Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Stealth Burger Reviews, International Edition: Scanburger

It's always a pleasure to sample international fare, particularly when it aspires to the complex chemistry of American fast food. Recently Stealth Burger Reviews reveled in Scandinavia's answer to the cultural hegemony of American hamburger chains: Scanburger.

It certainly was Scan-tastic to find a fast food drive-thru on Finland's scenic byways, though we stumbled on it quite by accident when pulling over for a rest stop. By the looks of the parking lot, the Scanburger phenomenon has yet to catch on over there. That's our Land Rover, and we were indeed the only party partaking of the Scan. I told myself it must've been packed at lunchtime.

Scanburger parking lot Scanburger drive-in sign

The Scanburger menu is a delightful ramble of cultural variations on standard hamburgery. Some highlights include the Ruisburger (hamburger on dark rye), Kebabburger (kebab meat fashioned into a hamburger), and the Kasvisburger (a large onion-ring in place of meat). In addition, it seems Finns like eggs on their burgers, though we didn't venture to try any. Consider the Kerrosburger (kerros meaning floor or story, layer), which appears to be a Big Mac with eggs:

Kerrosburger meal Scanburger menu

We ordered the American Classic burger, but oddly enough, they were sold out. Apparently they really are crazy for American culture over there. We settled on the XXL-ateria (ateria meaning meal), since Americans need everything bigger. What we got was a Big Mac, but in the dimensions of a Whopper. It was huge — as the sign notes, "2x90g patties". And the fries come in an excellent cubical box, meaning more room for more fries.

XXL burger

While the patties were clearly pre-fab and frozen, the pickles were thicker than American fast food, the lettuce was fresh and the flavors were good. The main challenge was managing the delicate principle of patty alignment, by which one patty of a Big Mac is pushed further and further out the back with each bite if not aligned perfectly with the other. By the end of the XXL, the top patty was totally gone with a few bites of the bottom patty left. But other than that, the Scanateria was money. Perhaps it tasted better because we'd eaten liverwurst and Karelian pasties all weekend, but I'd venture to say Scanburger could hold it's own against the big American chains. For a regional variation on the mass culture of fast food, Scanburger might even be considered an improvement.


gerlach kids said...

that XXL has KATE written all over it. YUM. but how many points was it?

rob getzschman said...

I don't have the nutrition facts on the XXL, but I'd wager to guess it was about 26 points. Plus fries and Coke.

Ben Westhoff said...

Nice update. Any word on whether there are trans fats in that stuff?

rob getzschman said...

My hunch is trans fats galore, like crazy mad trans fats. Like, tranz phats.