Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Burmese Cuisine in San Francisco

One of the benefits of living in San Francisco is being able to sample food from around the world. While there are a few gaps, some quite major, it seems like we have restaurants featuring the cuisine of nearly every member of the United Nations.

Burma lies between India, Bangladesh, Thailand, and China. Its food tastes like a mixture of the flavors you find in its neighbors' cuisines. A wide assortment of curries are featured on Burmese menus. Many dishes make heavy use of coconut milk. Dried or pickled vegetables are quite common ingredients.

One of my favorite dishes is tea leaf salad, a mixture of preserved tea leaves, dried shrimp, chilies, peanuts, ginger, dried coconut, lime juice, and other spices. The taste is exotic, but one that I love. My wife is a big fan of Burmese curried chicken noodle soup. It's one of her favorite lunch dishes.

San Francisco is home to at least four Burmese restaurants. Two of my favorites are in the Richmond District. Mandalay Restaurant has been serving Burmese and Chinese food in the Inner Richmond District since 1984. The restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner.

Pagan Restaurant is a new restaurant in the Outer Richmond, at the corner of Clement and 33rd Avenue, near the Legion of Honor Museum. Since January, Pagan has been serving Thai and Burmese cuisine for lunch and dinner from Wednesday through Monday; closed on Tuesdays.

Both Pagan and Mandalay are reasonably priced and good places to take children if they like Asian food. The easiest way to get to either restaurant from Fisherman's Wharf or Union Square is by taxi.

If you'd like to sample Burmese cuisine on a full-day tour of San Francisco, please call me at (866) 326-4237 or e-mail me by clicking here to make a reservation.

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