If you’re jones-ing for a burger you’re in luck.
Forming the cornerstone of most fast food menus, the burger is as All-American as you can get. The recipe calls for a meat patty sandwiched between two sesame seed buns. Creatively speaking, this wouldn’t impress the Bourdains and Ramseys of our time. But on a conceptual level, its genius lies in its simplicity. After it first debuted at the St. Louis’ World Fair in 1904, the culinary creation became an American institution. Its straightforwardness most likely explains why it has become a fixture on dinner tables across the USA, consumed at least three times per week by the average American.
But in recent years, the rise of gourmet burger joints has announced a new era of burger consumption and one that isn’t rooted in junk food associations (or even in Americanness.) Known as the ‘better burger’ phenomenon, the American classic has been upgraded into something fashionable. The trend is identifiable by its promise of well-sourced beef along with premium toppings like wasabi mayo, camembert cheese, and even foie gras.
The number of hamburger eateries around Ho Chi Minh City reveals that this foodie frenzy is indeed a global epidemic. But we’re not complaining, as the burger mania has brought in some top-notch competition that would even make the most homesick of expats feel right at home.
Here’s our roundup of the finest burgers in Ho Chi Minh City (in no particular order.)
Con Bo Map
Hidden in the corner of an obscure courtyard, it’s easy to miss if you aren’t paying attention. The space is intimate, decorated only by a few wooden picnic tables positioned side-to-side. Con Bo Map, meaning ‘The Fat Cow’ in the local vernacular, is serious about their beef, serving hefty burgers on round wooden chopping boards. The menu includes all sorts of sandwiches: everything from baguettes to paninis to burgers… and then some. They have also been deemed the best breakfast spot in Ho Chi Minh City with their bestselling Full English Breakfast.
Noteworthy: The Feta Cheeseburger, feta cheese, black olives, grilled red onion, pickle, lettuce, tomato, mayo
Hours of Operation: 8AM to 10PM, MON-SUN
178/4b Pasteur, Bến Nghé, Q.1, HCMC, 08 3824 6607
Quan Ut Ut
Quan Ut Ut is American-style barbecued meat at its finest. Visitors are greeted with the sight and smell of grilling meat sizzling atop one of the industrial smokers parked right outside the entrance. Literally translating to ‘Restaurant Oink Oink,’ this American barbecue emporium fixes up some of the most pig-out worthy dishes imaginable. Their signature dish, the Bacon Bacon Burger, is the glorious consequence of a passionate love affair between pig and cow. The heavy smattering of their homemade bacon atop a 250g beef ground round, doused in a mix of ranch dressing, barbecue sauce, and crispy onions, reaffirms that in the arena of excess, America wins.
Noteworthy: The Bacon Bacon Burger, 250g US beef, bacon, American cheese, crispy onion, BBQ sauce
Hours of Operation: 11AM to 10:45PM, MON-SUN
168 Võ Văn Kiệt, Phường Cầu Ông Lãnh, Q.1, HCMC, 08 3914 4500
60 Trường Sa, Quận Bình Thạnh, HCMC, 08 3840 0420
Relish & Sons
The masterminds behind Relish & Sons have engineered some pretty innovative burgers. It’s like your childhood meets the gourmet food aisle, as the offerings are basically an exercise of imagination. One of the house specials is “The Claw,” fried soft shell crab wedged between a black squid ink bun. If that doesn’t jar the senses, “The Pho Burger,” is bound to do the trick. Braised beef, layered with a fried egg and a stream of Sriracha sauce, and then finished off with a bun made out of rice noodles and Vietnamese herbs, is a legit wonder to behold. And their all-day hamburger combo for 190,000 VND (which includes any burger on their menu with a side of fries or onion rings, plus either an alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink) is the best deal in town.
Noteworthy: The Lamb Baagaa, grilled lamb patty, cheddar cheese, beetroot, fennel, tomato, homemade dill pickles, rocket, jalapeno yogurt sauce
Hours of Operation: 7AM to 11PM, MON-SUN
44 Dong Du, Ben Nghe Ward, Q.1 HCMC, 0120 721 4294
105-107 Xuan Thuy, Thao Dien Ward, Q.2, 090 900 4294
Just like its name alludes, the burgers here are bursting with so much soul that you may actually be inspired enough to break out some dance moves. Each burger is prepared on a toasted German-style pretzel bun, seriously beefing up the ante of what can be found around the city. The Motown theme has seeped into the decor, through the playlist rotation, and all the way down to the menu with items like “The James Brown” and “The Diana Ross” accompanied by quirky sayings like… this burger is indeed “supreme!” And if the menu isn’t enticing as is, then check out their ‘Burger of the Months’ series! Each month, they roll out a new craft burger available for a limited time only. This September, “The Ravi Shankar” will send your tastebuds on an Indian adventure with a Tikka-masala inspired burger drenched in cucumber yogurt raita and garnished with crispy poppadom.
Noteworthy: The Blues Brothers, 200g house-ground imported beef patty topped with freshly melted blue cheese, crispy thick cut bacon, fresh lettuce, tomato, onion
Hours of Operation: 11AM to 10PM, TUE-SUN
1F, 4 Phan Bội Châu, Q.1, HCMC, 0122 517 1261
What is it about self-named restaurants that make them so darn comforting? Hailing from California, Chuck’s brings the taste of In-N-Out Burger (a famous fast food chain on the American Pacific Coast) straight to Ho Chi Minh City. Start off by choosing between a standard burger or a double standard burger, cheese or no cheese. From there, you can customize your topping selection. But this no-frills burger will convince you that simplicity is key when it comes to a great hamburger. This is an authentic US comfort food experience. And the side order of onion rings is well worth the extra calories.
Noteworthy: The Double Standard Cheeseburger, 2 Australian beef patties, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, special sauce on a toasted bun
Hours of Operation: 10AM to 10PM, MON-SUN
71 Pasteur, Bến Nghé, Q.1, HCMC, 090 211 9530
196 Lê Lai, Bến Thành, Q.1, HCMC, 090 211 9530
20 Đường số 42, Thảo Điền, Quận 2
What’s your favorite burger spot in Ho Chi Minh City? Comment below.