Consumers in India Can Now Pre-Book Their Whoppers — on Ebay

That’s the subject of a story I wrote today:

Indian consumers have in recent months shown a penchant for ordering goods like smartphones in short-lived, online sales called “flash sales.” Now Burger King is trying to get them to pre-order its sandwiches — on eBay.

In an apparent attempt to tap into the popularity of flash sales — Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi says it has sold more than 500,000 of its low-cost handsets in India using such methods since July — Burger King is allowing customers to pre-book its Whoppers via online marketplace eBay.

The world’s second-largest burger chain after McDonald’s is set to open this month for the first time in the populous country. Cognizant of the religious practices of Hindus and Muslims who comprise the majority of the country’s population, Miami-based Burger King late last week said it would offer chicken, mutton and vegetable versions of its signature Whopper sandwich.

Through Wednesday, customers can pay a promotional price of 128 rupees ($2.08) with a credit card, debit card, or online bank transfer for a Whopper. (It’s unclear how much of a discount the price represents.) Buyers then receive a voucher via courier that they can redeem at a new Burger King shop in New Delhi’s Select City Walk Mall when it opens on Sunday. Those who order the sandwich also receive a T-shirt.

Apart from the discounted price and the shirt, however, it is unclear why consumers would buy the sandwiches online ahead of time, when they could presumably be bought quickly in the restaurant.

Click through to read the rest.

Embedded above and online here: A video in which I talk about Burger King’s campaign and flash sales in India.


Off topic: Carl’s Jr. is Coming to Thailand

2012 04 19 carls jr bangkok

Burger and fast food gluttons fans only…

Given my past writings about hamburgers in Bangkok, I feel compelled to point out this news: the well-known U.S. burger chain Carl’s Jr. says it is opening an establishment here in Bangkok on May 15.

As you can see in the Tweet below, a restaurant representative says the establishment — apparently one of three to come in Thailand — will be located on Thanon Thaniya, in Bangkok’s Silom area.

And there’s more where that came from.

According to the Carl’s Jr. Thailand Facebook page, the chain is also set to open branches on Sukhumvit Soi 24 and in the city of Pattaya.

Carl’s Jr. restaurants are generally located in central and Western U.S. states. But East-coast fast food fans should fret not: Carl’s Jr.’s parent company apparently owns Hardees and serves their signature biscuits.

(Hat tip to Patrick Winn for spotting the Soi 24 site.)


My CNNGo audio slide show about David Thomspon

You may recall my recent post about attending David Thompson’s Thai cooking demonstration here in Bangkok. I was there for CNNGo, a recently launched travel and lifestyle site that focuses on six Asian cities. ((In addition to the Thai capital, the site covers Hong Kong, Mumbai, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo.))

I put together an audio slide show about the David Thompson event that you can find on the site here. And I’m embedding it below. Thompson talks about authenticity in cooking, what he finds appealing about Thai cuisine, and more.

If you have a look around CNNGo, you’ll also find a couple of my earlier contributions in the Bangkok section.

In one piece, I describe the best burgers in Bangkok. (( readers will recall that I’ve written about this before.))

And another item is called “The Siam Sunray: Chasing down Thailand’s ‘signature’ cocktail.” ((Again, this item may be familiar to readers.))


Burgercraft: It’s all about Proportion

Speaking of Bangkok’s best burger, here’s an interesting essay from Eric Ripert in Gourmet: My Quest to Build the Perfect Burger:

Last fall, I opened a restaurant called Westend Bistro. It’s located in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Washington, D.C., at 22nd and M Streets—a part of D.C. that’s growing very quickly, with new apartment buildings going up left and right. This burgeoning neighborhood needed a great neighborhood restaurant, so I set out to create one; I wanted it to be a comfortable spot that people would come back to again and again. My sous-chef and I decided to make it an American bistro. And of course any great American bistro needs to have a great burger.

In developing that burger, my research took me to a couple of places that might seem unexpected: McDonald’s and Burger King. I didn’t grow up in the U.S. and had never really visited these chains before, so I wanted to see what they do with their burgers to make them so popular.

Just looking at the basic burgers at each of these chains—particularly the Big Mac—showed me a couple of very key things: First of all, the burgers are a perfect size. You can grab them in both hands, and they’re never too tall or too wide to hold on to. And the toppings are the perfect size, too—all to scale, including the thickness of the tomatoes, the amount of lettuce, etc. In terms of the actual flavors, they taste okay, but you can count on them to be consistent; you always know what you’re going to get.

(Emphasis mine.)

Via Kottke.


Best Burger in Bangkok

If you ask me, dining on an authentic krapow moo kai dao — stir fried pork with chili, basil, and a fried egg — can be a near-religious experience. I firmly believe that a fiery som tam (papaya salad) is one of the world’s greatest dishes. A well-executed gaeng keow wan gai (green chicken curry) has moved me, in times past, to the brink of tears. In short, I can’t get enough of Thai food.

But as an American living in Asia, not only do I appreciate creatively-conceived Western junk food, but I also harbor intense cravings, from time to time, for hamburgers. My god, hamburgers.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve sampled burgers at some of Bangkok’s most popular pubs, in addition a few speciality restaurants that claim to serve “Bangkok’s best burgers.” But I’ve been, by and large, underwhelmed. I’m a minimalist, favoring simple burgers like those served at Five Guys, on the east coast of the US, and by Dick’s in Seattle.

Enter Triple O’s by White Spot, a franchise based in Vancouver, BC. (Yes, Canada.) The joint opened in Bangkok about a year ago — the ones in Hong Kong are popular among foreigners — but I’d yet to visit the establishment, as it’s hidden in the rafters of Central World Plaza.

Having heard of Triple O’s from A (via S, who heard of it through R and J), I was pleased to find a tasty and fresh — though not needlessly gargantuan — patty, a toasted bun, and fresh toppings that included lettuce, tomatoes, and cheddar cheese. I also found the famed Triple O sauce to be a nice touch. The fries were pretty good, too. I’ve heard grumblings that Triple O patties can be thin and lifeless, but mine was substantial. Highly recommended — if you ever get sick of Thai food, that is.

Triple O’s by White Spot
Central Food Hall, Central World Plaza, 7th floor
Telephone: 02 613 1640

For further reading, I suggest “Searching for Bagnkok’s Best Burgers” (written, as best I can tell, before Triple O’s came to town, though the author is knowledgeable and thorough).