Bangkok's faithful punters have proved they will queue en masse for buns, donuts, Ikea, Topshop, H&M — and now burgers, especially if they're free. Friday saw the opening of Carl's Junior, a burger franchise I'd never heard of, but one that is, apparently, better than Wendy's, which I tried and enjoyed in Manila.
The advertising campaign for Carl's Junior in Thailand has been pretty straightforward and in line with that in other countries.
So I went after work on Friday to see what all the fuss was about. The way people had been talking I was expecting something life changing. It wasn't as busy as I'd imagined it would be, but then, the grand opening spectacle with all the free burgers wasn't until Saturday. As a restaurant, it was much like going for fast food anywhere, so I'll spare you the boring details. Price-wise, it's somewhere between Burger King and a real restaurant, with meals coming in at about 2-300 baht. But who cares about all that stuff? What's important is the food.
I had a Super Star With Cheese combo meal. First impression was that the thing was bloody massive. Biting into it was all kinds of messy, but it was curiously delightful. The bun was like a real bun and the burger itself (two of them, actually) was thick and juicy. The fries were also a pleasant surprise, big, chunky things that they were.
The whole eating experience was kind of how I always hope it will be when I walk into McDonald's or Burger King. At the end of the meal, instead of being left all guilty and depressed, I was left utterly satisfied and full to the point of feeling as if I'd been eating pebbles. Walking for the next hour proved a challenge.
After the meal I made a promise not to put myself through another Carl's Junior for at least another month, but then the next day, thinking back to my burger adventure, I started craving it. I can't exactly say why, but I think I was experiencing the first telltale signs of addition. Given how podgy I've become this past year, it's probably best I stay away from Carl's Junior and it's certainly no bad thing I wasn't one of the first 50 in line on Saturday – those folks won themselves free Carl's Junior for a year. Can you imagine!? In short, Carl's Junior is great, but at the end of the day it's just another burger.