a gem in falls church.
although myanmar is on the Washingtonian Top Cheap Eats, until buddies of BOOF, eg and aw recommended an adventure out to this little gem, I probably would have never made it there. little did i know, that i would leave this lunch/dinner a little upset that eg and aw had never mentioned to me this delicious place before. apparently, they knew about this secret little gem for almost 5 years!!! anyways, i am so happy that I made the trek out to falls church because wow, the food was so good.
with it's storefront location, myanmar does not look like much when you approach it...or when you are in it for that matter. however, do not let it's appearance fool you because the food is extremely authentic, tasty and the service is great. if you have not already figured out, myanmar is named after country to which it's cuisine belongs (aka Burma). the interior and ambiance of the restaurant is nothing special but it features simple light wood tables and comfy dark brown chairs.
onto to the food.
we started with the mango salad which consists of shredded mango salad, thinly sliced onion and cabbage, crushed peanuts and cilantro. you may look at these ingredients and be a little perplexed. this was so good. I essentially could have taken this salad home and been a happy camper for days. there is just a perfect balance of sweetness from the mango with crunch of the peanuts and nice seasoning from the onion and cilantro.
we then had the ginger salad which was just as good if not better than the mango salad. the ginger salad was made up of pickled ginger, cabbage, tomato, and crunchy peanuts, toasted yellow peas, sesame seeds, toasted garlic, fresh lime juice. the peanut sauce that they put on top of this salad is just so good. i might want to marry this ginger salad. actually, scratch that. I WANT to marry this ginger salad. I have never been such a big proponent of ginger (i like it but not overwhelmingly so and i try to avoid cooking with it...because i think it's really hard work), but this salad made me want to eat ginger all the time...if it comes like this. i love me some peas so i loved seeing some yellow peas in this salad and i also love that they had such great balance of texture with the peanuts, toasted garlic and sesame seeds in comparison to the tomato and cabbage. although you get the ginger flavor throughout the salad, it is not overwhelming by any means and you definitely get all the flavors of each component. i could potentially talk about this salad for a lot longer but i probably should move on.
also BOOF buddy, bs, essentially swears by this one dish but everyone else seems to not really enjoy it. nevertheless, i decided that i would try it because i am really willing to try anything that is friendly to me. the dish is called Chili Banng Gyaq (sauteed Sour Leaf) and is sauteed sour leaf with bamboo shoot, shrimp pasta chili and onion. it was definitely interesting and the seasoning was good but I really did not care for the texture our flavor of the sour leaf. It kind of tasted like anchovies, so if anchovies are your thing, then you really may enjoy it. i'm glad i tried it but that's all for me.
there were clearly a bunch of items that everyone else ate that i couldn't but i still documented and everyone said the flavor was super delicious and tasty. another buddy of BOOF has traveled to Burma recently and when I mentioned this place and showed him the pictures, he mentioned that the food looks just like what they ate in burma and he may or not have been salivating of the idea of eating it...now.
first there was the beef potato curry which is exactly what it sounds like. It is composed of beef, potato, onion,garlic and ginger cooked in "flavorful" curry sauce. although that is the extent of the description of the curry sauce, i would agree that it is definitely that...according to BOOF buddies.
second there was the chicken potato curry which is similarly composed to chicken and potato cooked in the similar "flavorful" curry sauce. just like the prior, the curry was spicy but too spicy and was well balanced by the potato.
the group also ordered the Ohn Ro Kaukswe which is a chicken noodle soup with coconut fresh egg noodle and chicken soup with creamy coconut milk served with onion, lime and chili pepper on the side. this was one of those dishes that everyone raves about because it is very different but oh so good. i personally believe that savory infused with coconut always makes for a delicious meal. unfortunately, this was also one of those things that i could not eat but everyone really enjoyed it.
an item that we all loved (yes, even me!!!!) was the "shrimp thing". I think it is actually called the Pazun- Khwe Gyaw which is a crispy bean sprout & shrimp salad shrimp mix with bean sprout light battered and quick fried, tossed with cabbage and cucumber in lamarind sauce. omgeeeeeee. i apologize for my tween language but this "shrimp thing" is one of the best dishes i have tried anywhere in a long time. the shrimp was perfectly "quick fried" and then the bean sprouts, and lamarind sauce was just so perfect. this is one of those dishes that is so good, it is hard to put into words. pretty much just perfection on a plate. i would go back just for this dish. i'm just saying...
and lastly, because i could not enjoy the chicken/potato curry and beef/potato curry, i ordered the pumpkin curry. it was really tough for me to choose a vegetarian entree off of the menu because they all looked so delicious, but this was definitely a hit for me. I love me some pumpkin and although it is not currently in season, the pumpkin was still perfectly ripe and cooked well. i love the balance of the sweet and spicy but because as most of you may know, pumpkin is not that sweet, the spice definitely won out which was pleasing to my tastebuds. the dish was perfectly balanced and as with all the dishes of the afternoon, very aesthetically pleasing.
Overall, I had a wonderful experience at myanmar and was pleasantly surprised by how well seasoned everything was. typical of ethnic cuisine, there is a lot of spice but the balance that was presented in all of the dishes was perfect. the flavors were complex and from what i presume, traditional to myanmar. despite the lack of interior/exterior decor, the food does not disappoint and well worth the trip out to falls church. if you are looking for something a little different and delicious and you have access to a car, i definitely recommend the trip out to myanmar. ;-)Grade: A- (detracted for decor)