Faluda with Friends

Alright, and a lot of other things too…  On Friday night, I was invited out to try Burmese food for dinner at a local restaurant (by the same friends who hosted the tea party I wrote about).

Apparently I’ve lived a mile and a half away from this place and never knew it existed.  I suffer from a deplorable lack of diversity in the places I go eat.  I’m a creature of habit… I mean, I like a lot of different foods and cuisines, but I tend to go back to the same places because I liked what I ate so therefore I want to eat it again.  Forever.

FALUDA.  Yum yum yum.  I'm easily swayed -- this was my favorite of the three desserts.

FALUDA. Yum yum yum. I’m easily swayed — this was my favorite of the three desserts.

This friend is very detailed and thoughtful — she wrote to the group beforehand: “As a reminder, Burmese food is influenced by China, India, and Thailand.  They are not necessarily known for spicy heat.  Their flatbread is similar to Indian paratha bread. They use a lot of fish sauce and fermented fish paste in their cooking, along with tamarind, lemon, and pickled tea leaves.”

These are deceptive fish chunks.  The veggies and sauce were excellent though.

These are deceptive fish chunks. The veggies and sauce were excellent though.

When she talked to me about it in person, she kept mentioning “pungent” and “fish sauce”.  Now… I’m not exactly a fish person.  I don’t like the texture, and the taste doesn’t do anything for me, and the “fishy” smell makes me gag.  Sorry Romans, I love you, but garum (fish sauce) by the boat load?  No thanks.

So I went in with a mostly open mind, determined to try everything but attempt to eat around the fish chunks if I had to.  Luckily I was able to avoid fish chunks, and was only assaulted by unexpected fish sauce once!

Curse you, unexpected fish sauce.  This was otherwise probably delicious fried rice.

Curse you, unexpected fish sauce. This was otherwise probably delicious fried rice.

My overall assessment?  GET IN MY FACE, FOOD.  Faster if at all possible!

We had probably nine or ten dishes.  The fried rice had cashews and even hazelnuts I think (which I love!) but also the dreaded fish sauce.  The taste was sooo strong, unfortunately… I loved the veggies and sauce from the other fish dish above — it did not have a fish flavor, but was nice and rich.  We had tea leaf salad — strong and bitter!

This is not tea leaf salad, but I have no idea what it was.  Sort of like "anything goes" coleslaw.

This is not tea leaf salad, but I have no idea what it was. Sort of like “anything goes” coleslaw.

My favorite main dishes were the pickled mango curry sauce with pork, and then a veggie stew (multiple types of veggies) with tamarind in the sauce (yum!) — tamarind is a citrus fruit, strong also, but I like it.  I can’t even remember all the other dishes — we received a spreadsheet ahead of time with all  the proposed choices!  I love organized friends. :D

This is the pickled mango curried pork -- delicious, even if it doesn't look  that way.

This is the pickled mango curried pork — delicious, even if it doesn’t look that way.

After fish stew (I held off) and rice and OH my gosh the best things also — “golden triangles”.  Basically phyllo dough triangles filled with curried mashed potato, dipped in tamarind sauce.  DELICIOUS.  And I’m not even a fan of mashed potatoes!

Then there was dessert — my favorite like I mentioned, was the faluda (pictured above in uber-pink).  Apparently there’s endless varieties, but the one we had would have normally been served in a tall glass ice cream cup like an ice cream soda or fancy tall sundae glass, and layered.  It included tapioca balls, agar slices, rose flavor, milk of some sort I believe, custard (yum), and ice cream.  Sounds weird, tastes delicious.  We also were served coconut agar (like jello jigglers sort of…very plain), and a coconut cake-thing.  It reminded me of if you had leftover cream of wheat, and then added coconut milk to it and sort of baked it into little squares.  Light flavor, slightly strange, but also deceptively addictive!

After dinner, we walked next door to a local pan-asian market chain store.  I’d also never been inside, what a fun experience!

Hello, giant bamboo...shoot...things.  These were the size of very large sweet potatoes!

Hello, giant bamboo…shoot…things. These were the size of very large sweet potatoes!

My two friends proceeded to show me around the entire store, pointing out what all  the fresh veggies and fruits were for, what all the dried ingredients did… which frozen bao buns were the best… and of course, my favorite — thai iced tea ICE CREAM.  Oh man.

I noticed in the meat section they even stocked New Zealand venison! How cool, right? I don’t even think I can get venison at our local grocery stores — maybe Whole Foods, but I dunno. Of course, being me, I couldn’t help but be juvenile in the meat section…

Me: "lol." Friend: " *points* ...pizzle? What is PIZZLE?" Me: "Think about it."

Me: “lol.” Friend: ” *points* …pizzle? What is PIZZLE?” Me: “Think about it.”

All in all, a very educational evening! Delicious and very cheap for the amount and variety of food we got to try — $12.25 each (for 9 of us) including tax and tip.  7 or so dishes, 2 soups, rice, tea, and 3 desserts.

Verdict:  A+, would eat again.

Have you guys tried anything new recently, or have you been meaning to?  Have you ever had Burmese food, and have any recommendations for me?

Is there anything you’re craving right now? Because I definitely played a bunch of food categories in QuizUp last night, and it made me starving.  I want a Belgian waffle from Belgium.

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4 thoughts on “Faluda with Friends

  1. In the spirit of new-blogger enthusiasm, I’ve nominated you for the Leibster award! This post explains the award, a chance for newer bloggers to network, get to know each other, and have some fun. http://fortyandfantastique.wordpress.com/2014/01/14/leibster-award/ .

    I posted my ten questions for you over here. I hope you participate. Either way, I’m following your blog so I’ll see you around. :-)

    Steven

    http://anewyearsresolutionchallenge.wordpress.com/2014/01/14/leibster-award/

    • Wow, cool! Thanks! I’ll take a look and answer those questions — I’m inspired, and I think I’ll pass it along also. :D This whole zero to hero thing and new year’s blogs are great. Thanks for blogging yourself!

  2. I’m so glad to read you’re culinarily branching out.

    I went to the Golden Triangle in Burma years and years ago. In those areas they sell faluda at street stalls. There are a few dozen brightly colored gummy looking things you pick you from. Thy pile it into a bowl or cup and add the liquid. You’re right, it’s deceptively delicious. :-)

    Did you buy anything at the Asian market? If you see anything like “daifuku”, sticky rice with beans inside, be sure to try them. If you like the faluda, you’ll like them.

    Oh, and garum survives today as worcestershire sauce, in case you get the question in QuizUp.

    And Belgium Waffles in Belgium have nothing over mine. Yeast. Yeast and butter. Get a waffle made with yeast and butter and you can save yourself some airfare.

    • Yeah! I gotta exercise those food tasting muscles, keep in shape — I too often fall into the rut of eating the same old, so this was great!

      AHH. Faluda on the street?! This is a terrible, terrible invention for someone like me…just like cheap custard in England. They would like it though if I bought one, ate it, walked a little, got another one, ate more…

      I didn’t buy anything! I would have bought some of the pears and some of the thai iced tea ice cream if I had, though. My next shopping trip might take a detour… I’ll be on the lookout for daifuku though! Thanks!

      Nooooo, really, ugh, worcestershire sauce really? I guess I’ve never consciously eaten it. Actually, once I did have this amazing dip for cold asparagus — I think it was just mayo and worcestershire. Sounds awful, but it was delicious. Sigh. Hahah.

      What! Get out of town. Yeast and waffles? Is there normally yeast in waffles? If it will save me a thousand bucks, I’ll try anything though. A quest!

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