This post is presented by CaliBurger.
You might’ve already heard the buzz, a California-style burger joint—with a similar feel to a certain West Coast favorite that shall not be named—has opened up in East District. CaliBurger is an international fast food chain, but this Taipei branch sure isn’t anything like other popular brands such as McDonalds or MOS Burger.
With the help of CEO Tony Chao, CaliBurger is serving a kind of burger experience that you can’t find anywhere else in Taiwan. Here are a few reasons why you should give this place a try the next time you’re craving a good burger.
Unlike most fast-food chains, Caliburger sources all of its ingredients domestically (other than the beef and avocados, for obvious reasons). No ingredients spend any time in the freezer; the tomatoes, lettuce and potatoes are all delivered daily from farms all over Taiwan and the buns from one of the many great bakeries in Taipei. Everything is then freshly sliced in the morning before being served. The restaurant’s proudest item is its fries, which is freshly cut and fried daily.
Unlike most places that try to impress people with the size of the beef patty, Caliburger emphasizes the perfect combination of the burger. Every bite offers customers the perfect ration of bun, lettuce, tomato, sauce and beef, instead of making them feel like they are eating a giant steak with a piece of bun on top. As Chao put it, the ingredients of a good burger should “explode all together in [your] mouth.” The burgers aren’t meant to make you feel stuffed but still leave you very satisfied.
Currently, the only options for burgers in Taiwan is either cheap fast food like McDonalds or pricy gourmet burgers. CaliBurger is the perfect in-between for those craving a good quality burger without breaking the bank. The price for the burgers range between NT$150 to NT$250, so you can get a fresh burger fix without sacrificing the quality.
CaliBurger is not just another restaurant opened by some random investor. It’s opened by someone who wanted to bring an authentic taste of California to Taipei both for himself and the city. Chao is a Taiwanese man who grew up in L.A. and greatly missed the taste of the famous California-style burger chains upon returning to Taipei 16 years ago. As American-style burgers have infiltrated the Taiwanese diet within the past five years, becoming one of the things people crave when they’re wanting a break from the usual noodles or rice routine, Chao said now was the best time to open up his own restaurant.
Unlike most Western restaurants that overwhelm customers with options, Caliburger’s menu is simple with only four types of burgers to choose from—a great plus for indecisive eaters. The main flavors are the regular Caliburger, a double-decker Cali Double for the meat lovers, the Cali Chicken Sandwich with real guacamole and the Chipotle BBQ Chicken Sandwich. The fresh-cut fries also have the option of being served with onions and the restaurant’s special sauce, which we will get into in about three, two…
Described as a “zesty Thousand Island,” the sauce served with the CaliBurgers and fries is to die for. Thankfully, the proportions are also American, so generously added in the sandwich that you won’t have to worry about needing—yes, needing, not wanting—more. That, my friends, is a damn good burger. It also ensures that the burger and fries are eaten fresh and as soon as possible to avoid the sauce soaking the bun.
Upon surveying the restaurant, it’s clear that the smiling, friendly employees are having a good time and enjoying themselves. A contributing factor to the cheerful work environment may be the above minimum pay at which, according to Chao, employees are paid. Furthermore, there’s an actual representative from Caliburger training the newly-opened shop’s staff to ensure quality retainment. And as if that doesn’t sound like burgers with integrity to you, CaliBurger donated a part of the profit from its opening day to charity.
all images via CaliBurger