Chicken rice, kaya toast and prawn mee are shoo-ins in any must-try Singapore food list. But let me add one more: a giant burger.
Fresh from our food trip in Malaysia, Jerick and I rode a Delima bus from Melaka Sentral Station and headed for Singapore. We went straight to Chinatown, had chicken rice and prawn mee at Maxwell Food Centre and decided to say hello to the Merlion the next day. We met two backpackers: Dennis, a German traveller roaming Southeast Asia; and Apple, a fellow Filipino traveller. Yes, we saw the Merlion, but we had a detour: a Giant Burger Challenge. No biggie, you would say? See for yourself:
From the outdoor theatre of the Esplanade (the best spot for stunning views of the Merlion and Marina Bay Sands, the hotel with a surfboard-like rooftop resting on three towers), we walked for about five minutes to reach New York New York restaurant located at City Link Mall, adjacent to the City Hall MRT station. And that’s where Dennis, egged on by Jerick, Apple and I, summoned all the hunger in him to take down the Giant Burger.
The challenge is to wolf down an 8-inch-wide, 4-inch-thick burger with tonnes of fries. Sounds easy? The restaurant’s Honour Board shows that 10 extraordinarily hungry individuals have done it before, but here’s a caveat: you have to do it in an hour. Eat it within 60 minutes and it’s on the house; if your intestines couldn’t handle it, the restaurant will charge you S$40! With a ticking clock beside the huge plate (it’s distractingly pink, by the way) and fries the size of our fingers, this challenge is really for the hungry souls.
Our dear friend Dennis started off good. Too good, really. He quickly finished a quarter of the burger, then half of it. He took gulps of water in between bites and he felt full really fast. But the fries became his Waterloo: he couldn’t eat ’em all.
He tried all the ways to make the fries more appetizing: added salt, put lots of pepper and even showered them with catsup. But starch was not easy to take in. We requested for cotton candy to provide a contrast to the salty combo, and the cotton candy even became our makeshift pom-poms as we cheered him on. Sixteen minutes left in the clock and a quarter of the giant remaining, Dennis decided to give up. (Oh, and it didn’t help that a song called Impossible was played during the challenge!)
The timer hit zero seconds and with Dennis’s wallet weeping, he handed over the S$40 dollars to the manager, who by the way, offered some insider info on how to successfully overcome the challenge (holler in the comment box you want to know his tips!). Dennis considered it an an epic failure on his part and he refused to be called the burger king yet (hence, we’ll use prince for now). But he promised to do it again, when he returns to the Lion City in the future.
Sure, Singapore may be the land of chicken rice, chilli crab and kaya toast and it’s not famous for its burgers. But travelling is all about finding surprising tidbits of places you go to, right? Ditch your desires to take a burger challenge in other parts of the globe. This Singapore Giant Burger Challenge is really one for the books.