When gourmet burger joint Rel­ish & Sons de­cided to get cre­ative in Ho Chi Minh City, few would have ex­pected them to mod­ify a beloved Viet­namese soup into burger form

Southeast Asia Globe - - Flavours / Tastebud-Friendly Tips & Trends - – Dene Mullen

There are few more iconic culi­nary im­ages of Viet­nam than tak­ing a seat on a brightly coloured plas­tic chair and sidling up to a steaming bowl of pho. Vari­a­tions on the clas­sic Viet­namese noo­dle soup have wooed the West­ern world in re­cent years, yet it is in Ho Chi Minh City that the dish has been sculpted into its most

fas­ci­nat­ing form yet, with Rel­ish & Sons’ pho burger. Launched along­side a com tam burger – also based around an iconic Viet­namese dish, this one con­sist­ing of bro­ken rice and grilled pork – Rel­ish & Sons’ co-owner Andy O’Brien says the adap­ta­tions have gone down well with lo­cals and for­eign­ers alike.

“They were re­ceived very well, so much so that they be­came a per­ma­nent item in our menu, hav­ing been spe­cials be­fore. We cer­tainly re­ceived tips from the lo­cals about how we can im­prove them,” he says. “We lis­tened to the ex­perts and gave the burg­ers

a few tweaks be­fore they be­came per­ma­nent fix­tures.” With Viet­namese cus­tomers on board, the trick­i­est part of the process is ad­vis­ing cus­tomers on ac­tu­ally eat­ing the thing. With rice noo­dles fried into the shape of buns, en­cas­ing a braised beef patty, fried egg, onions and Viet­namese herbs, not to men­tion pho broth and sriracha side sauces, O’Brien rec­om­mends an

un­ortho­dox burger tech­nique. “Use a knife and fork,” he says. “It’s def­i­nitely not for the burger purists

who would scoff at the sight of cut­lery, but we think this burger is bet­ter en­joyed break­ing it down and get­ting a bit of ev­ery­thing

on the fork, in­clud­ing the tra­di­tional herbs, dip­ping sauce and pho soup that ac­com­pany it.”

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