Banh Mi Hamburger: Asian Fusion Food For National Hamburger Day
May 28th was National Hamburger Day. We used the occasion to try something new: an Asian-fusion hamburger, with a recipe from Hello Fresh.
The all-American hamburger sandwich takes on the garnishes of a Vietnamese bánh mì sandwich.
The banh mì sandwich was born in the era of French Indochina, when France annexed territories in 1862. The French remained in the region until 1954. (The State of Vietnam was established in 1949.)
During this period, there were many resident French administrators, military and merchants. They brought French cuisine with them, and Vietnamese restaurateurs and household staff learned how to cook it—including baking baguettes.
When the French left, the Vietnamese varied the classic baguette recipe by making it more to their taste: mixing rice flour with the conventional wheat flour. The result: an airier, puffier baguette, with room to pack in:
So the Hello Fresh chefs put their heads together to develop a Vietnamese-inspired recipe, marrying burger and bánh mì was the first thing they thought of. But it stands to reason that if something could stand the test of time and taste THIS good between two slices of bread, it would taste equally as delicious between two buns, right?
And the Bánh Mì Burger was born.
There’s a major shift with this burger: It’s made from ground pork instead of beef. Pork and chicken are the main meats of Vietnam, along with fish. Beef is not often found.
Ground pork is seasoned with fragrant herbs, spices and sauces that intensify as the patties sear. Can you use beef? If you want to. How about a beef-pork blend? Or chicken or turkey burgers?
The burgers are served with oven-baked sweet potato and/or carrot fries.
For a different take on a Vietnamese pork burger, check out this recipe from Sutter Home.
Instead of conventional hamburger buns, use brioche buns.
Or, to get more of a bánh mì effect, serve the burger on a baguette, cut in half horizontally and then cut to the length of a bun.
1. BAKE the fries. Cut the carrots and/or sweet potatoes into julienne fry shapes (if you prefer, you can cut them in coin shapes). Season with salt and a bit of cinnamon. Bake for 20 minutes in a 400°F.
2. MIX the ground pork with the seasonings, and cook to medium. A properly cooked pork burger should have an internal temperature of 160°F. Cook the patty over medium high heat for 5-7 minutes on each side.
3. TOAST the buns as desired. When ready to assemble:
4. SPREAD both bun halves with sriracha mayonnaise. Add the patty and top with the garnishes as desired.
*What Is Fusion Food: Fusion food is a particular dish or cuisine that combines elements of cuisines from different countries, regions, or cultures. The California Roll is fusion food: a sushi roll of Japanese crab and cucumber with California avocado. Avocados did not grow in Japan.
†Thai Spice Blend. You can find Thai spice locally or online. This brand from Amazon includes cardamom, cinnamon, clove, coriander, cracked black pepper, cumin, fenugreek, galangal, garlic, ginger, nutmeg, paprika, sea salt, turmeric, and yellow mustard seeds.
‡Shrimp Extract Powder. Ground dried shrimp mixed with salt, shrimp extract powder is used in dips, gravies, marinades, salad dressings, sauces, soups, seasonings, stuffings, and to flavor appetizers, breads/crackers, entrées and snacks. It delivers “an authentic clean shrimp flavor with a pleasant shellfish and shrimp broth profile” [source]. You can buy it online; but it may be easier to simply leave it out of the recipe. There is no immediate substitute. You can check out Knorr Shrimp Flavor Granulated Bouillon; or umami powder; even powdered mushrooms.