You may already know by now that the Apocalypse is truly upon us, and we’re now in the end times. This is the end game, with the notable exception that Earth’s mightiest heroes isn’t coming to bail us out of this jam.
If the events of the last week or so is any indicator, it would seem that my fellow Singaporeans would rather endure the searing fires of hell, ravening zombie hordes and the unearthly chill of a nuclear winter than to live life (for a month, anyway) without McDonald’s and bubble tea.
Yes, fellow Snacktivists, the font of our lifeblood, the House of the Golden Arches and the Dynasty of the Tapioca Pearl in Over-Sugared Brown Water Resembling Tea has departed our fair land (for the time being, at least).
'Tis a season of famine, all light has gone, darkness reigned supreme, etc. etc.
Yes, the Macpocalypse (you heard it here first, I'm trademarking this term btw) is upon us.
With any apocalypse comes the emergence of a thriving black market. We’ve already seen signs of that happening, with people scalping burgers and even condiments for vast multiples of what they actually cost.
And said thriving black black market is also the herald of total societal collapse. Snaking lines have formed outside the soon-to-be closed outlets, with the inevitable scuffles breaking out along the way as tempers fray.
So, the short story is you won’t be able to get bubble tea and MacDonald’s for a month. I wish I could help you there, but beneficent and potent though The Snacktivist may be, there’s a limit to his powers.
While I can’t tell you where to get your bubble tea fix, short of making it on your own, which I won’t, because making it yourself goes against every molecule of The Snackdown’s ethos. Why bother doing it yourself when you can get someone to do it for you, is the Snacktivist’s mantra.
However, I can provide you some alternatives for fast food burgers, all arguably better than what can be found at McDonald’s. Granted, you’ll have to pay more to eat a semi-decent burger, but nobody ever said the price of addiction is cheap.
Or, if you prefer, you could head down to any of these independent burger purveyors, if you’re feeling a bit fancier and a bit more flush with cash. Specifically, the cash that you got from the recent government handout.
Would it surprise you if I told you that the best part about the Five Guys experience is the fries?
No, really. I’m not kidding. The Five Guys fry is crispy on the outside, without being too flour-y on the inside and gasp even has some of the potato skin left on, so you know you’re eating an actual fried potato, as opposed to a potato that has been resurrected and reconstituted through culinary necromancy.
Would it also surprise you if I told you that having too much choice can be a bad thing?
Just like having too many unplayed games in your Steam library can lead to you not wanting to start on any of them, Five Guys gives you choice paralysis on a biblical scale.
There are 15 accompaniments to choose from, and you can have all of them on the same burger, which probably means you have psychopathic tendencies. Or you can have none of them, which probably also means you have psychopathic tendencies.
Before Five Guys, before Shake Shack came hometown hero Omakase Burger, perhaps one of the most underrated fast food burgers in existence.
What’s so good about Omakase Burger is it (mostly) dispenses with the frippery and gets on with what makes a burger great.
There’s no additional pointless fancy stuff to contend with here. Just a great grilled patty (it can also be had in un-meat Impossible Foods guise) sandwiched between a just-right chewy bun.
You see, there’s joy in simplicity executed to its logical extreme. And frankly, what more condiments could you want in your burger other than some bacon, cheese and some token vegetals? Well, some barbeque sauce too, if you're into that sort of thing.
And if you swing that way, you can also have your Omakase Burger with Impossible non-meat meat. If you've never had it before, it's surprisingly, uncannily like actual meat. A bit of a novelty, to be certain, but that's about the only gimmicky thing on the Omakase Burger. menu.
It’s the antithesis of the venerable Big Mac, a burger that should have been killed off years ago, but somehow still lives.
The crown jewel of the local fast food scene at Jewel Changi Airport (this is a gem-based pun), is Shake Shack, which opened around this time last year to prodigiously long queues that could see you waiting for hours in line.
Of course, the queues have now subsided, and since that time, it’s opened another outlet along Neil Road.
So, just what can you expect of Shake Shack?
Well, far less choice paralysis than at Five Guys (and pretty meh fries), I can tell you that much. The trick here is to keep things simple. Don’t go ham on the fancy complex burgers with the fried portobello slice, as I did the first time.
Stick to the basic burger and you’ll have the truest measure of the Shake Shack experience.
And wash it down with one of its milkshakes, which are pretty decent, if a little too sweet, even for me.
I say ‘wash’, but what I really mean is ooze slowly, like lava. I know thick milkshakes is a good thing, but Shake Shack takes it to another level. It’s thick to the point of near-undrinkability.
Whether that’s a good thing or not is entirely dependant on your point of view. Though one way it could be improved is if Shake Shack provided a spoon for its milkshakes instead of a straw.
Or one of those wide-mouthed straws that bubble tea shops give you when you order one with pearls in. You know, the kind of bubble tea that YOU CAN’T HAVE UNTIL JUNE?!