Succulent Hamburgers With an Asian Twist

Rhong-Tiam's Supreme Burger Truck hits the streets
BY Nadia Ghattas TIMEJune 4, 2013 PRINT

New York’s vast hamburger landscape has a new addition. One with an Asian twist: Rhong-Tiam’s Supreme Burger Truck by Michelin-rated chef Andy Yang.

I normally avoid street vendors, but this one serves some of the best hamburgers in the city.

Before 3 p.m. you can find the truck at the corner of 21st Street and 5th Avenue, just a few blocks northwest of Union Square and two minutes’ walk from Yang’s Flatiron small restaurant at 31 East 21st Street.

Yang is known for his Thai restaurants, so I asked, “Why hamburgers?”

His response was enthusiastic: “I love hamburgers. I always eat hamburgers, but they need more flavor and better quality ingredients.”

“I pick my own meats from the same purveyors who supply steak houses like Smith & Wollensky and Peter Luger,” he said.

Yang said his burgers are adapted to his Thai cooking style and can be prepared very well on a truck.

So he lends his passion to creating an array of tempting hamburgers (11 varieties) with distinctive flavors and textures.

Almost all the burgers are inspired by Asian flavors. All ingredients are organic and fresh. The burgers are made with USDA prime Angus beef, free of hormones and antibiotics.

Looking at the menu, I thought, “It’s so many choices for a truck,” but the service is precise and efficient.

You can choose The Basic ($8), or delve into any of the unusual ($10), such as Spicy Tuna Sauce with cucumber, tobiko, avocado, wasabi aioli, and seaweed; Eel Sauce with Thai tamago, seaweed, avocado, tomato, and wasabi aioli; or Korean BBQ with kimchi, pickled daikon, hijiki, and Thai tamago.

The truck also offers a Peking Duck burger ($14) served with cucumber, scallions, peanut, tamarind jam, sriracha aioli; and a Five Spicy Pork Belly burger ($14) served with pickled mustard, boiled egg, scallion, cucumber, lettuce, and tomatoes.

Yang has his own version of fish ‘n’ chips ($15) with wild salmon and kaffir lime.

I chose The Yang ($10) with caramelized mushrooms and onion, basil, chili, and sriracha. The meat was cooked the way I ordered it—crispy on the outside and cooked to medium on the inside.

The moment my teeth dug into the burger, I could understand what Yang meant about needing flavor and quality.

I felt it was juicy, tender, and flavorful, with so many layers. A blend of sweet with a gentle heat. Well-balanced and none of the ingredients overpowering the others.

I was tempted to have the Mafia-style French fries, The Mob, with parmesan cheese, but thought it would be more exciting to go for the Asian Invasion ($4) with five spices. The fries are hand-cut and double-fried, making them crispy and smooth at the same time.

The menu offers many other interesting goodies and choices. From the quick bite section, there is the Satay Dog ($5), Pecking Duck Roll ($7), and the crispy and light Vegetarian Spring Roll ($6), which I thought was one of the best I have had.

There is a salad and soup section ($6–$7), and also a nice selection of deconstructed desserts, including a Coconut Mango Sticky Rice Pudding ($5) and a Lemon Meringue Pie ($5).

The hot and humid day helped persuade me to try the Green Tea Strawberry Shake, prepared Asian style (not too sweet). Being a chocolate person, I also felt tempted to try the Nutella shake and the Salted Caramel Vanilla shake ($6).

Rhong-Tiam is the first of three trucks chef Yang is rolling out. Each truck will feature different culinary themes and will cruise New York City’s streets very soon.

You can locate Rhong-Tiam by checking its Twitter updates @RhongTiam. Free delivery is also available by contacting or calling 401-287-4379.

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