Malaysians are well known for their predilection for food. Across all races and cultures, love for food unites Malaysians like nothing else does. Before the coronavirus hit Malaysia, it wasn’t uncommon to witness large groups of friends from different backgrounds crowding together at the mamak shop or at the warung tepi jalan for a late-night supper and chat.
One of the most popular street food is the Malaysian burger, known affectionately by many Malaysians as the Ramly burger. Locals love it, locals based overseas crave for it, foreigners fall in love with the greasy wholesomeness. By adding a unique Malaysian twist to the humble hamburger, the Ramly burger presents its burger patties wrapped in an egg parcel, stuffed with fresh vegetables, slathered in choice condiments, and sandwiched between a two halves of a bun. While it sounds messy – it definitely gets messy if you don’t quite have mastered the skill many Malaysians who have partaken of this delectable delight – it tastes heavenly. Burger snobs may turn up their nose at this greasy, gooey offering, but Ramly burger lovers do not hesitate to get their fingers all dirty (and licking every delicious bit of grease off afterwards).
It all began in 1979, when Haji Ramly Mokni found it difficult to determine if the street vendors of Kuala Lumpur were actually peddling halal meat. And his business-like mind saw an opportunity gap there and took it. He set up shop to sell his own meat, and after a year, along with his wife, formed the Ramly Group company to provide for the halal meat needs of all the Muslims in the city. Now, we can find Ramly burger meat patties at almost every burger stall in Malaysia.
What makes Ramly burger the Ramly burger? And why is it so popular?
The secret of the Ramly burger comes from the preparation. All the patties indeed come from the same source; each vendor has their own secret to frying them. Usually, they wrap up the patties in an egg, allowing the juices and the toppings and the sauces to remain within the egg parcel, contributing to the burst of deliciousness with every bite. The condiments are also an important contributing factor to the taste, such as margarine, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and Maggi seasoning. With cheese, and fresh tomato and lettuce, this burger is now set to tantalize every tastebud in your mouth. It definitely is different from conventional hamburgers. Besides, it is customizable, for example, one who hates onions can opt not to have onions in their burgers, and those who love the extra crunch can order extra lettuce in their burger. Besides, it is affordable and easy on the pocket.
The status of the Ramly burger is such that it has found a place among other Malaysian food that has been immortalized in every Malaysian foodie’s soul, such as nasi lemak, roti canai, satay, and the like. The love for this burger has actually drove people to develop apps such as BurgerKatMane so that those craving this burger can go in search for the nearest open stall at ungodly hours if they feel like it.
Sadly, for Singaporeans, the only thing real about the “Ramly burger” they eat these days is the wrapper. The patties have been banned in Singapore because the meat used for the patties were sourced from sources that were not listed on the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore approved list of Commercial Food Imports for Meats, which apparently could pose a potential health risk. In contrast, New Yorkers are actually paying the equivalent of RM 51 for a taste of Ramly overseas.
One thing’s for sure, Ramly burgers are the epitome of comfort food that reminds one all that is good about home. It’s no wonder why it is dubbed the “King of the street food”.