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what is it about white castle

after abandoning vegetarianism about two years ago-- i ate my first white caste burger the other night. in fact, it was my first "commercial" burger in many years. the last time i had white castle, however, was when i was ten. it was the feature of my friend's birthday party. (i grew up in a very classy town)
to return to my burger from the other night: i admit it was good. and i admit that we were all drinking so my taste buds might not have been as discerning as they would be on another night.
nonetheless everyone at our table seemed to agree that the little castle burgers were the best commercial burger option around.
true or untrue?

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  1. Best commercial burger? I don't think so.

    But it's like in the movie Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle -- when you've got that craving, nothing else will do.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Miss Needle

      I'm certainly glad I never get that craving. I have never understood the WC phenom. I've had WC exactly four times in my life. I just don't get it. And I'm no snob about junk foods. I'll be the first to admit that I love 7-11 microwave burrito things, taco hell, arby's fish sammiches (and plenty more.) but WC I will never understand. Just does nothing for me at all.

      1. re: gordeaux

        I think it's mainly about the strong onion flavor in the slyders. If you LOVE onions, then it's little burger heaven. I know people who aren't crazy for WC - just a matter of taste. Also, a pal from VA says that "something about a burger that's just cooked on one side sounds wrong"- but Sr. Swanky & I can't get enough!

        1. re: gordeaux

          Guess people have different tastes. I can't eat 7-11 burritos and Taco Bell at all. But White Castle is something I like to enjoy once every few years. In addition to the strong onion flavor, there's something nice biting into that soggy squishy bun.

          1. re: Miss Needle

            I love In-and-Out, would I love White Castle? (I know that they are different in many ways)

            1. re: BellaDonna

              They're different in damn near every way. There's no way to tell if you'd like White Castle based on whether you like In n Out -- there just aren't enough data points in common.

              1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                I eat them every once in a while. And here's a disturbing news flash: the last batch I got, the buns weren't steamed. They tasted dry and yucky. I hope this was just an isolated mistake.

              2. re: BellaDonna

                Oh, completely different animals. The only way you would know for sure is to try it. And as it's only about 50 cents a burger, there's not too much harm done if you don't like it.

                1. re: BellaDonna

                  I can pretty much guarantee that if you love In-n-Out you'll detest White Castle. Any more than Beach Boys and Rap can both be your favorite type of music.

                  1. re: addictedtolunch

                    Wait..I love them both!! I'm in Ca, & I love my double-doubles, but you can find the big box of frozen White Castle cheezeburgers in my freezer right now.
                    After a few seconds in the microwave, same squishy texture as if they were just steamed on the restaurant grill.

          2. i would say flavor balance and the appeal of "snackability." appealing soft bun, pungent flavorful onions, gooey cheese (supposing you're smart and go with the cheese sliders), and--though optional, completely required for me--the spice of a touch of jalapeno. someone made a post a while back about how the burger patty in most great fast food burgers is just there to support the superb condiments and bun, and i think white castle is a great example of that.

            1. There is no WC in our area, so they only thing I have had is the frozen version. It was okay, I'm sure it would have been better fresh, but what sticks out in my mind is the overwhelming smell of BO. The onions, I know, but . . .

              1 Reply
              1. re: danhole

                We don't have them where I live either and I had tried the frozen ones..oh the stank! I smelled up my whole house and I hated them....fast forward a few years and we were visiting the east coast and gave it a shot, walked in and BLAMO BO smell! I will say that aside from the smell they were damn tasty...would go back in a heartbeat. Avoid the frozen at all costs.

              2. i've been eating them all my life - i love them, but they don't love me so i don't eat them very often. we call them bellybombers for a reason. there is just something about them - the onions, the steamed bun - who know. i can eat about 10 of them! forget about the frozen ones, they are just not the same!

                1. the allure of White Castle for me is that they are open 24 hours, and an easy stop home after a night of drinking, something about a greasy burger helping to fend off a hangover the next day.

                  I rarely if ever eat White Castle when sober.

                  Nowhere near the best burger, but they fill the late night niche like Taco Bell, etc.

                  1. I'm not all that sold on WC. I'm much more of a Krystals fan. I find them a lot more tasty.
                    As for a commercial burger, there are plenty of options out there. I'd even take a McD's burger so long as it's super fresh.
                    Of the major chains, I'll go with Wendy's for my favourite. Not that they're the greatest over all.


                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Davwud

                      this may sound incredibly ignorant but what's krystals? i am in nyc...maybe we don't have them here?

                      1. re: oystersallday

                        Pretty much the same idea as WC but slightly different. No holes in the meat and they don't put the bun on top to steam it. Slightly different toppings too.

                        They're mostly in the south. http://www.krystal.com/


                    2. I'm born and raised in New Jersey where there are quite a few White Castles. I have to say, there is nothing else like it. I love those burgers. I don't eat fast food, but every once in a while I'll have one and they are always awesome. they never disappoint. I don't love their fries... they are a bit soggy, but the onion rings are awesome. It really is like a religion for those of us who grew up on them.

                      1. born in jersey 35 years now cali 25 years i love in n out and i love white castle first stop when i visit and now im jonesing

                        1. I think White Castles are an aquired taste. Those who have grown up with them (like me) get the urge, while others could care less and/or hate them. I wasn't sure what I was going to do for dinner tonight, but all this talk gave me the urge for a batch of wc's...

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: michele cindy

                            Michele, I think you're right about growing up with them. I know WC is not a quality burger at all. But I've been eating them since I was 3. There's some nostalgia factor to it -- kind of like watching reruns of Three's Company.

                            1. re: Miss Needle

                              Also, it's one of the few things a kid could afford to buy for themselves. At least back then when they were only about .15 each.

                            2. re: michele cindy

                              i didn't eat one until i was nineteen, and i think they're heavenly.

                            3. I like that because of the small size, the meat to cheese to bun ratio on a japaleno slider is just about perfect. They're the perfect antidote to a night of drinking, either while "affected" or while recovering the next day. I live just a few blocks from a Castle, and I avoid driving by there because often I have a Pavlovian response and find myself driving through when I'm not even hungry.

                              Note of caution, however...the digestive after effects of these tasty morsels can be quite, ahem, disturbing!

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: dcandohio

                                That, dear friend is why they are called sliders......... They slide in and unfortunately they ummmm.... slide out just as fast.

                                1. re: currymouth

                                  Yeah, I know...I just wasn't gonna just say it!

                              2. Jfood thinks that WC was one of those comfort foods growing up. And for $0.08 you could watch the ladies process the burgers on the griddle right before your eyes. Some onions spread nice and evenly, then the square wholly burgers placed neatly on top, followed by both sides of the bun. Steamed all the way through, then add a pickle and some ketchup and into the 5-sided boxes.

                                Jfood was a purist in those days, no cheese, no fries, just a six-pack for a couple of quarters. The bag in the left hand, the burger in the right and a short walk home after school. Four bites and onto the next one.

                                Today jfood lives a fair distance from WC and it is a rare treat. But they still bring back tose great childhood memories when life was a lot simpler.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: jfood

                                  And that is why they are what they are.
                                  That and drunken college kids.....LOL


                                2. I'd definitely say that White Castle burgers are my favorite fast food burger. There's no fast food place I'd really go to as a "destination" when out of town, other than the great W.C. (Duluth's outlet closed shop about five years ago). There is definitely something special about them, which I can't really put my finger down on. Maybe it's that you can eat six or even eight of them without feeling guilty. Or the really soft bun. The company's slogan is something like "What you crave" and the big cases of multiple burgers you can get are "crave cases", and I can definitely understand why they call it that.

                                  I've never had the frozen version. Frozen burgers seem a bit odd in the first place, anyway.

                                  1. I tried WC a few years ago and since then have become somewhat of a closet addict. I'm moving to San Diego where I can get all the In 'N Out and Jack in the Box tacos, but my heart will be mourning my White Castle cheeseburgers and jalapeno cheeseburgers!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: SungSook

                                      As much as I love WC's, I would trade in my WC for a Taco at Jack in the Box anyday! I miss them so much.

                                    2. To me, WC is like a Krispy Kreme doughnut. I couldn't eat them everyday (and since neither chain is in Canada anymore, I couldn't if I wanted to). But on those long car trips through the US, they make a great treat.