Wild Wester | Beijinger owner on Burger Cup, Whoppers, Yao Ming & More

mike wester the beijinger burger cup post

By Jim Boyce | When Mike ‘Dr Doom’ Wester of The Beijinger isn’t spearheading coverage of how bars and restaurants in our fair city are being bricked up but it won’t matter because we’ll soon be dead from pollution or rampaging teenagers, or kicked out for drug or visa violations, he is focused on fun stuff like The Burger Cup, slated for this weekend with a “Wild Wester” theme (details here). I asked him a few patty-powered questions.

You moved to Beijing in 1999. Who would have won the Burger Cup back then?

If nearly two decades of pm2.5 inhalation [see!?] had not clouded my synapses, I would probably be able to answer this question properly. As it is, I can only recall two burger joints at that time: TGI Friday’s, which wins for taste, and McDonald’s, which wins for value.

You’ve never had an XL burger. How DARE you organize a Burger Cup! Comment?

The Burger Cup ain’t about me, it’s about the wisdom of the gluttonous masses that determines Beijing’s best burger. I like to think of us collectively as an extremely efficient ant colony or perhaps a large symbiotic fungus that invades the roots of entire forests.

What defines a burger? Can it be vegan-friendly? Do rou jiamo count? How about when anti-carb freaks have everything but the bun?

We’ve had a really hard time defining what a burger really is, and frankly we’re still working on it. So far, the closest all-encompassing definition we have is “protein source with convenient exterior for easy handling.” Having said that, the vast majority of burgers—maybe 85 percent—in Beijing are the more traditional variety: beef patty between two buns with various and sundry toppings and condiments.

By the way, this year we are having a separate ballot for non-meat burgers.

Which weighs more, Yao Ming (NBA playing weight) or 500 Burger King Whoppers?

Hmm, let’s back-of-the-envelope this. A Whopper is roughly equivalent to a [McDonald’s] Quarter Pounder. Let’s say a Quarter Pounder after losing cooking weight but adding dressing ends up at one-third to one-half pound. Multiply that by 500 burgers and you get 166 to 250 pounds. I’m going to say Yao Ming weighs close to or over 250 pounds. My guess is Yao Ming weighs more.

(Yao Ming listed at 296 pounds / 134 kilos to 310 pounds / 141 kilos as a player. Burger King lists its Whopper at 260 grams, thus 500 burgers would weigh 130 kilos. Mike Wester is right!)

Why don’t hamburgers contain ham?

Not sure about the ham part. Legend has it a town in Germany (Hamburg) had something to do with it, but no German I know brags about the ham or burgers of that city. And frankly, “hamburger” rolls off the tongue better than “beef burger”. Anyone calling their burgers “beef burgers” makes me suspicious.

Speaking of suspicious, there have been a lot of restaurant raids to check customers for drug and visa violations. Do you think Beijing should also kick out people who use a knife and fork to eat a burger?

Anyone using a knife and fork to eat a burger should have their papers checked and have to pee in a cup.

The Burger Cup, with plenty of food, drink and entertainment, is this weekend at Galaxy Soho. Get the key details here.


Check out sibling sites Grape Wall of China and World Baijiu Day.

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