Being quarantined has its’ upsides. One of them is that we were eating a lot more at home – all of us. One evening I decided to make burgers and I remembered that my wife craved the old school burgers we had when younger. They were called hamburgers as well, but it was something very specific in time and space. To be more exact I think they started to be sold around the end of 80’s and then on well to the 90’s and early 21st century.
I think it went hand in hand with one of the Czechoslovak companies starting to produce a sixpack of frozen hamburger patties. Funny enough they were either pork or chicken – it looked kind of SPAMish just made into a thin round burgerish form about the size and thickness of a McDonald’s burger patty. Well at that time there were these greasy stands that used to sell usually langosh (type of deep fried flatbread), bramborák (kind of a hash-brown, but thick on garlic, marjoram – in english they call them sometimes potato pancakes) and of course fried cheese in a bun… AND accompanied at the end with the almighty (sauerkraut) hamburger.
One of the places used to be at Národní Třída by the metro, it used to have a lot of stands and was kind of dodgy with the progressing night, but was also a kind of a traffic hub downtown, so when you were out in the clubs or pubs inevitably you went through there at one point in time or another. And of course most of us need to drop something into the stomach. The least greasy stuff was the hamburger consisting of a typical Czech bun (houska) which is little bit similar to the Kaiser roll, filled with sauerkraut, than you drop in the patty and cover it with mustard and ketchup.
Haven’t seen these suckers on the streets for at least a decade and I sure have to tell you, making a quality follow up today in 2021 brought not only memories, but reminded me how good it was and actually lighter than your typical burger. If you want to try it out at home though I recommend focusing on the mustard and sauerkraut as in English speaking countries it will be hardest to get. Even though a Kaiser roll is more like a baguette, it can do (you can check out the most typical Czech roll). Buying sauerkraut I would recommend e.g. at slovczechvar.com who have the Znojmia White Cabbage in brine – which is a good standard. The Czech sauerkraut is not as sour and has a little different spice combo in the brine, so the taste is little more cabbage and less sour, actually that goes for the mustard as well – so I recommend buying it at the same store – plain mustard (plnotučná hořčice – made from white mustard / sinapsis alba, also I think it has lot less turmeric, if any). The meat I will leave up to you. I would just recommend making thinner patties, even the one I made that you can see in the photo could be a lot thinner.
Well enjoy and if you have a bistro, I sure recommend putting it on the menu. If you try it, feel free to IG message me the photos.