Where's the Beef? Not Anywhere in Our 16-Contestant Veggie Burger Cup
In the midst of the frenzy that was this year's Burger Cup -- where upsets abounded and record breaking throngs attended our kickoff BBQ -- meat eaters had plenty to literally and figuratively sink their teeth into. But vegetarians needs not despair, because many of the best beef patty-flippers are also well versed in more animal-friendly alternatives.
Below we've profiled 16 veggie burgers you can go out and try-- and next week we'll start asking you to tell us your favorites. In the mean time, go out for few days and explore.
Some are fresh-off-the-grill newbies that garnered serious attention by getting their start earlier this summer, while others are established veggie veterans.
And let's not mince words: all of these are suitable even for meat-eaters to sink their teeth into. So even you carnivores can give animal flesh a rest and see what Beijing has to offer in terms of veggie burgers.
Beginning next week, we'll ask you veggies to select the best -- and compile them into our first-ever ranking of vegetarian burger choices in the capital.
This fun and creative Moroccan bistro will begin serving a sure-to-be-delicious falafel burger beginning Monday (June 19). Run over next week to be one of the first to try.
Plan B/Dikran Gullekian (Vegan)
While this Shuangjing institution is best known for its irresistibly meaty pub grub, food scene fixture Dikran Gullekian has helped it hatch a new plan to lure vegans. The Lebanese expat's new burgers are made with a tummy grumble inducing combo of "broad beans, tofu and a medley of garden vegetables" and are now available on Plan B's menu. This is especially heartening, given Gullekian's bout of ill health late last year from which he has now recovered in all of his burger flipping glory.
Punjabi (Vegan and Vegetarian)
This well established Indian eatery seriously upped its game in lieu of our Burger Cup, rolling out an innovative new menu with plenty of vegetarian and vegan options. When we stopped by last month to try their Maharaja V2 (RMB 72, pictured in the lead photo at the top), we were astounded by the deliciousness of its potato, vegetable, and paneer featuring patty, along with its slathering of mint chutney sauce. Their Vegan Tikki Burger (RMB 54), which also a winner, thanks to its mix of chick peas, spinach, and veggies. The Potato Samosa burger (RMB 48) completed this formidable meatless trifecta, thrusting Punjabi to the forefront for conscientious foodies around town. RMB 48-72
Root Pop (Vegan)
Having popped open their doors earlier this month, this new Shuangjing American style eatery is entirely vegan, though even your most steadfast of beef eating buddies won't notice, thanks to the quality and creativity of the substitutions by beloved chef Brandon Trowbridge (of Glo and Tribe fame). A prime example is the lentil and walnut patties he has made for the restaurant's burgers, a scrumptious alternative more common tofu or bean bases. RMB 58
Big Smoke (Vegetarian)
This American pub grub stalwart serves a double portobello burger that's hefty enough to quell the cravings of even the hungriest patron. RMB 50
Burger Break (Vegetarian)
With their eclectic, ingredient rife patties-- made of chickpea, black bean, kidney bean, black rice, sticky rice, corn, oatmeal, toasted onion bits, and carrot- this veggie probably is sure to satisfy vegetarians hankering for something new. RMB 45
Café Flatwhite (Vegetarian)
Order a cup of Cafe Flatwhite's famous joe to jack up your energy levels properly enough to quickly dig into their delcious burger. Featuring tofu, beetroot relish, plenty of caramelized onions, along with a layer of avocado, it really is a must try. RMB 65
Chat Room (By The Rug) (Vegetarian)
During a recent visit to this Joy City restaurant our reviewer praised Chat Room's "vegetarian burger, dubbed The Green Valley Double Sliders. They're a tad smaller than you average burger, and come in a pair. The burgers are delicious towers of grilled tofu topped with crispy quinoa, wild mushrooms, and an especially designed patty comprised mostly of corn. RMB 68
Cloud Kitchen (Vegetarian)
Vegan-about-town Mike Shaw says this restaurant's burger is tasty, albeit a bit smooshy, adding that it has more of a faux pork patty style rather than the more typical beef imitation. RMB 52
Great Leap Brewing (Vegetarian)
Aside from beer and beef burger, this brewery's Sanlitun location also served up one of Beijing's most popular veggie sandwiches. Dubbed General Tso's Cauliflower Sandwich, it's made with (you guessed it!) cauliflower, tempura, grilled pineapple, General Tso's sauce, Sriracha mayo, and regular mayo within a sesame seed bun. RMB 45
Home Plate BBQ (Vegan)
A black bean patty, under roasted beets and caramelized onions, make Home Plate's Damn Yankee a delicious meat free addition to their southern BBQ roster. RMB 48
Let's Burger (Vegetarian)
This slightly upscale fast food joint's veggie burger consists of fried tofu and is rounded out with sautéed mushrooms, fresh lettuce, and tomatoes. But anyone worrying that it's not indulgent enough will be heartened by its slathering of honey mustard sauce. RMB 79
A veggie cheeseburger. For cheap. Need we say more? Well, the red bean patty and its topping of lettuce, tomato, and saliva prompting dill pickles should more than convince you. RMB 38
Slow Boat Taproom (Vegetarian)
Having won the Burger Cup both in 2015 and 2016, this brewery's vegetarian alternative is equally award worthy. Dubbed the Dongsi Doufu Burger, it's comprised of smoked tofu shaped into a square patty piled under a load of crisp coleslaw, and in-house burger sauce. RMB 45
Tribe Organic (Vegan)
This Beetlover’s Vegan Beet Burger will leave your seeing red, thanks to its combination of red wine vinegar, red onions, red kidney beans, and, of course, beets. Brown rice rounds out the patty's recipe, and the toppings include parsley, arugula, and romaine lettuce, alogn with a five-grain burger bun. It's only available at the Lido and Solana branches, and it's worth the visit. RMB 68
Veggie Table (Vegan)
This Wudaoying restaurant is one of Beijing's longest running meat free options. Their Southwest Bean Burger has organic kidney beans, corn, and cilantro, and it also features vegan mayonnaise. RMB 65
Photos courtesy of the restaurants