What makes an expensive burger worth it? Is it the quality or the extravagance?

It’s not hard to understand why the burger, such an American staple, has become so widespread. On the one hand, despite being so American, the burger’s versatility means that anybody can make it their own. Add a fried egg and a sausage, and it’s an English burger. Add ruccola and mozzarella and it’s Italian. Deep fry a gbejna, and it’s Maltese. On the other hand though, the main reason the burger is so prolific is that it’s utterly classless. A burger, nearly regardless of what you put in it, is going to be affordable; it’s always going to be accessible. Whether it’s a €10 gourmet burger on its own, or a €8 meal with a drink and fries, everybody can afford a burger.

Which is what makes it hard for me to stomach a burger that’s actually expensive, like a gold plated Casio or a Malta Public Transport Bus with a soju bar. For the most part I won’t even acknowledge the existence of a burger that costs more than €20, there are a two situations where I think the price could be justified.

1) The Burger’s Real Fancy

The easiest way to make an expensive burger ‘worth it’ is, very simply, to make expensive additions to it. While the beef is usually pretty good grade, the core burger ingredients are far from the stars of this show: it’s the rich accoutrements that steal the limelight. These burgers are often topped with real gold leaf, truffles, and any other exclusive ingredients you can think of. Eating this burger should be an experience unlike any other and make you feel like you’re so rich you can buy a country, and every photo and story you post on Instagram should make you feel like even Kim K’s just another social media nobody.

This burger’s expensive, rich, and gaudy – but you’ve got the cash and you don’t give a damn. There’s no place for restraint in a life well lived, some may say.

2) The Burger’s Made of the Best of the Best

The other end of this, admittedly quite expensive spectrum, is a burger that’s costly not because of lavish additions, but because it’s made with the absolute best ingredients on the market.

This is the other end of the spectrum from downright fancy burgers for two reasons. Firstly, this is far less theatrical and less of a dramatic experience. The chef won’t come out to shake your hand and light the plate on fire while a marching band plays Ave Maria as you take your first bite. It’s a burger on a plate, but it’s going to be the best burger on the best plate, as ironically Trumpian as that is.

It’s also on the other end of the spectrum from the fancy burger because it’s also going to be cheaper. It is very hard to make a burger from the best ingredients and have it cost more than 30 euros with fries and drink, max, but it’s still a far cry from the €10-15 mainstream burgers.

This is a burger you’ll take a bite into and just know, deep down inside, that you can’t get anything better, spec for spec. Where the first burger is a gold plated Nissan GT-R, this is a ‘subtle’ Rolls Royce Dawn.

Tells us in the comments, or on Facebook, or on Instagram – which burger would you spend your money on?

Emmanuel Buttigieg
Emmanuel Buttigieg

Chief Eater here at Gidma Gidma, Emmanuel's passionate about food. And cars. And watches. And photography. And cinema. And because there's a character limit on these little things he's provided a little Haiku to express his love for burgers:

"Glistening grilled patty
Caressed with sauce, gooey cheese
Moist mouth explosion"

- DJ Lae, source.

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