Saturday, February 21, 2009

Ramly Burger

Ramly Burger.

Ramly Burger - Malaysia's brainchild.

Ask any Malaysian if they know what's a Ramly Burger, and the answer will most
likely be an enthusiastic "YES!" Probably the best burger in town, this well known,
addictive Malaysian food has taken the country by storm.

However, it is a common fact that most people don't look deeper beyond the juicy
patty between 2 soft buns and oozing sauces that just seems to scream,"EAT ME!"

So..What's in a Ramly Burger?

In this blog, we will explore just that. From the nutrients a typical Ramly Burger
contains, to having a healthier version of the delicious yet sinful burger.

A typical Ramly Burger generally consists of a beef or chicken patty, margarine, onions,
an egg, cabbage, mayonnaise, and chilli sauce. However, this list is subjective as
Ramly Burgers are highly customizable.

Since most Ramly Burgers are bought from stalls and not home made, often,
consumers don't realise the amount of calories they consume from a typical burger.
Burgers in general, are deemed as one of the less healthy foods. Ramly Burgers are
no exception. Need proof?

The nutrient contents for the burger's chicken patty:


Per 100g

Per serving

Calories (kcal)



Carbohydrates (g)



Protein (g)



Fats (g)



Nutrient Contents for the beef patty:


Per 100g

Per serving

Calories (kcal)



Carbohydrates (g)



Protein (g)



Fats (g)



As for the Burger Buns:


Per 100g

Calories (kcal)


Carbohydrates (g)


Protein (g)


Fats (g)


So based on the nutrition facts, a typical Ramly Chicken Burger would generally contain about 280 kcal and 22g of fats! And that's not even including the oil used to cook the patty, the mayonnaise and other sauces!

Now, lets get personal..

What is the significance of the carbohydrates, proteins and fats we consume from those burgers?
Where and what do they end up as in our body?

The Fats

The majority of the fat content in the burger is contributed by the patty. Fats contain mostly carbon and hydrogen, some oxygen, and sometimes other atoms. Fats provide 9 kilocalories per gram (kcal/g), compared with 4 kcal/g for carbohydrate and protein. The fat content mainly from the burger patty and mayonnaise are broken down into fatty acids. Fatty acids is used to provide energy for formation of bonds in the synthesis of ATP and can be oxidised after absorption from the intestine or stores as triglycerids for later use. Fatty acids are used by all tissues during normal dietary situations and only used by some tissues in extreme conditions like starvation (University of South Australia, 2000).

Lipid Function and Metabolism Summary (Opthard, 2003).

For a more detailed information regarding fat metabolism, click HERE.

The Carbohydrates

The bulk of carbohydrates from a Ramly burger is mainly from the burger bun. Carbohydrates contribute 4kcal per gram. A small amount of carbohydrate can be found in the patty itself as well as in the vegetables in the burger (as fibers). Carbohydrates are broken down to monosaccharides (glucose, galactose, and fructose) by digestion. They can be used directly for energy by all tissues, stored temporarily as glycogen in the liver or in muscles or converted to other biological compounds like fats (Advameg, 2007).

Read HERE for a more detailed explanation for carbohydrate metabolism.

Did you know?

Only certain cells like liver and kidney cells can make their own glucose from amino acids. Liver and muscle cells store glucose as glycogen while other body cells have to obtain glucose from the bloodstream (Advameg, 2007).

The Proteins

The burger patty contributes most of the proteins in a ramly burger. Digestion breaks protein down to amino acids. Proteins are an important component of the structural tissue for muscles and it is also involved in transporting oxygen or hemoglobin, catalyze various biochemical reactions(enzymes) and regulate reactions (hormones). The synthesis of the many proteins, amino acids are needed for growth, replacement, and repair. The final products of the breakdown of protein are carbon dioxide, water, urea, ammonia and ATP (Davis, 2001).

Click HERE for more explanation on protein metabolism.

Did you know?

Body proteins are broken down when there is insufficient dietary supply of energy during illness or starvation. The proteins in the liver are used in preference of other tissues such as the brain. The gluconeogenesis pathway is only present in liver cells and in certain kidney cells (Advameg, 2007).

To sum it up, here's a summary of the fat, carbohydrate, and protein metabolism:

Metabolism Summary (Opthard, 2003).

So some may ask, "Ramly Burger has no physiological benefits?Nothing good about it at all nutrition-wise??"

Well, not entirely true. Despite the general negative perception most have about the burger nutrition-wise, the various ingredients in a Ramly Burger do have some nutritional and physiological benefits. How? Check out the table below:



Chicken/Beef Patty

- Rich source of protein

- Dense in nutrients, including protein, zinc, iron, phosphorous, riboflavin, thiamin and niacin.

(WHFoods, 2001)

Read HERE for more information on the patties.


- Good source of Vitamins A & E

- Contain mono- and poly-unsaturated fats.

- Contain essential fatty acids, linoleic & linolenic acids

- Contain no cholesterol

(National Association of Margarine Manufacturers, 2008)

Read HERE for more information on Margarine.


- Rich in Vitamins B6, B1, Vitamin C, folic acid, and chromium, a mineral that helps cells respond to insulin.

- Onions have blood sugar lowering effects, cardiovascular benefits, supports gastrointestinal health, boost bone health and have anti-inflammatory activity.

(WHFoods, 2001)

For more information about the benefits of onions, click HERE.


- Rich in protein

- Low in sodium

- Rich source of various B Vitamins especially B2 and B12, Vitamin D and Vitamin A.

- Rich source of many essential minerals such as phosphorus, iodine and selenium.

(WHFoods, 2001)

Read HERE for more about the benefits of eggs.


- Rich in Vitamin K and Vitamin C, fiber and various minerals.

- Optimize body cells’ detoxification & cleansing ablity

- Promote GI health

- Promote women's health

- Protect against Alzheimer’s Diseases

(WHFoods, 2001)

Want to know more? Click HERE.


- Contains Vitamin E

- Free of trans fats and made with heart healthy oils such as soybean and canola oil.

- Some mayonnaise are made with omega-3 fatty acids which has been linked to positive treatment of arthritis and colon inflammation.

(The Association for Dressings and Sauces, 2009).

More information on mayonnaise HERE.

So does the above benefits make Ramly Burger a wise food choice?

Which brings us to the next question...

Ramly : Good or Harmful ?

Despite the benefits stated previously, the burger also has its downside.

While eating the burger only occasionally does not possess any detrimental effects to humans, it is unhealthy in the long run if consumed on a regular basis as it is not nutritionally balanced. It is:

1. High in Sodium
- Sodium from common salt and other additives (Schierer, T., 2007).
- A high sodium diet increases risks of developing high blood pressure (Hoernlein, C., 2009).

2. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
- MSG is very damaging to our body as it may directly affect immune response by damaging the nervous system, create taurine deficiency, causes asthma, damages retina and may stimulate the pancreas, causing type II diabetes (Hoernlein, C., 2009).

3. Deficient in dietary fiber and essential micro-nutrients
- Lack of vitamins and minerals (Schierer, T., 2007).
- This would lead to problems such as constipation and vitamins or minerals deficiencies.
- Besides that, eating a high-fat, high-carb meal produces damaging cellular changes that in people. A research from Kaleida Health, New York found that eating a high-fat, high-carbohydrate meal increased oxidative stress and inflammation in normal-weight people (Dr. W., 2007)

4. Calorie dense
- The burger is packed with calories due to the ingredients (burger patty, mayonnaise) and method of cooking (frying) (Schierer, T., 2007).
- Piling up of unused empty calories in the body eventually get stored as body fat. This may lead to obesity in some people and may also increase risks of heart diseases as the patty is also rich in saturated fats (Schierer, T., 2007).
- The processed meat also contains trans fat. This form of fat is often preferred by manufacturers as it does not turn rancid (Theavy S., 2007).
- Trans fats are not natural and may inhibit the function of enzymes in our body for the normal metabolism of fat (Theavy S., 2007).

5. Food colouring
- Used as an ingredient in the burger patty.
- A recent study confirms a link between Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and artificial food colours (Institute of Science in Society, 2007).

A Healthy Ramly Burger? Is It Possible?

Yes, it certainly is possible. There are a few ways to prepare a healthier option to increase the benefits of the burger and reduce its negative effects on consumers. How?

1. Change the current method of cooking

Ramly burger are often prepared by frying. Frying as we all know adds fats to the food. To avoid this, cooking methods such as stir-drying, grilling and broiling can be applied as they require little or no fat.

Watch a video we took on how a Ramly Burger is made:

2. Cut down on MSG and salt
An alternative flavoring would be to use herbs and spices. Examples of beneficial herbs are garlic, ginger or capsaicin. Studies have shown that these herbs are able to reduce the cholesterol level (MayoClinic, 2008).

3. Whole Grain Buns are good
Instead of the normal white buns used, whole grain buns can be used as it is richer in fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and healthy fats. Studies have confirmed that consuming whole grains lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases (ScienceDaily, 2007).

4. Add a greater variety of nutritious ingredients
To increase moisture, flavor and nutrition, nutritious ingredients such as onions, tomatoes, peppers, fruits or vegetable relishes can be added to the burger. A healthier patty such as fish which contains less calories and fats can be used, though the price might be higher. For those who are limiting their calorie intake, they can opt for vegetarian patties. Vegetable patties can be made using ingredients such as beans or mushrooms to decrease the amount of saturated fats consumed. Additional cheese added onto the burger can also be a low-fat option.

So, here's a little poll for you. After reading all of these, would you still go out and grab yourself a Ramly Burger?


kylie said...

WOAH!!!!! Facts Overload!!

Informative blog. Although I don't think the average Malaysian is able to digest (no pun intended) all the nutrient facts. Do they even worry about the amount fat or calories consumed in their lifetime of Ramly Burgers?

kylie said...

Why do you call Ramly Burger the Malaysian Brainchild? I mean there are MacD, Burger King etc even before Ramly Burger? Is it because Malaysia found a way to produce our own frozen burger patties? Or because of some unique Malayian flavour?

zero gravity said...

Lol....thanks for the healthier cooking tips!

I can make my own burger patties with meat and vegetables and use herbs & spices for flavoring. I can then freeze the extras for the future. And I support consuming wholegrain bread and brown rice anyway!

Is that possible? Can I make and freeze the patties?

zero gravity said...

On second thought, too much work to make my own patties....since you said Ramly Burger patties are safe & nutritious, then I'll just buy them from the supermarket. But grill or bake them instead of frying.

MomWithKids said...

Hey, I am a mom with 2 young kids - 2 & 4+. I am concerned about frozen food especially meat stuff for my kids. Can their stomach take such food as Ramly Burger Patties? I am sure there is some bacteria content in them. We adults can stomach them, how about young kids with sensitive stomach?

Justine said...

Due to the affordable and low cost of the burger (and not to mention its sheer tastiness), a majority of the people who consume it are ignorant towards its detrimental side-effects. How can we raise awareness about this issue and ensure that the message gets across?

lily said...

I'll Admit that Ramlu burger is Delicious. Better than mcdonalds i might say. But, do you think that Ramly burger is better than mcdonalds , carls junior health wise? or are all fast food bad for health?

Caleb Kong said...

Great read, though i hope that there is a total calorie content of the whole burger itself in its standard form. Like the ones in mcdonalds leaflet whr they state the calories of each burger even till their sodium content instead of part by part. Probably u can give a few examples of other food as a comparison?

Li Anne & Jaclyn said...

Hi Mom with 2 kids! Thanks for asking! Not all bacterias are harmful to us humans but there are a few bacterias that can cause food poisoning in both adults and children such as the infamous E Coli and Salmonella. Young kids with sensitive stomach are definitely more prone to food poisoning compared to adults as their immune system are also not yet fully developed, making them more susceptible. The bacteria possible in a Ramly burger would most probably come from the preparation of the burger such as unclean cooking utensils used to cook the burger rather than the burger itself. So in order to minimize risks of food poisoning, choose to buy the burgers from a stall in a clean environment such as in a shop itself rather than by the roadside. The best way would be of course, not to eat any of the burgers itself but just in case, your child wants a treat once in a while, these measures can be taken to prevent any unwanted health situations. Also make sure that your child washes their hands thoroughly before eating and if there may be a situation where you are uncertain if the burger is spoiled or inadequately cooked, don't eat it. Better safe than sorry ;) Hope this helps!

Li Anne & Jaclyn said...

Justine, thanks for that question! Your statement is very true indeed. Most Malaysians (if not all) KNOWS that foods such as Ramly Burger aren't healthy, yet many can't stay away from them..Of course, I understand. Cheap AND delicious - 2 for the price of 1 right? So in my opinion, the best way would be to encourage parents to advice and encourage their children since young to eat healthy foods and have a balanced diet. Websites can also be set up to provide the general public with nutritional information about the burger and encourage them to make wise choices. And of course, last but not least, the change of attitude has to come with each individual - whether to choose to ignore the negatives and indulge or to choose to make the right decisions for what is best for our health. After all, we are responsible for our own health. (:

Li Anne & Jaclyn said...

Lily, interesting questions there! Well generally, most fast foods regardless if its Ramly Burger, McDonalds or Carl's Junior, are not healthy or beneficial to health as they are calorie dense, high in sodium and fats, etc.However, eating fast foods once in a while will not drastically affect our health.The key is MODERATION. Take a look at this informative website regarding fast foods :

I'll quote some of the words there here:
There is no such thing as a "bad" food. All foods can fit into a healthy meal plan. It's true that fast food is usually high in fat, calories, cholesterol, and sodium, but eating fast food every once in a while is not going to cause you problems. If you eat too much fast food over a long period of time, though, it can lead to health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity.

Some fast food chains might have healthier alternatives. For instance, some chains don't serve foods with trans fats anymore and they may have a greater variety of fruits and vegetables in their menu. So, when choosing fast foods, you can make healthier choices such as choosing a sandwich with lean meat instead of a beef burger or using ketchup and exclude the mayonnaise. Some fast food chains also provide the nutritional information for the items in their menu, and consumers can use that to make wiser and healthier choices, even when it comes to fast foods (: Hope this helps!

Li Anne & Jaclyn said...

Hi Caleb! The reason why there isn't a standard nutritional content for the Ramly burgers is that, it varies with the person who prepares it. Some might use mayonnaise with black pepper sauce for instance, while some may just include mayonnaise alone. Compared to fast food chains such as McDonalds, where they have the information for total nutrient contents of their burgers, because all their burgers have standard ingredients, making it easier to have a standard calorie content for a particular burger. With the information provided though, the consumer can make a rough estimation of the nutritional content of the ingredients of a typical Ramly burger, excluding the oil or other special sauces used to make the burger. Thanks for asking! Hope this helps!

Li Anne & Jaclyn said...

Hi kylie, although most Malaysians might not actually know the exact amount of fats or calories in the burger, in general, I think they do know that it is high in fats and calories. But most choose to ignore that fact or perhaps just can't resist the temptation haha. Regarding Ramly Burger being termed as "Malaysia's brainchild", it's because it's Malaysia's own made burger, its trademark taste and customability, one of Malaysia's trademark foods and basically, it's just uniquely Malaysian (:

Li Anne & Jaclyn said...

Hi Zero Gravity,Yeah!You can definitely make your own burger patties with more vegetables and herbs and freeze it for future consumption. In fact, my mother has made home-made burger patties herself a few times haha! And you can freeze the patties and it'll still be safe for consumption by re-heating it as there will be very limited or no microbial activity that might cause spoilage to the food at freezing temperatures. But yeap, if it's too much trouble to make your own patties, the frozen patties can be bought too. And you can customize your own Ramly burger using wholegrain buns and more vegetables,etc. to make it a healthier,wholesome meal!

wanhamiza said...

love ramly burger <3

Anonymous said...

I love fat. The more fat in it, the better. Fats from MCT and animal are good as far as keto is concerned. So I'll eat more of them. The burger.