Words: Shamim de Brún
Images: George Voronov
A miso butter burger sounds slightly off the wall when you think it through. How did we get to a place where these two ancient foods from opposite ends of the world merged into the most widely eaten American culinary creation – the burger?
Miso has been a culinary mainstay in Asian cultures since ancient times. The practice is believed to have originated in China, where fermented soybeans are known as Jiang. In the 700s, this spread across Asia. From there, immigrants brought miso-making to the broader world in the early 20th century.
The macrobiotic food movement gave miso its first push into white people’s consciousness. Mainly in America, according to John Belleme, contributing author of The Miso Book. Then Somewhere in the evolution of Fine Dining, it became a secret weapon. Included to heighten and expand flavour in dishes you wouldn’t traditionally associate with the fermented bean paste. Dishes like butter.
The OG miso butter has been a fine dining mystery for the ages but from its inception. It is a culinary fusion that will be indulged in for generations. Merging the secret to Irish cooking and Asia’s secret weapon created a food that brings an amount of flavour and texture that’s almost unquantifiable. But we know it tastes damn well good.
Barry from Dash Burger was so mindblown by it after dinner at Allta that the inspiration for the Miso Burger was almost instantaneous. Miso works magic with beef because its most significant strength is lending deep umami flavour to dishes. Natural beef, the kind you find in Dash’s smashes, is also laced with natural umami.
So when you combine the two, the umami goes from a background player to a front and centre star. Its performance is as subtle as an Oscan contender’s. Because the thing about umami is it’s gentle and as moreish as a taste can be. Now add a little Irish butter to that, and you have the dream texture adding just enough salt, fat and heat to a perfect handful of a meal.
Ireland’s culinary world has exploded. As a result, we have more international recognition than ever. Despite the rising cost of living; we are supporting the birth and growth of our own small independent businesses at a rate that would have been unfathomable to any adult in the 80s.
Allta has been heralded as one of Ireland’s most progressive, forward-thinking restaurants. From its sell-out pop-up in Slane to its innovative take-over of Trinity car park via its seasonally diverse menu, it has been lauded both in whispers and from the rafters.
But it is expensive. While the Glove Box snack menu has made the culinary feats of Allta more accessible to the budget-conscious food experience hunter, it’s still not what one can describe as affordable. Allta x Dash Miso Burger, however, is. To me, this is the definition of game-changing because it makes culinary culture for everyone.
This collaboration with Dash brings the evolution of flavour to everyone. At a normal, don’t blink twice price. The same-ish amount of money as two average pints, you can taste culinary history, innovation, and dedication in burger form. Even the passing customer who has just made a whimsical decision because they like miso soup to give it a go will be part of something bigger.
Collaboration like this is fundamental for the evolution of the Irish food scene. So it’s heartening to see two stalwart mainstays being able to create a seamless collab born out of respect for each other’s work and passion for flavour bombing.
This is the kind of collab I think Dublin is rife for the making. We can’t wait to see what the cross-pollination of Irish culinary creatives brings us next, but we’re sure it’ll be a taste sensation.
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