Monday, November 5, 2007

Crazy Ang Mo - Bishan St. 22

Most any foodie would have heard of Botak Jones, Crazy Ang Mo and the debate about which makes the better burgers.

A quick recap: First there was Botak Jones, that brought (relatively) low-cost but tasty steak and burgers to the HDB estates around Singapore. Touting itself as serving authentic American food, it soon got a ravenous following of foodie fans who are willing to wait for more than an hour for their food. Starting at first from Tuas and Ang Mo Kio, branches have sprouted in Toa Payoh, Clementi, Woodlands and Depot Road.

And about a month ago, a new competitor has landed. Crazy Ang Mo is a similar set-up selling authentic Australian burgers and steak. Battles have emerged, including a head-on-head review of it versus Botak Jones in Straits Time's Sunday Lifestyle. Conclusion? Both are about on par.


And so this afternoon, craving a hearty and proper lunch, I made the long and arduous trek to Crazy Ang Mo from the bus stop I usually alight from.

About 5 minutes later (yeah, I do live that near), I found myself ordering a Crazy Burger, their flagship burger with 'the lot', meaning a vertical smorgasbord of: Sesame bun, cheese, fried egg, fried onions, crispy bacon, a beefy beefy patty with its edges seared just right, pineapple, tomato, lettuce, beetroot and a margarine-smeared bottom bun.

It was almost 3pm, so there wasn't really a queue. Mom says that last Sunday, the lunchtime wait was about 45 minutes. The wait for them to cook and stack the ingredients (must have been rather troublesome!) took about 15 minutes.

A bit about the food court where Crazy Ang Mo is. When I moved into Bishan about 17 years ago, that very location was a dim sum restaurant. After a few years of poor business, it then changed hands to another restaurant which didn't do too well either.

That location is cursed with a terrible location, as it's deep within the shopping area, with only an empty field on one side and a block of flats on another. Most people simply don't notice that secluded corner.

It was converted into a food court, and had changed hands twice (at least) before this current management. It had a rocky start, until they finally found 2 excellent anchor tenants. One is the chicken rice stall that is known for its juicy chicken and chicken rice balls.

The other is Crazy Ang Mo.

Don't ask me how the beetroot goes with the beef patty, because there was no way I could eat the burger whole without dislocating my jaw. Fine by me anyway, because I don't usually eat my burgers that way anyway.

While the burger wasn't flawless, it tasted pretty good.

Especially the patty, which was meaty, flavourful and cooked just right so the edges are seared to a crisp, and the inside is still juicy.

But 2 gripes: One, the cheese wasn't nicely melted over the pineapple, I would have loved melty cheese. Two, the base was coated with margarine, and you know how much I abhor the artificial trans-fat containing paste that human beings pass off for food these days.

The fries, well, they're the usual run-of-the-mill and the Straits Times review says to pay more for the proper steak fries.

Still, I like it. I'd go for it again and again, if not for the fact that it costs a whopping $7.90.

Oh and did I mention? I live only 5 minutes away.

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