Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Inle Myanmar Restaurant
This was a surprise. I was originally planning to go to Komala's today until I briefly considered checking out the Burmese restaurant next door (Peninsula Plaza #B1-07, 6333-5438). I'd never had Burmese food before, and I figured that it would be sweet and spicy, something that wasn't too appealing to me at the time. Nonetheless, I went to check out the menu, and a number of the noodle dishes looked interesting, so I figured, "What the hell, let's give it a shot." I'm glad that I did.
One item on the menu that caught my eye was the nangyi thoke, or "thick rice noodle mixed with chilli oil and chicken." It was great. The chicken by itself was seasoned just right, but to make it even better, this plate had all sorts of other stuff in it, including hard boiled egg slices, cilantro, and little deep-fried shrimp chip-like things mixed up in a spicy oil. I was already very satisifed with the dish as it was, but then more than halfway through eating it, I realized that they also gave me some specific condiments to go with this. The twist of lime I then added took this to another dimension. All the spices and tastes reminded me of little hints of Thai and Chinese, but still very independently and unique rather than any kind of lame fusion or anything like that.
While the portions of that plate weren't anything huge, it was technically enough for lunch. Still, one more thing on the menu looked interesting: the hsi gje khau hswe, or "yellow flat noodle mixed with chicken or pork," so I went ahead and got it for the sake of trying it. That turned out to be very worthwhile too, with flat mee pok-like noodles and a savory finish, if a bit oily. (The accompanying clear broth helped clean things up.) I liked the nangyi thoke better as a result, but this was still good.
What an encouraging start for my first taste of Burmese food; none of it was sweet like I was worried about, and by and large it was pretty darned tasty. Then again, I only tried two of the many dishes (and some main courses on the menu seemed like downright boring Chinese-American food, like Sweet & Sour Chicken and Pork in Oyster Sauce). I will come back to try some of the other noodle dishes in particular though. I heard that moun hin ga (traditional rice noodle in fish gravy) and oun nau khau hswe (Myanmar curry noodle with chicken) are supposed to be Burmese specialties.
I have no idea if this was authentic or not (I even got a Myanmar milk tea because it was "specially brewed from imported tea leaves," but it was disappointingly bland), but I did notice some customers speaking a language with the staff that I could not recognize. Presumably they were true Burmese? Well, I don't think I'm ever going to get the chance to go to Burma (or should I say, Myanmar) in this lifetime, so this is probably the closest I'm going to get to it. I'm coming back.
Digested at 2:15 PM
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