This spring, Wahlburgers — a chain of restaurants started by brothers Donnie (New Kids on the Block), Mark (who found fame as Marky Mark with “Good Vibrations,” and also starred in “Fear,” a very classic film where he finger blasts Reese Witherspoon on a rollercoaster) and Paul (not at all famous) — is adding a few new items to their menu. Just wait for it.
According to a press release, the chain is debuting a Bahn Mi Burger, “influenced by the traditional Vietnamese sandwich,” and features not famous brother Paul’s recipe for house made kimchi, just in time for National Burger month in May! However, there’s the whole thing where one of the Wahlberg brothers has a sordid past of assaulting Vietnamese men. So I’m not sure who, exactly, thought this was a good idea.
Let me take it back. The year is 1988. Crack — a drug Whitney Houston would later call “wack” — is making it’s stateside debut. “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” is absolutely killing it in theaters. The Tasty Bake Oven is teaching young girls how to cook their own awful, inedible food. And Mark Wahlberg, well, he’s just a young Bostonian man of 16. He’s walking down the street with a large wooden stick in his hand, for some reason, and approaches a Vietnamese man, calls him a “Vietnam f—ing s—,” and then hits the man over with the stick. He falls to the ground, unconscious. Police arrest Wahlberg, and the teen bravely, candidly opens up, saying “You don’t have to let him identify me, I’ll tell you now that’s the motherf—er whose head I split open.”
Lest you be charmed by that incident, know that mere moments later, he ran into a second Vietnamese man and punched him in the eye. That man, Johnny Trinh, later told the Daily Mail that he forgives Wahlberg for his racially motivated transgression. Wahlberg, for his part, asked for a pardon for the incident (acknowledging it would be helpful as he continues to grow his restaurant business), but later expressed regret for seeking said pardon. Lots of ups and downs with this one.
So, yeah! This is a horrible, horrible idea that shouldn’t have gotten past the pitch room like, at all. Should we call it a tragic irony that his burger chain is now serving a dish that is Vietnamese-inspired? Or is it merely an ignorant ass oversight? I’m thinking the latter, no?
The Bahn Mi Burger will be available through Memorial Day, if you can stomach it.