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burmese

Hole-In-The-Wall Burmese From Yamo

While walking back from Duc Loi, I noticed some people hanging out by a scary looking store-front. Then I peeked in and noticed cute little old asian ladies furiously cooking up some noodles. And in this tiny closet of a place, all the seats were taken. And people were waiting outside. Then I looked this place up – Yamo. It’s a teeny little burmese joint in the mission where everything is about $5 dollars or less. I had to check it out! So on the night we went to see Conan, we grabbed some to-go because we didn’t have enough time to dine in.

Since everyone was raving about the tea leaf salad, we had to try that. I’ve never tasted anything like this before. It’s got some various shredded greens, and by that I am guessing tea leaves, along with a bunch of other random things like red onions, fried nuts, regular nuts, legumes, herbs, etc. It’s tossed with a tasty savory and slightly sour sauce. It’s just good, and difficult to describe.

J got the curry fish. Contrary to what I thought, this does not have coconut milk in it. Whoo! It is really good high quality fish, extremely lightly battered and fried. And it’s covered in a nice slightly spicy curry-ish sauce (barely curry tasting) with some onions and bell peppers as your veggies. You can get this with rice or noodles. The noodles are just the flour type noodles that you would find in lo mein.

After reading good things about the house noodles, I got one with beef. It’s an extremely simple dish… just noodles and beef! The beef is also high quality and tender, and is just lightly seasoned. It was a bit on the salty side for me, but still good. And there’s a bit of sauce for the noodles that make them quite smooth.

This place is slightly intimidating to order from because I feel like it’s one of those places where you have to know how to order correctly. The ladies are not scary, but the place does not have a cash register and there’s no “order here”, “pick up here” signs. It’s just a big counter with the kitchen behind it. When I called, it rang and rang for a long time, and then finally someone picked up and screamed, and I say screamed, “YAMO!” She didn’t give me a time, she didn’t take my name. It just all seemed crazy. But once we got there, after some slight confusion, we got the food. And it was certainly worth the scare. For $5.25 for each dish, how can you go wrong? Yes, the portions are not large, they are pretty much for one person and one meal. But there’s nothing wrong with that! This is one scary hole-in-the-wall you need to visit!

Yamo
3406 18th St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 553-8911

Yamo on Urbanspoon

Mercy’s – Ann Arbor

I was in a random town about an hour outside of Detroit, where the food choices are between Arby’s, McDonald’s, or Coney Island. I wasn’t feeling that, so I took a short drive to Ann Arbor to check out one of America’s finest college towns. It’s adorable and so studious. Roaming around, I ended up at Mercy’s. It’s brand new, and part of a hotel. It’s a french restaurant, with burmese and other asian influences. Sounds interesting, huh? Ok, so I have to start with this bread. It was like simply amazing. It was just thin slices of some sourdough bread. Super crusty on the outside, super dense and lovely on the inside. They get it from Chicago. Where is this bread from? Because I could eat this all day. Looks like every day ordinary bread, tastes like nirvana.

I started with the Mercy’s Steamed Dumplings. They’re made with ground dumplings, which makes them a bit more healthy. When they come out, they bring out the bamboo steamer and then put them on a plate for you. They’re served with ginger soy and spicy chili dipping sauces. This means they put some dumpling sauce in a bowl and squeeze some sriracha in another bowl. These were pretty good, but the innards also had pieces of water chestnuts in them, which made the insides sometimes crunchy. I actually do not like water chestnuts at all, especially their texture, so that part of the dumplings, I did not care for.

I also added the Asian Slaw as a side to my entree. It was a blend of Napa cabbage, red pepper, green onion, and corn in a sesame ginger vinaigrette. I absolutely loved this. I’m a huge sucker for super crunchy cabbage based salads. I can’t get enough! I could have eaten a giant bowl of this as my main course. They’re really fancy about presentation too. It was served in a little fried wonton skin basket.

My entree was the Coriander Dusted Sea Scallops. Large scallops are served with jasmine confetti rice cake, citrus ginger beurre blanc, orange curry coconut glacé, balsamic paint, and green beans. That’s a lot of fancy words. The scallops were great, but I wasn’t necessarily crazy about the citrus ginger buerre blanc they slathered on top of them. But they were cooked well, seared on the outside, pretty raw in the middle. The rice was not very good. It was heavy on coconut milk and fairly flavorless. The balsamic paint was a dramatic touch to the dish itself, and I loved the green beans.

The service was ok. The food took forever to come out. And there weren’t very many people there, so I don’t know what was up. Maybe they’re just still trying to figure it out, as they’ve only been open for a little while. Or maybe they’re just slow. This place is a fancier and more expensive alternative, in an otherwise college dining scene, where your only options are sandwiches, wings, or burgers.

Burmese In Burlingame

I met up with A in Burlingame after cruising around Monterey and the south bay. Burlingame is another cute little ritzy town with a strip of shops and restaurants. We decided on Mingalaba, which is burmese. I’ve only had burmese, years ago, and don’t remember too much from it. I think I remember that it was like thai food. The menu is a strange amalgam of indian, thai, and other asian cuisines. Which makes a helluva lot of sense when you look at a map of burma. It’s a rather large country, with india and the bay of bengal on its left, and thailand and china on its right. We ordered mango lassis, and we all know that’s traditionally indian/pakistani.We didn’t really know what to order, so we picked the House Special Noodle with chicken. It was a flat rice noodle dish with coconut chicken, lime leaves, cilantro, yellow pea’s powder, onion, and fried thin noodle on the top. It comes unmixed and then the server mixes it in front of you.
And here’s the result. We both enjoyed this a lot. I’m usually not into anything with coconut milk in it (like this chicken), but I still liked this. The one thing I absolutely did not care for was the lime leaves. I found them to be absolutely disgusting. They were sliced extremely thin but still gave off an extremely strong taste. Luckily, after realizing their awfulness, I was careful to avoid them.
We had to order something else so we just threw the dice and went with the Asparagus Spicy Chicken. This was pan fried chicken breast with asparagus, fresh basil, eggplant, fresh mushroom, and green chilies in a spicy sauce. This had a straight up thai basil flavor, reminiscent of many thai dishes. So if you’re into that, you’ll be into this. This also was not spicy at all, so don’t let the name fool you. It’s just a nice chicken stir fry dish. The asparagus were of the extremely fat variety, and I’m partial to the scrawny spears.

Service was fine, if not seemingly cold and robotic. But I think that was just the server’s personality, or lack thereof. One could not describe her as warm and fuzzy, but the service itself was fine. And the meal actually turned out to be quite a bargain! On this tuesday night, the place was packed! If you’re a fan of thai food, then you should definitely give Mingalaba a try. Heck, I can’t stop saying mingalaba!
Mingalaba on Urbanspoon

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