Ooh, we love a bit of friendly competition, and that’s exactly what we’re going to get this week as iconic American burger joints Shake Shack and Five Guys go head-to-head with the opening of their brand new outlets in Hong Kong.
After teasing us for months with ‘coming soon’ boards featuring its iconic red and white logo, Five Guys is opening the doors of its debut outlet on Johnston Road in Wan Chai today (November 19) a mere two days before Shake Shake opens its second venue in Pacific Place, just along the road, on Wednesday (November 21). Oooh, interesting!
Now this could be a coincidence, or it could be a calculated marketing move – either way, we don’t care, we just want to know one thing: who does it better?
Well, we were lucky enough to get a sneak peek at both outlets and try the goods (apart from the shakes at Five Guys, because the machine wasn’t ready) and decided to put them head-to-head in battle to see who emerges the champion. Here we go…
Shake Shack: There are five choices of burger on offer, with the SmokeShack ($62) and ‘Shroom Burger ($66) coming out on top. The patties are nice and thick, with a good depth of flavour, nicely cooked through, and slightly crumbly, which makes them feel less processed. They are also very light on grease, which scores them major points with us. The buns are nice and golden, and manage to maintain their volume, without getting soggy at any point during the feast.
Five Guys: There are four different varieties of burger: hamburger, cheeseburger, bacon burger, and bacon cheeseburger, which have set prices. These come in two different sizes: little (from $55 to $75) and regular (from $75 to $95). Now when they say “little”, they actually mean regular size, as in one patty, which is more than enough (believe us). The regular, on the other hand, has two patties – and is a beast! Once you’ve chosen the size, you can either go “all the way” and order all the fillings available (which includes lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, grilled onions, and mushrooms etc), or choose them individually, and select a sauce. There are probably a million different combinations of fillings you can choose from, which is impressive, but while the meat is tasty, the thinness of the patty and the amount of grease that seeps into the bun just lets it down.
WINNER: Shake Shack
Shake Shack: We LOVE the crinkle-cut Fries ($27) and Cheese Fries ($36), which are perfectly crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. They aren’t too greasy either which gets them major brownie points, and they have just the right amount of salt sprinkled on the top. Really, it’s worth coming here just for these.
Five Guys: Now these guys takes fries very seriously, and we’re glad, because they are unreal! Beautifully crispy on the outside, and fluffy on the inside, each batch is cooked to perfection and thoroughly analysed by a special chip connoisseur (we’re not even kidding), before it reaches your hands. You can choose from three sizes: small ($35), regular ($45), and large ($55), and they come in regular or Cajun style, which are cooked in 100 percent peanut oil. While the Cajun flavour is great, it’s pretty heavy which makes it difficult to finish a whole cup. All the fries here are made from imported potatoes from The Netherlands and they let you know the exact origin on a whiteboard (nice touch, right?).
WINNER: Five Guys
(We didn’t get to try these so we can’t judge, but here is the info)
Shake Shack: They offer seven flavours of hand-spun shakes (each $42), two types of float (also $42), and ice cream (single scoop $32). You can add whipped cream to your shake or make it malted. Flavours include peanut butter, caramel, and coffee.
Five Guys: You can choose from eleven ingredients to add to your shake, including peanut butter and bacon (yep, you read that right). The shakes cost $55, regardless of what you add, and you can have it served with or without whipped cream.
Shake Shack: These guys currently offer three limited edition Holiday Shakes: Hazelnut, Christmas Cookies, and Chocolate Peppermint. They also serve three heavenly ice cream-based desserts which cost $41 for a single scoop: the Matcha Golden Bell, Open Sesame, and Queensway Crunch (which is by far the best of the three). They also have a Hong Kong Exclusive Milk Tea Shake ($42), offer a Bag O-Bones ($50) for customers with four legged companions, and have a bar which serves wine and beer on tap.
Five Guys: If you love munching on peanuts, then you’re in for a treat, because you can eat as many as you like – for free – as you wait in the queue to be served. Aside from that, and offering three kinds of bottled beer (note, not on tap), there aren’t any additional treats here. Sorry guys, but desserts win every time!
WINNER: Shake Shack
After a lot of munching and assessing flavour, price range, and grease levels, we can confirm that while Five Guys does it bigger, Shake Shack does it better. Controversial we know. If you’re after a quick and dirty feed, and don’t care if your food looks pretty, then Five Guys is for you, but if you have an issue with grease, prefer a drier bun, and live for desserts, then it’s a no-brainer – head to the Shack. Another factor is the added treats, and while we appreciate free peanuts at Five Guys, the amount of extras on offer at Shake Shack swings it for us – and you can’t beat beer on tap! The price range is also slightly cheaper here, which is another bonus. So there you have it, the winner is…