First there was pho cuon, then the pho cocktail. Now there’s the pho burger
Is it a novelty? Yes, probably. But so many customers have asked gourmet burger restaurant Relish & Sons to keep their pho burger on the menu, that now this concoction created by chef Andy O’Brien has become a permanent fixture.
Cooked up with fried noodles, Sriracha sauce, fried egg, beef shin, caramelised onions, hoisin sauce and la que (Vietnamese basil), the burger was originally created to celebrate this year’s Liberation Day on Apr. 30.
“We’d been thinking about doing something that’s Vietnamese but goes with our concept, that combines what we’re doing with something traditional,” explains Andy. “You can’t get more traditional than pho. So we decided to do a pho burger and base it on the flavours of a bowl of pho.”
With a patty made of the same braised beef you’d find in a typical serving of pho bo, the broth is served on the side together with the sauces and a slice of lime, while the bun is made of fried pho noodles.
“It’s the kind of dish you eat with a knife and fork,” says Andy, “although I’ve seen some foreigners eat it as a traditional burger.”
Naturally, I have to try the dish.
It really does taste like pho, especially when you eat the patty together with the Asian basil. The mix of textures — a key element in Vietnamese cuisine — are also present. I love it and eat every morsel.
But this dish is disarming, too. I don’t quite know how to place it in my list of eating experiences. It’s so unusual.
“Some [people] don’t really get it,” adds Andy, “although we’ve had some really good feedback from Vietnamese customers. They all love it.”
On the day I try the pho burger, they’ve sold 10 portions over lunch alone. Andy even gets messages from people asking if the burger is still on the menu.
We can confirm. Yes, it is. Just check the specials board above the kitchen. — Nick Ross
Relish & Sons is at 44 Dong Du, Q1, HCMC. The pho burger costs VND150,000++
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