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A Japanese take on a hamburger

Junya Goto prepares an egg to top the Hamburg Steak.
Junya Goto prepares an egg to top the Hamburg Steak. Sahiba Chawdhary

A Japanese take on a hamburger

The Japanese take on the hamburger, essentially a patty without the bun, is what you’ll be in for at the casual bar and diner 919 Quick.

The latest Japanese eatery to open its doors in the alleyway behind the Patio Hotel, tucked away near the upscale Sushi Lab restaurant, 919 Quick serves up satisfying Japanese-style “hamburg steak” – a thick patty of ground beef seasoned with mild spices, soy sauce and miso – as well as Japanese curries and a selection of bar snacks.

“It’s not really traditional [food], but the kind of food that all Japanese people would make at home,” says Junya Goto, who co-manages the restaurant alongside Omura Shin.

“The owner wanted hamburg [steak] to be known among the Cambodian people,” he says, adding that the restaurant is actually the “hobby” of the owner of a large Japanese funeral services corporation, who first opened a location in Tokyo and decided to expand with a location in Cambodia.

But it’s been a tough break for the few months they’ve been in business, Goto says.

The issue, he hazards, may be that local patrons aren’t accustomed to being served a piping-hot plate bearing a meat patty and little else besides some sautéed veggies and a little mound of mashed potatoes. Cambodians “look at it like it’s a strange thing”, he says with a laugh.

Served: A Teritama Hamburg Steak with a runny egg, mashed potato and veggies on the side.
Served: A Teritama Hamburg Steak with a runny egg, mashed potato and veggies on the side. Sahiba Chawdhary

A first-time experience for this reporter as well, The Post sampled Goto’s favourite: the Teritama hamburg steak ($6.90), which comes with a perfectly runny sunny-side up egg topped off with a light mayonnaise and teriyaki-based sauce. For patrons missing their soup and rice, they can be ordered on the side for $1.

If a hunk of ground beef isn’t really your thing, there’s a selection of Japanese curries on offer (from $4.50 to $13.50), although some also include – you guessed it – a Hamburg steak on top. Also worth a shout-out is the plate of fried chicken ($2.90) and the deep-fried cheese and minced meat croquettes ($3.90). Draft beers are only $1, which, coupled with a 2am closing time, should attract a hungry late-night crowd.

With a long metal bar counter and diner-style bar stools 919 Quick – more than being a culinary treat – provides a good environment to have a drink and eat some power food after work, and that was its intended design.

“The [original concept] is for a businessman who maybe doesn’t have a lot of time to eat,” Goto says, explaining that the restaurant’s name is a play on words. In Japanese, the numerals 9-1-9 are phonetically pronounced “que-ichi-que”, which, said speedily, sounds like the English “quick”.

So while the restaurant bills itself as double-quick, The Post encourages patrons to let time slow down and enjoy.

919 Quick is located in the alleyway behind the Patio Hotel off Street 51. It is open from 11:30am to 3pm and 6pm to 2am every day except Sunday.

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