As part of the Beijinger's month-long Burger Cup (which kicked off May 16 with burger specials around town), we take a closer look at some of this year's participants. For today's segment Steven Schwankert, executive editor of the Beijinger parent company True Run Media, pays a visit to Blue Frog. This former Burger Cup title holder's campaign for this year's trophy ended their run in the Great Eight, but you can still vote for the finalists here.

Although born in Shanghai, Blue Frog has become an institution in Beijing's Taikoo Li, where it was an anchor tenant and an early viewing spot for the 2008 Olympics. The lowercase eatery has moved to a different location than its original home, now occupied by Pizza Express, and in the meantime has opened three other locations around Beijing.

Blue Frog's gateway product since the beginning has been its burgers, of which it offers 14 kinds plus three types of sliders. We saw some great deals during our recent Burger Days promotion, but Blue Frog's weekly Monday buy-one-get-one free has been mainstay of Monday nightlife for almost a decade.

We decided to keep things basic, and ordered their namesake, the Blue Frog burger. This is a burger for purists, something like what you had as a child at a backyard barbecue. It's a 100 percent Australian beef patty, cooked medium or above, served with the basics: lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickles, on a sesame seed bun. It's served with french fries and a salad, which is topped with a light vinaigrette dressing.

The burger is juicy, and each of the toppings is fresh. Either eaten as a whole or sliced in half for a divide-and conquer approach, the burger holds together. Those wanting something spicier on their basic Blue Frog burger may add chipotle mayo, BBQ sauce, or mustard seed aioli for RMB 10 each.

As noted above, there are many other options available for people who want more than just the basics. The Montana is a tower of onion rings, cheddar cheese, bacon, and BBQ sauce (RMB 98). The Mexican has beef chili, tomato salsa, and sour cream (RMB 98). There are also two vegetarian options, the Veggie (RMB 78) and the Mushroom (RMB 88). They have beef, chicken, and salmon sliders (RMB 88, 88, and 108, respectively). Of course, Blue Frog also serves salads and a whole lot of other dishes, but we're here to talk about burgers.

Take our advice: if you drink alcohol, combine your visit with their daily 4-8pm happy hour, which is buy one get one free on alcoholic beverages. Have a couple of Blue Frog Long Island Iced Teas (RMB 60), a stronger version of the classic Hamptons cocktail, and you'll be ready for dental surgery afterwards, such is the punch it packs. The Monday burger specials and daily happy hour are available at all Blue Frog locations in Beijing.

The Beijinger's 2016 Burger Cup is brought to you in cooperation with the following sponsors: Oasis HospitalMcCain FriesSanta Fe MoversEtonkidsLonely Planet, Xian Cheng, and Asian Tigers.

Photos: Steven Schwankert

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