Visiting Rhong-Tiam: “This Is One Of The Best Burgers We’ve Had”

(credit: NYSF)
(credit: NYSF)

Last week when we were in L.A., the Rhong-Tiam Supreme Burger Truck hit the street. Roberto B, a NYSF reader and avid foodie, agreed to check out the truck for us, and sent in this very descriptive Guest Post. Thanks Roberto. Now that we’re back in town, we had to check Rhong-Tiam our ourself.

Heading down to the Flatiron District yesterday, there was a short-lived threat of rain around lunchtime, and it was pretty quiet at the truck. That sucked for the truck, but did give us a chance to talk to the owner and chef Andy Yang.

Andy told us a bit about the food, as well as his plans for world domination. Just kidding about the world domination, but you’ll be seeing much more in the way of Rhong-Tiam trucks and carts very soon, with a variety of menus. We’ll tell you more about that later.

Everything on the menu looked interesting, so we decided to get the first thing on the list, General Tso’s Burger for $10.

After Roberto raved about the fries, we definitely wanted to check out an order, and there are 3 types. We got the Asian Invasion Fries for $4.

(credit: NYSF)
(credit: NYSF)

The idea of pairing up Korean food with Mexican dishes has been pretty well exhausted at this point, but we haven’t seen anything like the combinations at Rhong-Tiam, which pair mostly Asian toppings and spices with burgers.

Top of the list was General Tso’s Burger. Who would have thought that General’s Tso’s sauce and broccoli would go so well on a cheeseburger, but it did.

Sweet chili sauce tasted great with the big beef patty and melted American cheese. A few broccoli florets fell out as we ate the burger, but the ones that stayed on the roll added a nice crunch. Broccoli on a burger? Hell yeah!

Even though the toppings were interesting, IMHO the star of the show was the burger.

Everyone who serves burgers talks about how their beef is grass-fed, organic, angus, wagyu or kobe, antibiotic-free, USDA prime, blah, blah, blah. We’re getting a little sick of all these descriptions. What we want to know is how does it taste?

This was one of the best tasting burgers we’ve had in a long time. We asked for medium, and it came out pink in the middle and dripping with juices. (Insert your own joke here. We’re not going there.) The taste of the burger was of high-quality beef.

(credit: NYSF)
(credit: NYSF)

Even with all these funky toppings, this was unmistakeably a burger through and through. It was just an Asian burger instead of an American one.

Roberto was right, the fries were very good too, and Chef Andy told us his secret – a cooler. No, not Bill Macy, but an actual device that cools the fries when they first come out of the deep fryer. This stops the inside from continuing to cook.

After cooling, the fries are plunged into oil a second time, giving them a crispy, well-done exterior, and a soft, steamy interior.

As we said, there are 3 types of fries, and the Asian Invasion Fries were seasoned with a 5-spice powder. Not a 5-spice powder, but the components. There are many variations of 5-spice powder, and this one included star anise, salt, pepper, sugar, and possibly cinnamon or cloves. Tasty!

The Rhong Tiam Supreme Burger Truck has been parking by 5th Ave & 21st St, near their restaurant. You can find out exactly where on twitter here or on our  Mobile Munchies twitter feed.

As for world domination, Chef Andy told us to expect the return of the Rhong-Tiam Pad Thai Cart to Manhattan on May 29th. We made a quick visit to the cart last summer before it decamped to Williamsburg. Now it’s coming back to Manhattan. There probably wasn’t much of a market for $30 Maine Lobster Pad Thai or $25 Alaskan Blue Crab Pad Thai in Williamsburg. We’re not so sure there’s a market in Flatiron either, but there’s a better chance than Williamsburg.

You can also expect a Satay Dog cart in Union Square soon. This is grilled chicken satay served on a hot dog bun that looked delicious. It’s currently served on the Supreme Burger Truck, and is definitely next on our list.

After that, he expects to have a food truck that recreates the Rhong-Tiam restaurant menu.

Whew, we’re getting tired just talking about all his plans! But Chef Andy seems up for the job.

(credit: NYSF)
(credit: NYSF)