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“If you can’t beat it, eat it.” These are the words of Hanoi-based chef Hoang Tung, who’s conquering COVID-19 by cooking up what is probably the world’s first “corona burger”.

As global news grows increasingly morbid, many around the world are resorting to humour to help deal with the crisis.

Social media has been flooded with coronavirus memes, from people in isolation “suddenly realising they are married”, to claims that the organisers of notorious Fyre Festival were hired to manage the year 2020.

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Now, a green, virus-like burger is the latest bit of pandemic humour to go… well, viral.

Tung, a 36-year-old chef and inventor of Hanoi’s novel corona burger, says he first created the dish at home to help his children see some joy in the present situation rather than feel scared. Yet since then, it’s been shared all over and helped his business survive.

“When news first emerged about coronavirus in China, everything was negative and people only said depressing things. The virus also affected my business as sales decreased significantly. So I started trying to think of ways to be different and positive,” Tung tells us.

He tried out a whole plethora of ingredients and designs before settling on his catchy, COVID-themed burger, which resembles microscopic images of the novel coronavirus. Now, it seems, he’s on a roll.

Tung first created the virus-themed bun to help his children see some joy in the present situation, rather than feel scared. (Photos: Bac Pham/dpa)

“After I finished making it, I posted it on my Facebook page and received very positive responses. On the first day, I sold 50 corona burgers,” he says. Days later it was a hundred.

Tung says he doesn’t actually make much profit from the burgers as he sells them for just under US$3 (about 4.30 Brunei Dollars), which is less than he usually charges for hamburgers in his five Hanoi restaurants.

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“This corona burger is only available for a short period to help my company,” Tung says.

“I have to think of another way to maintain my company, as business has been badly affected by closures in the city. Not many people come to buy it at our shop. Mostly, we do home deliveries.”

Tung’s wit won’t cure anyone’s health issues, but it’s proving itself to be a successful local treatment of the coronavirus blues.

The ‘corona burger’, which resembles the anatomical structure of Covid-19, has proved hugely popular in Hanoi.

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