Editor's note: A few months ago, Daniel O'Sullivan contributed a review on Kraze Burger in South Korea while teaching English there. Now he's traveling around Asia for the next two months and documenting the goodies on his blog Street Foodie. Today, he brings us his review of a burger joint in Vietnam.
My Burger Mỹ
5 Hang Bac, Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi, Vietnam (map)
Cooking Method: Grilled
Short Order: Good quality burger with toppings to match.
Want Fries with That? Yes; you might want more than what it comes with.
Prices: The Works Mỹ Burger, 69000 VND
In a busy street in Hanoi's old quarter, amid the souvenir shops and tour operators, a simple chalkboard sign hangs unobtrusively on a tree. "Char grilled Burgers, Mexican food, 1m" it announces with a slight flourish. Follow the arrow, and you've reached Mỹ Burger My.
Owned and operated by American chef/writer Daniel Hoyer, My Burger Mỹ is an unassuming sort of place. The menu consists simply of a few burgers, a handful of sandwiches, some Mexican favorites, and a bevy of cold drinks—an essential nod to the unrelenting fury of the Hanoi summer.
When I visited I ordered a The Works Mỹ Burger. I wasn't alive in the '50s, but something about this burger gave me a sense of B-movie nostalgia. The large, flying saucer shaped patty had been hand-formed and char-grilled thoroughly, and a massive portion of American cheese oozed its way around the burger, blob-like. Toppings of mushrooms, fired chilies, lettuce, tomato, and smoked bacon completed the picture in glowing technicolor.
For the most part, the burger matched style with substance. The beef was of good quality and well seasoned, though admittedly could have been a little pinker. The toppings had been selected and prepared thoughtfully. The fired chilies and mushrooms gave the burger a bit of spice and earthiness, and the two large slices of smoked bacon were thick, slightly salty, and incredibly tasty—a world away from the shrunken, incinerated excuses for pork often found on burgers.
The bun was soft, slightly crispy, and of that light, airy quality common to bread in Hanoi. It was a good choice considering the heaviness of the rest of the ingredients, but unfortunately unable to hold up to the grease drip from the 165 gram (5.8 ounces) patty. The result was a distinctly soggy lower half that slightly marred my enjoyment of the burger.
There were some other problems. I could have done with a few more of the good "American Diner-style" fries, and the atmosphere and decor of the joint—given the singularity of the food—could do with a little work (the dining room doubles up as a tour agency, with all the garish "special offer" color schemes that come with it).
Nevertheless, the burger shone through in the end, and this was one of the best I've had in Asia. Ordinarily, ordering a burger here is like playing Russian roulette with five bullets, but at My Burger Mỹ, the risk finally pays off. Daniel Howyer's burger joint is a great addition to Hanoi's already flourishing cafe culture, international influences, and fantastic street food.