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Blue Frog makes me taste red, white and blue

By Johanna Yueh
China.org.cn staff reporter

Blue Frog's Montana BBQ burger: 'It's a good height,' restaurant manager Lee Mitchell said. 餐厅经理李•米歇尔指着蓝蛙的蒙大拿烤肉汉堡说:“瞧,它多高啊!”

Blue Frog's Montana BBQ burger: "It's a good height," restaurant manager Lee Mitchell said.

Let's face it: I'm American. And in America, summer means eating big juicy hamburgers fresh off the grill. While I've been enjoying the Beijing lifestyle immensely, I couldn't help missing that one thing from back home. So my colleague and I went off in search of it: the best American hamburger Beijing has to offer. Watch video


We were a little surprised by how few of our Chinese colleagues had ever eaten a hamburger. Apparently, it just doesn't sound all that tasty to them. Besides McDonald's, no one even knew where to go to get one. Well, after a little research, it turned out that Beijing does have a burgeoning hamburger subculture, mostly maintained by laowai. After compiling a list of places with the best reviews, we were ready to have us some hamburgers. First stop: Blue Frog. 中国同事中没有几个吃过汉堡,这着实令我们有些吃惊。显然,汉堡对于他们来说不是那么美味。除了麦当劳,没有人知道哪里还可以吃到汉堡。经过一小番搜寻,汉堡风潮在北京方兴未艾,主要归功于那些生活在此的老外。我们编制了一份最受好评的餐馆名单,准备亲自考察一番。第一站:蓝蛙。

Blue Frog got its start 10 years ago in Shanghai and has since expanded to Macau and Beijing. We went to the Sanlitun branch in The Village (there's another in the Europlaza in Shunyi), which is one of the places for expats to be. Stepping amongst its buildings makes you wonder if you're even in China anymore. Blue Frog wasn't trying to put you back in, either.

10年前,蓝蛙在上海开业,随后在澳门和北京有了它的分店。我们去的是The Village分店(另一家北京分店位于顺义区的欧陆广场),位于外国人的聚集区三里屯。这里的建筑不禁会让人怀疑自己是否还在中国,蓝蛙餐馆给人的感觉也是如此。

"Mostly it's just a little escape from China," said the manager of Sanlitun's Blue Frog, Lee Mitchell, about the restaurant. "It's just going to be a little piece of home."


Still, Amber Hsiao, Blue Frog's communications executive, said the place attracts both expats and locals in equal numbers. Their menu is in both English and Chinese, and their staff is fluent in both languages, as well. As a caveat, Hsiao added that their customers are usually white-collar professionals who live in the area, people who are more educated and familiar with Western customs. And, yes, lots of locals who come do order their hamburgers.

蓝蛙的公关部主管,Amber Hsiao介绍说来他们这里的外国人和中国人一样多。菜单有中英文对照,服务员中英文都很流利。Hsiao特别补充道他们的客人通常是居住在这一带的白领,往往受到良好的教育,熟悉西方习惯。当然,许多光临蓝蛙的中国客人也会点汉堡。
Ling, the head chef who trains all other Blue Frog cooks, explained how he makes Blue Frog burgers while I watched him make my Montana BBQ burger: "We always import beef from Australia, so the beef quality is really good…Meat quality is very important." So is temperature: "When you make the temperature really [high], you…let all the juices in the burger not go out; so when you eat the burger, it's really juicy." Medium is the rarest they go (like North Carolina!), and they char-grill their patties. 林是蓝蛙的厨师长,负责培训店内的其他厨师。他一边制作我点的蒙大纳烤肉汉堡,一边向我讲解蓝蛙家的汉堡是如何做成的。“我们的牛肉一直是从澳大利亚进口的,这是牛肉如此之好的原因……牛肉品质非常重要。”温度也同样重要,“如果用高温烹饪,……可以提高肉的浓汁度。这样,当你一口咬下去,汁香四溢。”蓝蛙的牛肉很少做成5分熟(就像在北卡),肉饼通常是炭烤的。
"We've been using the same recipe for years," Mitchell said. "Because we've been open for 10 years, it's given us plenty of time to get that recipe right." “这个烹饪方法,我们使用了好多年。10年的经验让我们拥有非常好的烹饪法。”米歇尔说。

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