Are these the world’s worst burgers? We think so

From homemade abominations to fast food fiascos, we’ve scoured the world (Internet) to find the worst burgers…

We’re at war with bad burgers. 

As gourmet burger gurus, we believe pairing succulent beef with tasty toppings and the fluffiest home-baked buns is a fine art. 

Consider this list of Sloppy Sallys a PSA – showing what happens when you leave your taste buds in the wrong hands.

Oreo Burger (Indiana State Fair, USA)

Some things will never belong between two buns. Beetroot. Pineapple. And most definitely Oreo chocolate biscuits.

Oreo milkshake? Sure. Vietnamese Oreo banh chung? Yes, they’re real. Oreo burgers, complete with a sweet sugary glaze? Go to hell, Indiana State Fair!

We’ve come around to your bacon pancakes with maple syrup, but this is one sweet/savoury combination too far.

Just because you can, America, it doesn’t mean you should.

Kuro Squid-Ink Burger (Burger King, Japan)

First released by Burger King in Japan in 2014, the Kuro burger was a social media sensation. 

Customers lined up to take photos of their ‘chic’ black burgers. But was helping them look like melted car tires? 

These edgy burgers, complete with black buns, black cheese and black sauce, had been coloured with natural squid ink and bamboo charcoal.

In the US, the Kuro burger was rebranded as the ‘Halloween Whopper’. 

The most troubling element of these jet-black burgers Isn’t that, when the King coloured them, he used every artificial colour in the box. It’s the unexpected effect they had on the human body. 

The end result saw customers leaving green patties in the toilet. 

Cheeseburger in a Can (Mahlzeiten Trekking Co., Switzerland)

If you’re tired grazing on granola, nuts and dried fruit when you’re hiking, you could always try Switzerland’s answer to a fireside meal.

The Mahlzeiten trekking company’s cheeseburger in a can is not only an insult to the art of burgers, but has a disturbingly long 12-month shelf life.

The cooking instructions: Pop one of these hateful pucks into a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes. 

Only a thin metal film now stands between you and your future, worse self. Peel open the lid and get ready to eat what must truly be the world’s worst burger.

McDLT (McDonalds, USA)

Have you ever looked at your burger and wished that one half was hot and the other half was cold? We haven’t, but apparently someone at McDs HQ did, as did a blurry, Paul Simon-looking Jason Alexander. 

Back in 1984, Maccy Ds rolled out one of the most bizarre burger creations ever to reach the grill.

“There was a special heating-cooling machine that we had”, ex-Burger Flipper Ken Forton recalled.

But there was a problem in the Donald’s Factory of Dumb Ideas. The burgers never managed to stay either stone-cold or piping hot. Ken continues, “a lot of locations just used regular heaters, so customers only ever got warm burgers.”

Worse than the lukewarm burger, however, was the packaging. A monstrosity designed to keep the salad cold and the burger hot, the container ended up using enough polystyrene to send Attenburgh into cardiac arrest. 

These bulky, unrecyclable containers were reportedly the cause of the McDLT’s demise in 1998. No burger was hot/cold enough to stop these boxes from ending up in a landfill site. Where they belonged.

Quadruple Bypass Burger (Heart Attack Grill, USA)

Speaking of cardiac arrest, welcome to the table the Las Vegas’ Heart Attack Grill.

This grease feast doesn’t just live up to American stereotypes about unhealthy fast-food. They champion them and turn the dial up to 100.

Their fries and buns are cooked in pure lard. They’ve got hard-to-track-down, extra calorific, Mexican Coca Cola made with cane sugar. Don’t worry smokers, you can order cigarettes too.

The worst part? Customers who weigh over 160kg get to eat for free. Some Heart Attack Grill regulars have actually died of heart attacks. Some even while sitting at the restaurant.

Just one of their signature Quadruple Bypass Burgers clocks in at 9,982 calories. That’s around 1,000 calories over the recommended daily allowance of a 360-kilogram adult leopard seal. That’s right, we did the maths.

 

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From banh mis to Mac Daddys: Vietnam’s tricky burger beginnings

Who planted the first burger flag in Vietnam? What’s the country’s faverout fast food? And who will come out and the real burger kings?

Vietnam, a country of noodle broth, sticky rice, strange fruits and these days, an increasing amount of foreign foods.

But what’s real Vietnamese food, and what’s a burger mash?

With a horrendous history of colonial influence, growing wealth among the masses, and an increasing number of expats driving up the desire of foreign cuisine, the country’s culinary history is changing.

We’re going to explore it the only way we know how: by talking about burgers. 

Fast food’s colonial beginnings

In many ways, the idea of chowing down on western grub is hardly new. If you want to thank someone for today’s eclectic food offerings, you might want to start with the French colonists.

When they weren’t barbarously attacking the locals, charging them to drink their own alcohol, or just being generally terrible, they were introducing new gateway western foods. 

Consider the great burger philosophy question of the ages: is a burger really a burger without bread? Not unless you think wrapping beef in lettuce a burger.

While you can trace bread in Vietnam back to the spread of Christianist in Asia in the 17th century, the banh mi as we know it today wasn’t born until the late 50s. 

It was only then, in Saigon, that Mr. and Mrs. Le made the first Viet sub

These two culinary geniuses shoved a mix of meats, herbs, and veg directly into the bread, instead of eating it all separate like the French. This subsequently invented Vietnam’s favourite fast food takeaway, the banh mi! 

The Colonel heads east

For about 40 years the good people of Vietnam were happy chowing down on pho and banh mi for their meat and carb fix. 

Everything more or less changed, however, with the arrival of a certain bearded Colonel in China in 1987, with Vietnam hot on its heals.

It’s 1997 and the Super Bowl Saigon Trade Center is abuzz with whispers of a new American fast-food chain. Vietnam’s been open to tourism for a whole five years and the country is brimming with American-like optimism. 

Enter in KFC, wildly swinging its doors open to Vietnam, with fried chicken, burgers, air conditioning, kids meals, and silly cartoon mascots.

The trouble was, outside of a quick slap-up meal on the street, the concept of fast food was pretty alien in the country.

For seven years the Colonel struggled to win the hearts and stomachs of the Vietnamese. Everything finally came together in 2006, when KFC finally started turning a profit. This ushered in a new period for western food. 

Enter the golden arches

Chops Vs Fast Food
A Chops burger Vs your average fast food joint

With KFC having already done a lot of the leg work, the mid-noughties seemed prime time for other fast-food chains to enter the scene.

First was Jollibee, a Filipino chicken and burger chain. Then came South Korea’s Lotteria with their saucy Bulgogi and Teriyaki burgers. 

Burger King followed in 2012, and, after ‘years of research’ by the fast-food giant, the golden arches of McDonald’s were erected in Ho Chi Minh City in 2014.

It’s no secret that Big D’s have had their fair share of problems in Vietnam. Their big plans to open up 60 restaurants in the country by 2020 fell short, and only ever managed 23, and a pretty meager four in Hanoi. 

Think that’s bad? Burger King only ever managed 13 in the whole country!

So, why did these burger flippers end up being burger floppers?

It’s not like western food doesn’t work in Asia. With 2,500 McDonalds in China and 2,975 in Japan, it’s safe to say that meat in bread is an international superstar.

Some say it’s the price. Some say that this so-called ‘fast-food’ hardly lives up to its title when compared to your super-speedy bowl of noodles or roadside banh mi.

Fingers have even been pointed at its lack of sharability – people who have obviously never seen point three on our ‘Is it Ok to…?’ guide.

We like to think it’s the bland taste and over-produced ingredients. 

Vietnam’s a country of discerning eaters with a local cuisine full of fresh and flavoursome ingredients. The fast-food giants with their processed and imported food just don’t cut the cheddar (quite literally). 

A brave new world (of burgers)

Chops may be a small fry in the wide world of burgers, but we’re doing something right in Hanoi. We opened up our doors in 2015, ushering in the new era for burgers in Vietnam.

People like to ask what that special sauce that makes Chops stand out from our floppy patty competitors. Top-quality, fresh, locally sourced ingredients, and a bucket full of burger love. That’s it.

With these key ingredients, we’ve opened up three restaurants in the capital city, nearly outnumbering McDonald’s. How many gourmet burger spots get to say that?

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What’s your new favourite Chops burger? (We’ve got 8)

Are you proper messy, a total smasher or the catch or the day? We’ve got eight new burgers that’ll tell you everything you need to know… 

We’ve emerged from the Chops Test Kitchen tired and weary, but with bellies full of delicious nosh. 

Only eight proper tasty burgers passed our rigorous tests, making it onto the brand new 2020 menu. We know. How the hell are you going to choose what to eat?

To make your life a little easier we’ve whipped up a quick guide – just match your personality to the burger all you’ll have your next messy meal lined up!

The Thrifter: Sgt. Pepper Steak

Second-hand markets, Honda Cubs, no music released after 1975. Sound like a bit of you? 

This sandwich is pure John, Paul, George and Ringo.

Paying homage to the quintessential steak with pepper sauce, the Sgt. Pepper Steak has loads of peppered beef striploin steak, plus generous toppings of onion rings, watercress and pepper sauce. 

Best enjoyed with a little help from your friends at Chops.

The Overachiever: The Smash

Do you go through life smashing every obstacle? 

Did you smash that exam? Did you smash that half-marathon? Did you smash your last burger and you’re craving another?

If so, we’ve got just the burger for you! Our cooks take a ball of 100% Aussie wagyu beef and “smash” it straight onto the grill. 

With double patties, double cheese, house pickles, grilled onions and BBQ mayo, you’ll have plenty of fuel for the next smash-fest!

The Organiser: Wee Rocket Snapper

How’s your schedule looking? Is it all beer drinking and lie ins or are you bangin’ out runs at six, munchin’ down granola at seven and organising your workflow at eight?

If you’re the organised type, you’ll love our Wee Rocket Snapper. 

A perfect arrangement of tempura-battered red snapper goujons, topped with lemon, lettuce, special Chops slaw and tomato. In that order. 

Ease up, obsessive planners. Let Chops arrange this one for you.

The Laid Back: Zorba the Greek 

Image may contain: pizza and food

You woke up late again, but it doesn’t matter. You’re the relaxed type and you’re gonna spend the day hangin’ about.

Forget the 1964 film, you don’t define yourself by British/Greek drama-comedies.

Instead, this extra relaxed wrap takes inspiration from the original mellow guys, the Ancient Greeks. Too busy lying around, philosophising and drinking wine to worry about burger buns. 

Sit back and enjoy some lamb and beef kofta, homemade tzatziki and lettuce and tomato, all wrapped up in a soft Chops grilled pitta. Easy.

The Super Polite: Lumberjack’s Snack

Image may contain: food

Are you resistant to freezing cold weather? Do you know, like, a little bit of French? Are you excessively polite, except when people mistake you for an American? 

Well, there’s a good chance you’re from Canada and will love our extra special Lumberjack’s Snack. 

We’ve been nurturing some real, squeaky cheese curds in our kitchen, poutine style. And because we never half-ass anything (full-access exclusively), we’ve made Montreal-style smoked meat as well. 

Pretty special, eh?

The Extravert: New Orleans 

Everyone knows when this burger walks into the room – just like you, you fabulous extrovert. 

The kick-starter to every big night out in Hanoi, The New Orleans burger is a head-turning combo of cajun chicken, smoked bacon, avocado and wasabi lime aioli. 

Remember, every Chops location is Insta-ready, perfect for snaps of you and your beautiful burger!

The Rebel: Young Buffalo (Trẻ Trâu)

Popping wheelies on your Honda Wave, wailing at karaoke, wearing your real designer Abibas jacket. You live life on the edge. 

This is a burger that throws caution to the wind, just like you. 

It’s got chicken tenders, buffalo sauce, American cheese, shredded lettuce and tobacco onions!

You’ve already got three girls on your bike, but there’s plenty of room for a few Young Buffalo burgers. Go on, buy them one each.

The Thunberg: Mr. Bean

Animal lover or planet saver? This one’s for you.

This mashup of beans, tofu and sweet potato will make planet saving as easy as eating a tasty Chops burger!

(Just don’t mention the handsome helpings of delicious homemade cheese sauce).

 

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How do you eat yours? The Chops guide to eating burgers (with examples)

Whether you jump in mouth first, pull it apart with a knife and fork, or flip it and reverse it, everyone’s welcome to get messy with a proper Chops burger…

We don’t care how you eat it. Grab it with both hands, slice it with a knife and fork, or pick it up with oversized, racially insensitive chopsticks

As long as you’re chowing down on a proper messy Chops burger, you’re alright by us!

We’re never satisfied with the ordinary though. That’s why we mixed classic Chops burgers with some new favourites in our spankin’ new menu, and that’s why we’re mixing up our eating techniques in 2020. 

The Upmarket: Knife and fork

Yeah, we like to call our burgers ‘proper’, but fine dining cutlery isn’t exactly what we mean! 

Still, anything goes down at your local burger joint, even caviar toppings and Champagne pairings.

The Perfectly Fine in Context: Chopsticks

It took a lot of research to make sure this wasn’t a racist stereotype. 

We’re here to confirm that yes, eating with chopsticks is a perfectly acceptable way to smash a Chops burger. 

You do you! 

The Picker: Disassembled

Ever seen anyone pick the cheese off a pizza, eat the cheese, then the base?

What about eating the burger from the bun, then the toppings, then the bun?

Be warned: these people walk among us. 

The Nonconformist: Upside-down

Science says: acceptable!

Why not let that tasty topping be the first part that hits your tongue? 

Get that endorphin-releasing cheese early? Makes sense.

The Classic: Hand to mouth

You know the Classic, pick it up with two hands, shove it in your grill. 

But do you take the burger to your mouth, or do you hold the burger in place and bob towards it? Honestly, at Chops we’ve seen both.

📖 READ MORE:

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Cheesy, impossible and… robotic? Burger trends for 2020

Our favourite sandwich has gone from a processed fast food meal to a gourmet feast with top notch ingredients and beer pairings. But what’s next for the burger?

It’s been a busy decade for the burger world.

There’s been farm-to-table meat and cheese, rice buns, ramen buns, brioche buns, bleeding vegan burgers, and every combo of tasty toppings and fillings you can imagine.

But what’s next? At Chops R&D, we think the following trends will grow bigger in 2020 and beyond.

We’re always testing new ideas (check the Schm-ooooze, below) so don’t forget to swing by and check our specials boards. 

It can’t be? 

What do vegans really want? Bleeding, fake-meat burgers, apparently.

The ‘Impossible Burger’ was a sensation in 2019, even making it onto the menu at Burger King. There’s now a burger for everyone:

But what about the undecided? The vege-curious?

The James Beard Foundation, a food research company, has been running a competition for ‘blended burgers’ – somewhere between a vegan burger and a good ol’ fashioned beef one. The best they could come up with is reported to be 25% mushroom and 75% meat. 

You’re the man now, soy

Not every vegetarian wants to eat something that looks like it’s bleeding, of course.

The classic, low-tech veggie burger has a history and we’ve come a long way from the sad, frozen carrots and sweetcorn patties of old.

The soy burger surely remains as the veggie burger of choice. Try our moreish ‘Mr. Bean’ bean burger with tofu and sweet potato. 

We expect to see even more unlikely things packed into a bun this year. Chefs across the world are experimenting with mung beans, hemp seed, avocado, and (whisper it) beetroot. 

We’re taking an official stance against beetroot in burgers. 

Pretty boy baps

Did we mean for our burgers to look so dep? Not really!

But that’s what happened when we put the best and freshest ingredients into our homemade buns. 

Expect to see even more instagramable burgers from restaurants worldwide this year. So far we’ve seen the likes of black squid ink buns, candy floss dessert burgers and burgers topped with caviar and gold leaf.

No fun burgers

The Keto Diet: a low-carb diet where you can still eat all the fat you like.

What does that mean for burgers? Fries and buns out, meat and cheese in. 

Keto fans claim that this diet will put your body into a state of ‘Ketosis’, where fat provides all the energy your body needs.

We’ve been watching the customers at Chops closely to see the results after our tasty burgers, and have also noticed some physical changes: buttons undone, slouched, with heavy eyelids – we call it ‘the post-Chops glow’.

If you were wondering how to eat a burger with no bun, American burger chain Shake Shack has the answer. They’re officially launching a ‘Keto burger’ this year, which is a patty wrapped in lettuce. 

We’re still not sure about that one.

Robots at McD’s

Just when you thought the world in 2019 couldn’t get any worse, robot cooks were deployed to flip burgers and cook fries. 

And this year we predict we’ll see the next stage of the post-apocalyptic burger world. Humans won’t be taking your orders for much longer: McDonald’s is due to launch its patented ‘Apprente’ voice command ordering system at the drive-through.

Doesn’t feel very craft, that?

Cheese Mania

Why wait for your burger cheese to melt? Giant wheels of gooey raclette cheese and burgers dunked into cheese sauce tempted the world last year. 

Here in Vietnam, you could only watch and drool, fantasising of cheese-soaked burgers.

Until now:

Come get your cheese fix with the ooziest, gooiest burger Hanoi has ever seen. The mighty Schm-ooooze. With this not-so-humble burger, Chops is upping its cheese game in 2020. 

Cheese-starved citizens of Hanoi: Rejoice!

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Proud moment alert: Our very own craft beer, Chops Hops Pale Ale

We were the first to bring Pasteur Street craft beer to Hanoi and now we’re excited to announce our very own tipple…

By Richie Bardsley

We laid down the ultimate challenge to our good friends at Pasteur Street Brewery back in the summer: create a craft beer that would capture the Chops DNA while most importantly being the perfect foil to our prized burgers.

Being Pasteur Street, pioneers in the Vietnam craft beer scene, they didn’t disappoint.

Trade Brewmaster Andrew Brunson savoured the challenge and has conjured up magic in a glass with our new Chops Hops Pale Ale. 

At its core, it’s an amazingly dank pale ale. Light bodied and effervescent, it features a mix of New Zealand and classic American dry hops taken to the next level. 

Brunson’s naturally proud of his brewing alchemy. 

“In addition to the bold flavours and aromas from a generous dry hop, we also added basil and bay leaf to round out the resinous and citrusy hop profile into a highly refreshing pale ale,” he says.

If that isn’t enough tingling anticipation, remember, it’s served best with one of our proper burgers. Available at our three restaurants, Chops Hops Pale Ale is served fresh from the keg – be sure to ask our staff for pairing inspiration. 

Chops Operations Manager Greg Clarke is clearly ecstatic about the pair-up.

“Chops is very close to Pasteur Street and we were the first restaurant distributing their beer in Hanoi,” he says.

“We share the same core values, which are to use the best and freshest ingredients.”

A Dream Realised! 

“Chops Hops Pale Ale is a flavour dream realised,” says Cassie R Cullins, Pasteur Street’s regional sales representative for Northern Vietnam.

“A Pasteur Street x Chops collaboration is arguably long overdue… we’ve seen both brands grow and raise their burgers and beer game and there’s ample opportunity to grow and meet the vociferous desire to quench thirst and hunger!”

I agree. And personally I can’t think of a prouder moment for us. 

Chops has long served a variety of Vietnam’s best craft beers since we opened in 2015 and nothing can top this feeling of excitement as we launch our very own brew.

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Introducing: the spanking new brunch menu at Chops

Here at Chops we serve up the biggest, messiest gourmet burgers in town, satisfying Hanoi’s cravings at lunch and dinner. As for the best brunch options in town, we’ve got some news… 

Drag yourself out of bed, sling a t-shirt on, and comfort your stomach grumbles with a proper brunch with us.

Take your pick from some old favourites – like our Full Shebang English Breakfast and Fat French toasted brioche – or a future classic like our huge Smashed Avocado toast or California’s infamous Eggslut sandwich.

We know that brunch, that magical mid-morning meal – saviour of the hungover, late-risers, or just those looking for an excuse to eat a fourth meal in one day –  is way more than an excuse for day drinking and gluttony.

Our new menu features loads of classics from brunch-past to brunch-present.

Come try them all, available at our West Lake, Old Quarter and Ngoc Khanh restaurants.

Gaucho 

Chops brioche bun, grilled sirloin, silky scrambled eggs, grilled tomato, roasted garlic aioli & rocket

Digest the spirit of South America with this breakfast bun inspired by the great Gaucho: the outlaw, steak-eating horsemen of Argentinian folklore. 

Juan Manuel de Rosas was the most famous rider of all: known for throwing his hat ahead of his horse, and then picking it up off the ground, all without putting his hands on the saddle.

We can’t guarantee that eating our Gaucho Brunch Bun (packed with grilled sirloin steak, eggs, tomato, garlic aioli and rocket) will grant you these kinds of talents and we certainly don’t recommend throwing it off a horse, or your motorbike.

But we do think it’s pretty darned delicious. 

Smoked Salmon

Chops brioche bun, Loch Fyne smoked salmon, silky scrambled eggs, cream cheese & chives, crispy capers & watercress

The story of smoked salmon is one of rags-to-riches: first created by Jewish peasants in Russia and Eastern Europe as a way to preserve food for the winter (how they made it through the year with eating through all of their supplies, we don’t know), smoked salmon migrated West and became the favourite luxury brunch nibble of London and New York’s upper crust.

Feel free to eat our Smoked Salmon Brunch Bun like a member of polite society, or ravish it like a hungry peasant and get cream cheese, chives, and real Scottish Loch Fyne salmon all over yourself.

No judgement here.

Gringo 

Chops brioche bun, house chorizo, fried egg, cheddar cheese, sriracha mayo & rocket

Chorizo is no ordinary sausage.

King Charles IV was offered one of these delights by a lowly sausage maker, Jose Rico, in 1788. The king loved his spicy snack so much that a new job position was created: ‘The Royal Chorizo Provider’.

Humble Rico went on to be remembered forever in grand paintings and tapestries. Vila de Cruces, a small Spanish town, hosts the ‘Exaltation of the Sausage’ – a grand celebration of the chorizo, where punters eat as much as they can handle.

Come worship our Gringo Brunch Bun: Homemade chorizo, fried egg, cheddar cheese, sriracha mayo and rocket. Paintings and tapestries optional. 

The Eggslut

Chops brioche bun, silky scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, sriracha mayo, caramelised onions & rocket

Move over McMuffin – the Eggslut sandwich is the new king of American breakfast.

First dreamed up by Los Angeles chef Alvin Cailan in 2011, this sultry, yolk-soaked sarnie is much more than just a good-looking Instagram sensation.

These babies look and taste even better in real life. Spend your morning after with some silky scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, real sriracha mayo, caramelised onion and rocket, all stuffed into a brioche bun.

Chops are slinging the raunchiest Eggsluts this side of LA.  Sound good? Cheat on the granola with this one – we won’t tell anyone.

Nice Bit of Crumpet

Toasted English crumpets, homemade jam & butter (Chef’s marmite/vegemite stash available upon request)

Spotters guide to the ladies of Britain: 

The English Rose– Beautiful and refined but they know it. Run over pheasants in a Land Rover on Sundays. 

The Well Fit – Hard to get to know and a little intimidating, but will fight absolutely anyone in the pub to defend your honour. 

The Nice Bit of Crumpet – Easygoing. Happy to lie in, drink tea and watch Netflix. 

There is a different kind of lovely crumpet for sale at Chops, and one you’ll also want to spend a long Sunday morning after next to – soft breakfast pancakes pocked with little holes to soak up your choice of homemade jam or butter and marmite.

Phwoar.

Coddled Egg

Free-range egg, creamy mash, chives & grilled sourdough toast

These eggs aren’t fried, scrambled, or poached – they’re nested safely inside a buttered porcelain ‘coddler’ and cooked gently to soft, runny perfection.

Until now these softest and creamiest of eggs were a forgotten art from the 19th century, remembered only on websites like Egg-Coddler.com where obsessive egg-nerds traded vintage equipment and shared recipes.

The secret is out now, boys – and we’ve given ours the Chops treatment with chives, creamy mash and sourdough toast to clean up with.

Cosy up next to some of these and then spread the word about Chops’ new brunch menu. 

READ MORE’S NEEDED HERE: 

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WHY CHOPS VIETNAM USES WAGYU BEEF FOR ITS PROPER BURGERS

IS IT OK TO…? THE CHOPS GUIDE TO GETTING PROPER MESSY

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VEGETARIAN: SHORT-TERM TREND OR A SUSTAINABLE WAY OF LIVING FOR YOUNG VIETNAMESE?

Vegetarians in Vietnam: short-term trend or long-term lifestyle?

Meat dodging has never been more popular but does this lifestyle have legs in Vietnam?

Going vegetarian doesn’t have to mean a dull night out for the taste buds – modern culinary genius has made going meatless easier than ever.

*Opt for The Fresh Prince or Mr. Bean burgers next time you’re at Chops and you’ll see what we mean!*

Vegetarianism may be kicking off globally, and Vietnam’s been dipping its toe in the waters for quite some time, but will we ever see a true veggie boom here? 

Where it all began in Vietnam

Buddhism hit the streets in Vietnam in the third century BC and it still holds its spot as the top religion all these years later.

But that doesn’t mean Vietnam’s a fruit and veg fest just yet.

What’s surprising about the Vietnamese tendencies towards vegetarian diets is that it never found a way of sticking. 

Nguoi Lao Dong Newspaper reports that only 10% of Vietnam’s population regularly eats vegetarian meals.

It’s almost double that figure in Europe!

Ho Van Trang, former manager at ELLE Vietnam and full time animal lover says that vegetarianism has been more and more popular among young people in Vietnam.

“I don’t think there are many obstacles for people who really want to stick to this lifestyle because there are so many options these days,” she says. 

Meeting your meat

Student and long term vegetarian Ngoc Mai tells us that her moment of epiphany came when she saw her dad ‘catch a duck and turn it into lunch’.

While plastic packaging may hide the gory truth of meaty grub in western supermarkets, in Vietnam dinner tends to be a bit more on the doorstep. It’s not uncommon to meet your next meal clucking around outside of the bia hoi when you pull up.

A growing love for dogs, like the corgi, seems to have swept the nation too. Local dogs still find themselves nabbed from the streets and thrown on the barbie but the government has proclaimed the closure of Hanoi’s 1,000 dog meat restaurants by 2021.

Animals Asia say that rather than being a ‘cultural issue’ it’s just pretty cruel – ‘from transporting, confining to slaughtering them’.

They also point out that it’s ‘almost impossible’ to distinguish a dog raised in a farm for meat from those stolen from a family.

Leaf the kids alone

For years the global vegan and vegetarian revolution has been led by the kids.

One report says that 30% of British shoppers aged 18-24 are vegan or vegetarian, and according to Plant Based News students are ‘six times more likely to be vegan or vegetarian than their parents’.

So if anyone can give vegetarianism legs in Vietnam, it will be the young people. But it’s never easy to pick up a whole new diet or cut out life long favourites. 

Fortunately, pseudo-meat is a thing in Vietnam. You can find it all over in vegetarian restaurants and shops selling religious goods – it could be a sneaky way to wean yourself off the meaty tastes you crave. 

But if you don’t like the sound of fake meat either, websites such as Minimalist Baker or the Viet Vegan serve endless tasty recipes that don’t pretend to be something they’re not. 

And what about chomping down with your mates in somewhere like Chops? People get worried. They think that society will shun them. Fear not, it’s 2020: society’s got your back and more chefs are becoming increasingly aware of veggie trends.

We’ve got you covered and have been whipping up new and imaginative dishes. Next time you’re at Chops — vegetarian or not — opt for The Fresh Prince or Mr. Bean burgers.

All plants, but as you can see: still proper! 

📖 READ MORE:

PROUD MOMENT ALERT: OUR VERY OWN CRAFT BEER, CHOPS HOPS PALE ALE

INTRODUCING: THE SPANKING NEW BRUNCH MENU AT CHOPS

AROUND THE WORLD IN 8 BANGIN’ BURGERS 

IS IT OK TO…? THE CHOPS GUIDE TO GETTING PROPER MESSY

EXPLORE HANOI’S BEST STREET FOOD WITH CHOPS, DURTY BIRD AND THE FAT PIG

Chops R&D: crafting Hanoi’s proper burger experience

We’re having a whole heap of fun working on new burger specials and menu tweaks for 2020 that will keep Chops at the top of its game, says Richie Bardsley… 

We’ve just whacked up a whopping great kitchen in Hanoi’s West Lake and we’re really making the most of it. 

For us, the central kitchen means having everything in one place and keeping that Chops consistency – you know what you’re getting when you order a Chops burger, and that’s how we want to keep it.  

The new kitchen also means we can get messy experimenting on the daily. For you this means lots of exciting menu tweaks and specials in 2020. 

We import our lamb and wagyu beef from Australia but everything else on the Chops menu is sourced locally – once we have our hands on the goods, we run everything through Chops HQ, cook up a storm, taste it, tweak it and try again. 

Once we’re happy, our new items make it into our city-wide restaurants. Here’s some new noteworthy outputs from Chops R&D that you can find at our West Lake, Old Quarter or Ngoc Khanh burger joints.

1. Getting in a pickle

Our gherkin. What a hero addition to the Chops burger! 

Many a late night’s been spent at local markets asking for mot tram kilo dua chuot’, or 100kg of cucumbers, for our huge jars of homemade pickles. 

We’ve tweaked a few batches that are unlike any you’ll find in Hanoi – sour, satly, bitter, crunchy and ever so slightly fruity. Above all, they’re fresh, local and full of flavour. 

Look out for our gherkins in the latest addition to the snack menu: homemade garlic dill pickles…

2. Raising our bread game 

Same goes for our big fresh buns. 

We’ve always made them in house – twice daily! – but we’ve taken our bread game up a notch with the arrival of our central kitchen. 

Hopefully you’ll notice the new and improved Chops bun next time you stop by, and our crispy, flavoursome sourdough, too – try it with our silky scrambled eggs for breakfast. 

Fancy a bit of crumpet in the morning? We’ve even added those to the new brunch menu!

3. The Schmooze 

Something as naughty as this is a result of Chops’ vision to get you as messy as possible

This is a classic BBQ bacon cheeseburger that you smother with indulgent cheese sauce to keep things exciting.

It’s a special for now so get your Schmooze on while it’s still available.

4. Zorba The Greek

Image may contain: pizza and food

In something none of us saw coming, we’ve turned the freshest imported meats and local ingredients into a perfectly spiced lamb and beef souvlaki with tzatziki, lettuce and tomato, all rolled into a totally tearable Chops grilled pita, which is also fresh out of Chops R&D’s bread dept.  

5. Chops Hops 

We love a good collaboration at Chops.

In 2019 we challenged our good friends at Pasteur Street Brewery.

We asked them to create a craft beer that would compliment our menu, which since the start in 2015 has been all about pairing proper burgers with awesome beers.

What Pasteur Street came up with doesn’t disappoint. 

Chops Hops Pale Ale is light bodied and effervescent, featuring a mix of New Zealand and classic American dry hops – the perfect partner to any one of our proper burgers.

Come and cheers with us in 2020! 

Stay tuned for more Chops R&D stories coming soon and don’t forget to read:

CRAFT IN HANOI: FROM BIA TO BEER

AROUND THE WORLD IN 8 BANGIN’ BURGERS 

WHY CHOPS VIETNAM USES WAGYU BEEF FOR ITS PROPER BURGERS

IS IT OK TO…? THE CHOPS GUIDE TO GETTING PROPER MESSY

EXPLORE HANOI’S BEST STREET FOOD WITH CHOPS, DURTY BIRD AND THE FAT PIG

Explore Hanoi’s best street food with Chops, Durty Bird and The Fat Pig

Check out our head chef’s favourite places to grab some grub and earn yourself some free craft beer while you’re at it…

Forget about your go-to street food spots! The team at Chops, Durty Bird and The Fat Pig have got a new list of places to steal your heart and hunger pains. 

Give our whistle-stop tour of our favourite street eats a go by picking up a copy of the Caledonia passport in the Old Quarter Chops or Durty Bird on Hang Hanh. 

 

Inside, there’s a handy map pin-pointing our favourite places to munch on noodles with goose (bun ngan), the famous bun cha, pho but with a twist (pho bo sot vang), beef noodle salad from the south (bun bo nam bo) and sticky rice (xoi ga). 

But the fun doesn’t stop at exploring these legendary Vietnamese street food joints.

If you nab yourself a stamp from each of our restaurants — Chops, Durty Bird or The Fat Pig — you’ll get a free craft beer on us!

 

That’s one beer/one stamp offer – with three free beers available in total!

🍺 Fancy a Bird Brew? On us.

🍺 Pasteur Street? On us.

🍺 7 Bridges. On. Us.

All you’ve got to do is take your passport to participating restaurants (Chops Old Quarter, Durty Bird or The Fat Pig) to claim your stamp, and you’re winning.

So what are you waiting for? Grab yours and hit the streets with the Caledonia food passport to Hanoi’s Old Quarter. 

READ MORE’S NEEDED HERE: 

PAIRING MORE BURGERS AND BANGIN’ BEERS

CRAFT IN HANOI: FROM BIA TO BEER

AROUND THE WORLD IN 8 BANGIN’ BURGERS 

WHY CHOPS VIETNAM USES WAGYU BEEF FOR ITS PROPER BURGERS

IS IT OK TO…? THE CHOPS GUIDE TO GETTING PROPER MESSY

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