Chef Thai Phi Makes the Phô Mai Burger | Video

Pink Bellies' Pho Mai Burger

Thai Phi was born in a refugee camp in Thailand to Vietnamese parents. His family eventually immigrated to the United States where Phi passed his time between San Francisco and Sumter, South Carolina. After graduating from the College of Charleston with a master’s in business administration, he opened the Pink Bellies food truck which went through a couple iterations before settling into its brick-and-mortar space in the heart of downtown Charleston.

Phi applies his East Asian roots to his Americanized cuisine, especially in the restaurant’s acclaimed phô mai burger. Named after the Vietnamese pronunciation of “fromage” during the time of French colonization, this play on the classic cheeseburger gives you just a taste of the fun-loving chef’s style and personality. The double-stacked, juicy burger is topped with sweet and salty bread-and-butter pickles, savory onion jam, homemade yum yum sauce, and gently cured jalapeños that melt into the American cheese. The final touch is a perfectly fried egg, with a flaky crust on the bottom and runny yolk on the top, that gets sliced open at the very end to send a river of yolk over the entire ridiculously tall burger before being topped off with a toasted brioche bun. 

“A burger should always be just a little bit messy, you know, super fun.” – Thai Phi 

Video by: Jonathan Boncek

Edits by: Jack McAlister

Production by: Maggie Ward

Location: Charleston Wine + Food

  • Recipe By
    Thai Phi of Pink Bellies in Charleston
  • Contributing City
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