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This is one HOT burger

Vendors here risk jail and fine - to sneak Ramly burgers across the Causeway and hawk them to Singaporeans. The lip-smacking lure: its spicy 'Asian taste' January 11, 2004 Sunday Arlina Arshad MOVE over, McDonald's and Burger King. Burger Ramly fever has crossed the Causeway and hit town. Singaporeans rave about its spicy 'Asian taste', and at almost every pasar malam, vendors hawk the popular Malaysian chicken and beef patties - risking jail and fine from the authorities for sneaking them in. At least one vendor has been fined, but it hasn't stopped others from hanging big yellow banners with 'Ramly' emblazoned across them in brown, nor slogans such as 'Original Recipe!' and 'That Famous Burger, Get it Here!' The customers don't bat an eyelid either. With a sparkle in her eyes, sales assistant Serene Lim, 32, who was spotted buying 10 Ramly burgers from a Sengkang bazaar stall, gushed: 'The buns are soft, and the meat patty is tender and full of flavour. Very fattening, very sinful, but very delicious!' Another die-hard fan, technician Ahmad Jabar, 35, said he indulged in a Ramly burger whenever he is in Johor Baru (JB). 'McDonald's or Burger King burgers can never beat the Burger Ramly. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water. I get cravings, like a pregnant woman, if I don't eat it for a few months.' The number of stalls here selling Ramly burgers has at least doubled in the past two years, said eight vendors interviewed. 'Two years ago, there were one or two stalls at one location but now, there may be eight to 12 stalls,' said Mr Johari Abdul Jalil, 23, a vendor for two years. Competition is stiff, but there's enough profit to go around. Half the cost of each burger - priced at $2 for one with a plain patty and $2.50 for a 'special' egg-wrapped one - is profit. Each stall can sell between 50 and 200 burgers on a week day, and double that on weekends. Ramly burger fans are happy that the night bazaars here have started selling the burgers.
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Said student Junainah Amin, 15: 'Suddenly, I see Burger Ramly stalls all over the place. So shiok, no need to go to JB to buy one.' A JB vendor, 21-year-old Mohamad Nor Ayun Razali, said half the 500 patrons who throng his stall at Larkin bus interchange on weekends are Singaporeans. He said: 'Chinese, Indian or Malay, they say they cannot resist the aroma of the grilled patties and simply have to buy one.' But the importing of beef and beef products from Malaysia is not permitted, said the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA). Selling and supplying them without a permit is also an offence, and offenders can be fined as much as $50,000 or jailed two years, or both, said the AVA. Ramly Food Processing, the Malaysian company which manufactures the patties, told The Sunday Times that it is 'very keen' to market the beef and chicken patties in supermarkets here. It said: 'We plan to go international and Singapore is our first stop. We're doing the necessary paperwork and checks, and hopefully, in a year or two, we'll be applying for AVA's approval.' This should be welcome news for customers and vendors who spend six to seven hours making trips to Johor Baru for supplies. A vendor, who was fined $150 once for illegally hawking the burgers, said: 'That would be wonderful. I will not have to sneak them in anymore.' How to cook the Burger Ramly Special Preparing the patty:       Melt margarine on a hotplate. Fry chopped onions and place the beef or chicken patty on top. Different stalls use different seasonings for flavour. These include fish or chicken curry powder, oyster sauce, Maggi seasoning, sweet soya sauce, mayonnaise or pepper. Slice the half-cooked patty into half its thickness and cook the inner sides. For an egg-wrapped Burger Ramly Special, break an egg and spread it into a thin layer the size of a plate. Place patty in the middle and fold the egg over it on four sides.

Preparing the bun:

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Slice a hamburger bun into half, coat each side with margarine and toast the two halves on a hotplate. The typical Western burger is garnished with lettuce and tomato. Use sliced cucumbers, shredded cabbage and carrot for a Ramly burger. Cheese is optional. Top up with sweet chilli sauce and mayonnaise.

BURGER Ramly started out as a small family business operated from a mobile kiosk on Lorong Haji Hussin in Kuala Lumpur in 1979. The special family recipe was cooked up by Mr Ramly Moknin, then 27. It soon became a hit among Malaysians. Mr Ramly, now 52, set up his first factory, Ramly Food Processing, at Bandar Tun Razak in 1984. A second one, at the Batu Caves, was set up in 2000. Ramly's spokesman told The Sunday Times that the company's processed products, including burger patties, nuggets and frankfurters, raked in RM60 million (S$28 million) last year. Patty sales make up 60 per cent of the company's profits.

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Jailed for smuggling in Ramly patties
May 19, 2004 Wednesday RAMLY burgers, which are made in Malaysia and known for their spicy 'Asian' taste, have such a following in Singapore that some food vendors and their agents cannot resist smuggling in patties from across the Causeway. The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) has uncovered 26 such cases involving a total of 431kg since the beginning of last year. Presenting its case against an illegal importer, Suzali Mohamad, 38, in a district court yesterday, the AVA said this was an offence that was difficult to detect. It therefore asked that the court impose a stiff sentence on the offender. The AVA said that meat products processed in Malaysian food factories which it had not approved were banned here. Suzali was yesterday jailed for four months for trying to bring in more than 200kg of Ramly chicken and beef patties from Malaysia without a licence, on two separate occasions in February. He was stopped both times at the Woodlands Checkpoint. The court heard that he was found with almost 150kg of patties in his vehicle the first time. He was asked to attend an interview eight days later at the AVA office, but did not show up. He was picked up at the Woodlands Checkpoint later that evening with more bags of burger patties hidden under the rear seat and bonnet of his car. AVA prosecutor Yap Teck Chuan said that Suzali was a recalcitrant offender, having been warned for importing 9kg of Ramly beef patties on May 1 last year without a licence. He added that many complaints had been received from the public about Ramly burgers being sold in night markets. A Straits Times report in January had said that the number of vendors selling Ramly burgers here has doubled in the past two years.

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