Pre-pandemic, roadside burger stalls (aka burger tepi jalan) were ubiquitous around Malaysia, and were beloved by people from all walks of life. More than just places to grab cheap and tasty burgers, they also doubled as port lepak (hangout spots), especially after a night out or after catching a midnight film.
Because these stalls were not able to operate during the pandemic (due to movement restrictions and curfews on business operating hours), I haven’t had a burger tepi jalan for over two years now. Thankfully, with things slowly returning to how they were, I’ve been seeing more roadside burger stalls around the neighbourhood again. With the Hubs now finally in Malaysia, we had an excuse to go late night burger hunting at Taman Tasik Prima, Puchong. There were three stalls in front of The Wharf – a no name stall, a Ramly stall, and an Otai stall.
Everyone knows Ramly; it’s popularity as a street burger brand is legendary, so much so that it has become a proprietary eponym (any burger tepi jalan stall is a Ramly, even if it’s a different brand. lol) But the Otai stall further down the street seemed to be enjoying brisque business, and I was curious as I had never heard of it before (my bad – apparently it has been around since the late 2000s).
The menu had something called ‘Speso’, which apparently features thicker patties. The Hubs and I got two Ayam Speso (chicken) with egg (RM7.50). It’s much pricier than the regular burgers, but worth it, as we would soon come to know.
I’ve missed the feeling of waiting for my burgers by the roadside – the sights and smells of the meat sizzling on the grill, the warm atmosphere, banter with the Abang burger, seeing Malaysians from all walks of life tapauing their food.
If you’re a foreigner visiting Malaysia, most locals will probably tell you to try Nasi Lemak. That’s fine and dandy, but don’t forget to give burger tepi jalan a go too. We’ve really made what is essentially an American staple into our own by giving it a unique twist – where else can you find burgers cooked on a hotplate with butter/margarine, wrapped in omelettes that are freshly cracked on the grill, then seasoned with Worchestershire sauce/Maggi seasoning/pepper and finally slathered with mayo and chilli/tomato sauce?
Tucking into our takeaway burgers at home, we were privy to a warm and greasy but oh-so-comforting mess. The patty was extremely thick – I would say about 3/4 of an inch – but cooked thoroughly. The meat was well seasoned and tender, but springy, with plenty of bite. The omelette had a smoky taste from the hotplate, and we could taste the sweet-savoury flavour of the seasonings. Sauces were generous but did not overwhelm, but brought all of the elements together. In comparison with the Ramly, which I often find quite dry sometimes, I much prefer the Otai ! Can’t believe it took me this long to discover this.
So yeah. Will be on the look out for Otai > Ramly after this. The problem with some burger stalls, however, is they open when they like – I went back on two Saturdays to this stall and on both ocassions they were closed. But I was craving for it so much I drove all the way to the stall at Bandar Puchong Jaya instead, lol.
Which do you prefer, the Otai or the Ramly? What other Malaysian burger tepi jalan brands do you enjoy?