A hamburger or burger is a sandwich consisting of a cooked ground meat patty, usually beef, placed in a sliced bun or between pieces of bread or toast. Hamburgers are often served with various condiments, such as ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, relish etc. as well as lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and cheese.
Hamburgers are usually a feature of fast food restaurants. The hamburgers served in major fast food establishments are mass-produced in factories and frozen for delivery to the site.] These hamburgers are thin and of uniform thickness, differing from the traditional American hamburger prepared in homes and conventional restaurants, which is thicker and prepared by hand from ground beef. Generally most American hamburgers are round, but some fast-food chains, such as Wendy’s, sell square-cut hamburgers. Hamburgers in fast food restaurants are usually fried, but some firms, such as Burger King use a grilling process. At conventional American restaurants, hamburgers may be ordered “rare”, but normally are served well-done for food safety reasons. Fast food restaurants do not offer this option.
Hamburgers in the UK are very similar to their U.S. cousins, and High Street is dominated by the same big two chains as in the U.S. McDonald’s and Burger King. The menus offered to both countries are virtually identical, although portion sizes tend to be smaller in the UK.
An original and indigenous rival to the big two U.S. giants was the quintessentially British fast-food chain Wimpy, originally known as Wimpy Bar (opened 1954 at the Lyon’s Corner House in Coventry Street London), which served its hamburgers on a plate with British-style chips, accompanied by cutlery and delivered to the customer’s table. In the late 1970s, to compete with McDonald’s, Wimpy began to open American-style counter-service restaurants and the brand disappeared from many UK high streets when those restaurants were rebranded as Burger Kings in 1989/90 by the then-owner of both brands, Grand Metropolitan. A management buyout in 1990 split the brands again and now Wimpy table-service restaurants can still be found in many town centres whilst new counter-service Wimpys are now often found at motorway service stations.
In China, restaurants such as McDonald’s and KFC have been proliferating all across the country. In many parts of China, small hamburger chains have opened up to capitalize on the popularity of hamburgers with children. Restaurants such as Peter Burger attempt to copy McDonald’s. In Japan, hamburgers can be served in a bun, called hanbāgā or just the patties served without a bun, known as hanbāgu or “hamburg”, short for “hamburg steak”.