Produced by SmartShanghai in Partnership with Zrou
The China Burger Revolution
For those of you who have been in China for more than a minute, you've been part of Shanghai's history, seeing rapid changes to society on a massive scale.
One day you were thinking, "should I bring my wallet with me today?" the next... a restaurant refuses to take cash because... it's a CASHLESS society all of a sudden. China used to be all about tea, but now Shanghai has snagged the crown title of having the most coffee shops in the world.
Now we're seeing a plant-based meat revolution in the city, with brands like Zrou now being found in many restaurants around the city. SmartShanghai visited a bunch of chefs around town to see how they are using Zrou in a variety of cuisines.
On a mission to create a “world worth inheriting”, Zrou wants to ensure that rating healthy shouldn’t feel like a compromise. Rather than giving up on your favorite comfort foods, they are working with top culinary and R&D experts to make meatless options as much of a source of joy, companionship & delight in your modern life as they are tasty.
In this piece, we're off on another Zrou adventure, focusing on BURGERS. Make SURE you get to the end of this slideshow cause this isn't just a regular old burger guide; prizes are to be won.
Pineapple on food = controversy. And we're starting with this one here; 'cause SmartShanghai loves drama.
Popular American dive-bar The Rooster, starts us out with a play on the "Hawaiian burger." Drama aside, it's a pretty good vegetarian burger.
Onion, tomato (hiding under the patty), jalapeños, pineapple, and teriyaki sauce on melted mozzarella-covered Zrou patty, make for a solid first entry to this slideshow. And YES, it's mozzarella not cheddar, it looks off-white in the photo cause the teriyaki sauce is playin games with that cheese. It clocks in at 68 RMB, not bad at all. What can we say? It's mozar-hella good.
It's national week; allow us the burger puns, gentlefolk!
Shangkangli has got you covered with a Zrou burger option at the place where the young-hip "casual fine-dining" crowd gets hammered on a hundred different gins... Gin & Juice.
Here is another creative take on a burger that we also loved. One of Gin & Juice's owners hails from Indonesia, Deisy; you probably know her; she's awesome and has been wanting to buy SmartShanghai for yearrrrs. Sprinkling a dash from her roots, this burger breaks the traditional mold by being accented in an Indonesian sauce called Kecap Manis (a light sweet soy sauce with a twist). They've layered crisp veggies (lettuce, tomato, cucumbers) and added avocado slices for those delicious healthy fats your brain needs to function well.
The sauce btw is a winner. Ask for more on the sauce. You're welcome.
Tacoliscious pays homage to burger Americana by adding a little tex-mex flourish. Also notable, this burger is the most economical on this list, for half the price of a burger at Beef & Liberty. Are we entering the phase of life where vegetarian options are starting to compete on price? 50 RMB folks!
Lettuce, onion, tomatoes, with melted cheddar cheese, and a cheddar nacho sauce, make us say "sweet dreams are made of cheese".
Add 15 RMB for a Tacolicious Pilsner for a cheesygoing time. (More burger puns you say?)...
Beer & Space... a place with a weird name. Buuuut... the chef they have there lived in Canada for years and has one hell of a palate. On top of this, it's a laidback, cool place to hang out, especially upstairs where its loungey, and has nice natural light coming in from street-side windows. Well, I guess the name makes sense... they've got beer, and they've got a nice space. Ta-da √
They really went for it with this burger, and again... you'll need to ask for more sauce cause it makes the personality of this vegetarian burger stand out. A house-made red pepper aioli sauce, with tomato, onion, pickles, and cheddar cheese.
Shanghai's international Scottish brew-pub joins the list with a vegan offering. All of their burgers are good, yea? But it's nice when an international brand enters the market and wants to pay homage to local flavorings. Pickles, sesame oil, vegan mala aioli, sweet chilis, with a fried Zrou patty tucked into a beetroot brioche bun.
Gabriel, their ever fabulous GM, tells us this was inspired by chinese street food (dried five-spice beef jerky or wuxiang niu rou gan). Yumm.
Okay, so... technically not a burger, but whatever it's on this list, and you're welcome (again).
For those of you who just landed, a Banh Mi is a popular Vietnamese street food sandwich that's a twist on a french snack (baguette with paté). A spiced Zrou patty shaped into a sausage, with daikon and pickled carrots, red peppers, coriander (cilantro!), siracha, black pepper, a light soy dressing, and peanut saté sauce, make this a nice vegan option with a southeast Asian angle.
Zrou is partnering with all of the places above. Each week for October, they'll have a special photo theme competition. And they aren't skimping either, SmartShanghai will be selecting THREE winners each week!
Entering to win is easy. Go to SmartShanghai's mini-program (Scan the QR codes above in each slide) for any of the venues, and you'll see a pop-up with a prompt to upload an image of you and whatever burger you're eating.
Winners will win SmartShanghai merchandise, Zrou products, restaurant vouchers, and more. And hey... your naughty no-meat burger habit can be made more praiseworthy by your hot gym trainer, annnnd you'll be helping the environment. Tis something that can help put your mind at cheese. ;)
Catch the fake-meat revolution as it starts here in Shanghai, readers.
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