Weeks after the Nasi Lemak Burger was launched by McDonald’s Singapore, Malaysians finally got a taste of their very own rendition of the special item.
This was all thanks to popular Malaysian burger joint myBurgerLab, who saw their Nasi Lemak Ayam Rendang Burger selling out within two hours of its launch on Friday (4 August).
“The response has been great! I think everyone was surprised on how the flavours turned out. You have to eat it in order for it to make sense,” said Chin Renyi, co-founder and marketing director of myBurgerLab, to Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore.
“We are pretty happy with the launch and can’t have ask for a better support from our fans.”
The F&B brand capped the orders of its Nasi Lemak Ayam Rendang Burger to just 100 a day for each of its four outlets, meaning that a total of 400 burgers were sold soon after they were released from 5pm.
The launch came after myBurgerLab made headlines for announcing its Nasi Lemak burger on social media with a photo of the food item against a backdrop of the Malaysian flag along with the caption “Dear Singapore, nice try, but…”.
The post cheekily mocked the popular Nasi Lemak burger by McDonald’s Singapore in the lead up to the country’s National Day celebrations on 9 August.
Similarly for myBurgerLab, their Nasi Lemak Ayam Rendang Burger was launched in line with celebrations for Malaysia’s national day, also known as Merdeka Day, happening on 31 August.
The Nasi Lemak Ayam Rendang Burger by myBurgerLab is a tad different to the one offered by McDonald’s Singapore, which consisted of a coconut-flavoured chicken patty, sambal, egg, cucumber and buns.
The one sold by myBurgerLab had Thai-style boneless fried chicken as the patty, spicy sambal, a spread of smooth peanut butter, pickled cucumbers, sunny-side-up egg, a spoonful of rendang gravy and finely-chopped anchovies sandwiched between the brand’s signature charcoal bun. Each burger is priced at RM18.80 (SGD6).
Founded in 2012, myBurgerLab is well known in Malaysia for creating affordably-priced gourmet burgers and fusing them with unique local flavours.
Some of these include the Kelantanese Budu Mayo burger, Mango Rendang Burger and Sambal Petai Blue Cheese Burger.
Chin revealed that he was not surprised that Singapore came up with the idea to create a Nasi Lemak burger, and admitted that myBurgerLab’s latest creation was partly a response to McDonald Singapore’s Nasi Lemak Burger.
He added that myBurgerLab’s version of the eccentric burger would not be a hit among Malaysians if it wasn’t for McDonald’s Nasi Lemak burger.
“If we’d launched it first, it wouldn’t be such a big deal. Having Singapore, or at least McDonald’s launching it, benefits everyone. When an international brand takes on a local flavour, it’s most likely a success because McDonald’s is an international and affordable fast food chain and it’s experimenting on a local flavour. People will be excited and intrigued,” said Chin.
Food debates between Singapore and Malaysia ‘harmless’
It’s very common for Singaporeans and Malaysians to fight over their own local delicacies but Chin believes it is harmless.
“Food unites people and I love seeing the passion for food in people. Some people are more passionate about food and that makes me happy because I’m in the food industry and I want to create products or flavours that challenge people, make people excited,” said Chin, who also believes that the cross-border food debates will go on “forever”.
The Nasi Lemak Ayam Rendang Burger promotion, which was initially planned for a one-day-only release, has been extended till the end of the month after much persuasion by fans. Further extensions are subject to customers’ demand.
“It’s just the limitations of the kitchen space because we do produce a lot of other things from the menu and with the equipment that we have, we can only cook that much,” explained Chin.
Customers are in ‘love’ with Nasi Lemak Ayam Rendang Burger
The majority of the customers fell in love instantly after their first bite. For 44-year-old project manager Chris Lim, the burger exceeded his expectations.
“I just love rendang. The sauce is really nice. Even after you’re done eating, there’s a sambal after taste and the combination of the pickled cucumbers and crunchy anchovies is just excellent,” Lim said.
Meanwhile, 20-year-old student Leong Shi Ying found the Nasi Lemak Ayam Rendang burger tasted almost similar to the typical roadside stall Nasi Lemak.
“The pickled cucumbers make it quite interesting because they don’t usually put cucumbers in burgers, so it sort of taste like nasi lemak if you don’t think about the missing rice,” she said.
While the burger is by no means a Nasi Lemak, myBurgerLab owner Chin hopes everyone will give it a try.
“We are not trying to take every ingredient out of Nasi Lemak and put them between two buns. We are trying to get the inspiration, the flavour and put them in between. It’s difficult for me to explain but once you eat, you will go like ‘I get what you’re trying to do’,” he said.
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