Hoang Tung poses with a coronavirus-themed burger in Hanoi. AFP
You've got to eat it, to beat it: That's the philosophy of one Hanoi chef who is attempting to boost morale in the Vietnamese capital by selling green, coronavirus-themed burgers.
Laughing in the face of the global pandemic, Chef Hoang Tung and his team now spend their days moulding dozens of green-tea stained burger buns complete with little "crowns" made of dough to resemble microscopic images of the virus.
"We have this joke that if you are scared of something, you should eat it," said Tung, at the Pizza Home takeaway shop in downtown Hanoi.
Vietnamese chef Dang Van Khu makes coronavirus-themed burger buns. AFP
"That's why the coronavirus isn't scary anymore after you eat a burger in the shape of the virus itself. That way of thinking spreads joy to others during this pandemic," said Tung.
The shop has sold around 50 burgers a day, despite the growing numbers of businesses in Vietnam which have been forced to close because of the virus.
In mid-February, Vietnam said all known 16 COVID-19 cases at the time had recovered, but that changed after an influx of overseas visitors and returning Vietnamese citizens brought an uptick in cases.
There are now 148 recorded cases of the virus in Vietnam, but no reported deaths, according to the health ministry.
Authorities in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have ordered that all non-essential businesses should close although some food outlets, including Tung's takeaway shop, are still open.
Taking his grandson out for a Coronaburger, Dang Dinh Quy, 66, viewed the luminous green burger as a morale-boosting treat.
"This coronavirus is very dangerous. But if we eat a burger in its shape, in our minds its like we are already victorious," said Quy.
"If you want to beat it, you've got to eat it first".
With the sales of chicken and mutton going down due to the coronavirus scare, it is the humble 'kathal' (jackfruit) that is emerging as an acceptable alternative.
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