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.
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.”
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!
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!
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
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!
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…
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.