in Grand Torino.  It's a risk but the payoff is well worth it.  If you haven't seen Grand Torino, it's Eastwood's funniest effort out of his many iconic roles.

So when my wife (who is the antithesis of a foodie) proclaims last night that "this is the best burger I have ever had in my life," I knew Ssam was onto something here.

For the record, she ate the Aloha Burger with Korean BBQ Angus Beef and Bacon, Caramelized Pineapples and Sriracha Mayo.

Behold the Aloha Burger
I have at least sampled four of their burgers.  Both the Seoul and Kimcheese Burgers come with their secret Ssam sauce.  I have no idea what this Ssam sauce is, but I'm pretty sure it is too good to be legal.  I may become the A-Roid of food bloggers if I'm tested for this stuff.

But both the Seoul and Kimcheese were delicious.  If you like Kimchi, the relish on the Kimcheese should quench your needs.  If you want to try the sesame arugula, go with the Seoul.

Kimcheese Burger
The 4th Burger I sampled was the Kinoko Burger with Blue Cheese, Shitake Mushrooms and Chimichurri Sauce.  If you love Blue Cheese and Shitake Shrooms, this is your bag baby.  The sauce has nothing to do with Mary Poppins.

For the side, I highly recommend the sweet potato chips.  They are as good as the sweet potato fries at Einsteins on Juniper.  But fair warning, their food is packed with juice.  It will be a multiple napkin ordeal.

So run, do not walk here.  It's really that good.  As I'm working on the taco tournament, I am realizing I will have to do the Hamburger tournament again in the next year or two with all of these outstanding burgers that I keep finding.  I would also like to think Heather Sheets for getting me off my ass and trying Ssam Burger.

But I am remiss in not getting the story behind their name.  According to Wikipedia it's a Korean leaf wrap.  That's unfortunate, since I was hoping it was named after a famous Sam.

For example, if I ever opened up a bar, I would name it "Mayday Malones" after Sam Malone from Cheers.  Not only is he one of the iconic characters in sitcom history, he apparently wears one of the iconic hair pieces of all time as well.

Sam Malone was also a humanitiarian.

Or maybe they named it after Samuel L Jackson?  Here's his classic kids book narration.

Or maybe Yosemite Sam?  This never gets old

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Today's Footnote:  The Taco Tournament is coming.  Life has gotten in the way of it, but I have to try a couple of more places before I start.  I am 90% sure I am going to name the four divisions after action heroes.  If you haven't read it, go to and check out Simmons breakdown of the great action heroes.  It's great pop culture writing that I hope one day to aspire too.  Right now I think I'm going with the Dirty Harry, John J. Rambo, Terminator and Bruce Lee as our divisions.  But it could all change.  I may get John McClain in there.  And with that, I leave you with this.

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