Burmese Food for Burmese People

"Little Yangon has become my new favorite Burmese restaurant," declares Melanie Wong. Situated in Daly City, which apparently has a large Burmese population, the restaurant serves food geared toward that community rather than outsiders. Unlike other Burmese restaurants in the Bay Area, its owners are not ethnically Chinese.

Right up front is a Burmese version of a salad station, with a huge variety of fried and raw crispy ingredients as well as cooked, infused, and raw oils for dressing all ready to be mixed to order. Tea leaf salad has "all the spitfire and textures I love about the dish," Melanie says. Little Yangon use only the small, tender shoots of tea, and plenty of them. A bit of cabbage slaw lightens the mix, and the carefully cut tomato slivers are free of seeds or gel. Plus, the fried and roasted components are all "crackly fresh." The flavors are rounded out with fried garlic, ground dried shrimp, and plenty of fish sauce.

Coconut chicken noodle soup (ohn noh kaw swe) is a bowl of coconutty comfort that Melanie's dining partner Spencer referred to as "Burmese carbonara." Mohinga, the classic fish noodle soup, is a favorite with kairo.

On the other hand, chin bong jaw is such an acquired taste that the owner is nervous to even serve it to non-Burmese. Spencer described the concoction of sour vegetable with green chile, bamboo shoots, and various fish/shrimp condiments as having "notes of barnyard and fire," but it grew on him; the "spicy/sour/bitter/barnyard/garlicky/salty/iron/grassy elements," as Melanie says, are well balanced by coconut rice.

But it takes no schooling to love the paratha. Even without a side of curry dipping sauce, it's "golden brown, flaky, crisp," Melanie says.

Little Yangon [Peninsula]
6318 Mission Street, Daly City

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