From Hawker to Café – HAMBAOBAO

HAMBAOBAO, a familiar-sounding term to the Chinese phrase ‘Han Bao Bao’ which means Hamburger is a delightful fusion themed shop that has recently opened on September 2021 in the midst of the pandemic. It all started with the simple idea of turning Buah Keluak, one of the favourite dishes of Singapore’s founding Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew into a burger. The family-run business hence came up with a menu of 5 burgers for a bespoke menu for Singaporeans to enjoy.

Ayam Buah Keluak Burger with Hand-cut Fries
Crispy Pork Belly Burger

Their specialities – Ayam Buah Keluak burger and Crispy Pork Belly burger are tailored for the adventurous eaters that dare to traverse the unknown fusion foods. Whereas the other 3 burgers on their menus are easier on the palate. Oh, and let’s not forget the must-have hand-cut fries that are the perfect complement to the fusion burgers.

The ambience where you partake in your food changes the whole dining experience; Inspired by the traditional Japanese mom-and-pop-style shops, HAMBAOBAO’s interior design stemmed from the owner’s admiration of the dedication small izakaya shops. The cosy shop is further decorated with quirky fortune cats inspired by their lovely daughter’s massive Mannekineko plush as well as the giant cat mural as a centrepiece for the shop. (also, happen to be painted by the owner’s cousin!) I personally love the names they came up with for the burgers and desserts, it’s truly all in the details. 

Alas, even though the food is awesome how HAMBAOBAO is dedicated to serving the best to its customers, the pandemic took its toll on them after the 2 pax restriction was implemented. However, they kept their motto of ‘dedication’ and got creative in drawing new customers and finding workarounds such as offering delivery as well as expanding outreach on social media. 

And if you are wondering, yes you should go check out their social media as they often offer discounts and warm updates on their business promos and their little HAMBAOBAO family. 

Owner of HAMBAOBAO, Ryan and Clare

While interviewing the owners, Ryan and Clare, we were curious about how it feels like working alongside your partner almost every day. “We have our bite-y moments and lots of breakdowns but we moved on and just keep going. Most of the time it’s because we’re hungry or tired.”, said Ryan. 

But they were able to pull through due to the support of their regular customers. “They (customers) are definitely family. If we don’t see one of them for a while we’d usually mention them and suddenly we get a text from them or they drop by the shop. They are always in our thoughts and hearts.”, Ryan told us. 

Well, the regular customers will definitely be looking forward to a new After-8PM menu that they have been working on. Diners can enjoy 16 taps of draft craft beers with non-alcoholic options to pair with their new menu.

A little sneak peek after some probing revealed Corned Beef Toasty, Cheese Platters and Naked Pork Belly and many more to come.

HAMBAOBAO is now located at 11 Sam Leong Road, at #03-08 Trio Building. Don’t forget to check them out at @hambaobao on IG and @hambaobaosg on Facebook! 

11 Sam Leong Road, #03-08 Trio Building
Singapore 207903

Art Director: Felicia Pang | Crispcontrasts Studios
Photographer: Fadly Azhari | Crispcontrasts Studios