Fish sauce. That's the secret ingredient to making the best burger your mouth has ever tasted.
The mention of fish sauce doesn't normally go over well with less experimental eaters from places other than Vietnam or Thailand. But if you want to taste what will surely be the best burger of your life, it's time to put aside preconceived notions of this pungent ingredient and give it a shot. There's a reason many Asian countries are so obsessed with this sauce.
Fish sauce is basically just fish fermented with sea salt. The process is a smelly one, but it produces something greater than the sum of its parts. If sampled straight up, fish sauce would taste a lot like what it sounds like -- kind of funky. But when added to marinades, sauces and condiments, it makes everything it touches intensify into the most delicious flavor bomb ever.
Despite the obvious fear, fish sauce will not produce a fishy-tasting burger -- we promise. When allowed to marinade ground beef before it's grilled into a burger, fish sauce will heighten the umami factor, giving the meat a depth of flavor that's unattainable any other way.
Head on over to the food blog White On Rice Couple for their umami fish sauce burger recipe. They'll walk you through the process of marinating and give you a couple of pep talks along the way. It'll be the best thing you do all decade.