Ho Chi Minh City is home to a fantastic international food scene, and naturally, this includes a number of great burger joints. As well as the standard fare, some restaurants have chosen to put their own Southeast Asian spin on the beloved classic. Either way, there’s plenty of choice in the city; here’s a definitive list of the best burgers to chow down on while you’re in Ho Chi Minh City.
Relish & Sons
Restaurant, Vietnamese, Fusion, American, $$$
Courtesy of Relish & Sons
Relish & Sons have been serving up mouthwatering gourmet burgers since 2014 using high-quality ingredients and grass-fed Australian beef. All of Relish’s burgers are pretty great but it’s their quirkier creations that really help them to stand out from the crowd. The Claw, for example, is a rather unconventional seafood burger made with soft shell crab and served on a black squid ink bun. It shouldn’t work, but it does. For vegetarians, the Herbivore burger with avocado, feta cheese and jalapeño yogurt packs a real flavour punch. There are also some indulgent milkshakes on offer should you feel the need to follow up your meal with a sweet treat.
It’s nothing but deep-fried goodness at this classic American bar. From the Dirty Martin – which features an entire block of fried cheese – to the cheesy bacon ball-filled Chicken Shagwich, everything on the menu is an unabashed, overly indulgent calorie-fest. There’s also an excellent vegetarian burger for the herbivores at the table and spice-lovers should attempt the flaming chicken burger (be warned, you’ll need something to wash it down with). Fortunately, there’s a selection of craft beers on offer, as well as some rock-n-roll tunes in the background to drown out your whimpers.
Bia Craft has long been a popular choice for a juicy burger and an ice-cold craft beer, but the introduction of their now-beloved Beyond Burger is what really put them on the foodie map. It’s the perfect choice, as struggling vegetarians and even proud meat eaters would be hard-pressed to tell the difference. There are six Bia Craft locations around the city although the open-air Thao Dien food truck is easily the best of the bunch.
Quan Ut Ut is a drunken business idea that really worked out. Tim Scott and Mark Gustafson met at a mutual friend’s barbecue back in Chicago and before long they were bonding over their love of grilled meats and planning to open a restaurant in Vietnam. Lo and behold, Quan Ut Ut was launched a few months later. It was an instant success and soon, they had to expand. It’s an American barbecue restaurant and serves more than just burgers, but there’s no denying how good their sandwiches are. The Pigs Will Fly burger, made with shredded pork, pink coleslaw and crispy bacon, is a particular standout, but you can’t go wrong with their Classic American either.
This vegan restaurant proves that going plant-based doesn’t mean you have to compromise on taste. Saigon isn’t a particularly vegan-friendly city, so this spot is a real standout. There are five burgers on offer, all of which are served with fries and garlic mayonnaise (vegan, of course.) For an extra 10,000 Vietnamese dong (£0.34), you can add melted cashew cheese on top. Not only is Filthy Vegan cruelty-free, it also aims to be zero waste. There’s no single-use plastic in sight and all takeaway packaging is biodegradable. It’s one of the cheapest Western-style vegan restaurants in the city and better yet, 10 percent of profits go to a local vegan charity. Filthy Vegan might just have done the impossible and created a truly guilt-free burger.
This gourmet burger joint feels a lot like a Parisian café, but don’t let that fool you. Nestled along a busy street in District 1, it’s without a doubt one of Saigon’s most popular places to grab a burger – it’s probably best to make a reservation. True to its name, only the finest ingredients will do at Marcel Gourmet Burger. Made with Australian beef, raclette cheese, brioche buns and fine-tuned signature sauces, Marcel’s burgers are second to none. As for the sides, you can’t go wrong with the fantastic bacon fries, and the Macaroni Gratin is an intriguing – and delicious – French twist on an American classic.
Soul Burger has style, substance and, well… soul. This Saigon favourite was founded by chef Gabe Boyer, whose grandfather owned a burger joint back in Chicago. Each burger is named after a ’70s soul legend – fancy a James Brown burger, anyone? The restaurant itself has a stylish yet casual feel, but the food is pure gourmet. Soul’s carefully crafted burgers can satisfy even the most intense hunger pangs. Each patty is brushed with smoked butter before grilling, then served in a thick, fresh pretzel bun. For vegetarians, there’s the Jackson 5 lentil burger and those who simply can’t make up their mind should opt for the Earth, Wind and Fire trio of sliders.
The Elbow Room is a beloved brunch spot thanks to its fluffy pancakes and delicious, artery-clogging milkshakes but it also offers a mean burger. It’s all about satisfying, no-frills comfort food in this American-style bistro and its towering Western Bacon Cheeseburger delivers precisely that. Meanwhile, the signature burger, which comes with chili con carne heaped generously, is certainly a force to be reckoned with.