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A smashburger on an ube bun.
Catch Bundok’s Burgers every Saturday in February at Olfactory Brewing in San Francisco.
Kevin Villanueva

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This New San Francisco Pop-Up Puts a Filipino Twist on Classic Smash Burgers

New pop-up Bundok’s Burgers smashes beef and longanisa patties between purple ube buns

Lauren Saria is the editor of Eater SF and has been writing about food, drinks, and restaurants for more than a decade.

Lucky for beef-eating San Franciscans, this city has plenty of options for a lacy-edged smash burger. There’s the ever-excellent Wesburger in the Mission, plus a cohort of top-notch pop-ups including Lil’ Eagle Burger; SmishSmash; and relative newcomer Maillards, which slings its sweated shallot-topped patties at the Outer Sunset Farmers Market & Mercantile.

But as of this month, there’s a fresh entrant into the Bay Area smash burger wars — and it’s putting a purple, ube-scented twist on the classic style.

Kevin Villanueva

Fans can catch self-described “Filipino-inspired smash burger” pop-up Bundok’s Burgers every Saturday in February at Olfactory Brewing from 5 to 8 p.m. Owner and chef Kevin Villanueva, who previously spent time in the kitchens of fine dining restaurants including In Situ and Jeepney in New York, says he contemplated opening a Filipino restaurant for years. “I think my dream of opening this glorious fine dining Filipino concept like Kasama or Abaca was tempered by the reality of working in a kitchen,” he says. So, instead, he decided to take what he calls “the Señor Sisig approach,” folding Filipino flavors into a dish that’s likely already familiar to American diners. “I thought, burgers are the quintessential American thing,” he says.

All of Bundok’s two-and-a-half ounce patties are a blend of beef and longanisa, the Filipino pork sausage often eaten at breakfast. Villanueva says incorporating pork into a smash burger patty means you’ll get a little more char, though it’s challenging to achieve that highly Instagrammable lace-like edge. His menu currently offers three different burgers. The signature comes topped with a sauce that features banana ketchup and calamansi, while a spicy iteration gets a bird’s eye chile relish and a layer of spicy shoestring fries. Finally, diners can choose a “smokey smash” that comes with what Villanueva calls “lechon sauce,” charred onions, and provolone cheese.

Without access to a deep fryer, he’s limited on side offerings but has been offering shrimp chips, plus “animal-style” shrimp chips to round out the meal. All the burgers also come on a purple-hued ube hamburger bun, which Villanueva says he’s sourcing from a bakery in Daly City. Eventually, he says he’d love to open a permanent restaurant. But for now, he’s aiming to gain some traction as a roving pop-up. “I’m super excited to be doing this,” he says. “Getting this opportunity and embarking on this journey is exciting.”

Keep an eye on the Bundok’s Burgers Instagram for updates and find the pop-up at Olfactory Brewing (2245 3rd Street, San Francisco) on Saturdays from 5 to 8 p.m. through the month of February.

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