Indonesia's Million-rupiah Hamburger

by AFP, Jan 19, 2007 | Destinations: Indonesia / Jakarta

Jakarta, December, 2006 - It's a whopper with fries, and that's just the price.

A luxury hotel in Indonesia has launched a million-rupiah (110-dollar) hamburger, thought to be the world's most expensive, in a bid to marry the tastes of East and West.

Vindex Tengker, the executive chef with the Four Seasons Hotel who created the dish, said 20 of the burgers had sold since going on the menu early this month.

"The idea is not that we are selling the most expensive hamburger. It is our dream to marry the East and the West through food," he told AFP.

The seven-ounce (200-gram) burger is made from finest Japanese Kobe beef with wasabi mayonnaise and Italian portobello mushrooms in a home-made onion-wheat bun.

It is served with Asian pear and French foie gras plus, of course, French fries and is washed down with a glass of wine.

"Asians have developed a love for food. They appreciate the variety we offer. We had a local couple dining here and the man ordered the hamburger for his girlfriend," Tengker said.

He admitted there were initial reservations about the burger but hoped it would catch on abroad.

"Of course when you start something new, there will be doubts. But those who appreciate food will pay for the hamburger," he said.

"I hope this innovation will make its way across the Pacific."

Kobe beef comes from the ancient Japanese Wagyu black cattle breed which receive a daily massage, reputedly one of the secrets of its famous marbling, flavour and tenderness.

During the final fattening, the cattle are also fed hefty quantities of sake and beer mash, the theory being that mellow, relaxed cows make for good beef.

Regular burger and fries sell for a fraction of the price in Indonesia's fast-food restaurants -- around two dollars.

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