When Little Yangon opened a year and a half ago, we learned that Daly City is one of the Bay Area’s Burmese population centers. The community now has a second restaurant to call its own, Burma Cafe.
Located next door to T C Pastry, the café is the first restaurant venture for the Burmese-Chinese owners. The attractive interior features dark earth tones, some upholstered booths, a private dining room in the back, and a long bench along one wall brightened with pretty silk pillows. On a rainy afternoon, the café felt too dark for lunch, and I was the only customer. http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...
The all-Burmese menu offers the usual suspects. Burma Café also has a wine and beer license and serves up Tiger, Chang and Anchor Steam beers.
When I requested my tea leaf (laphet) salad, $8.95, with "less lettuce", the owner/waitress asked, "Would you prefer no lettuce?" She said I was the first and only non-Burmese customer to order it this way in her restaurant’s brief three-month lifetime. She also added that’s how she prefers it herself but most customers expect lettuce.
Here’s what the composition of the tea leaf salad looked like before tossing with a squeeze of fresh lemon. I was told the cooks added more chopped fresh jalapeño chiles because they assumed I was Burmese and would want more heat.
The kitchen also sent out a side of shredded cabbage to lighten things up. I put everything together with bit more lemon. The bits that should be crispy were crackly, and I especially liked the extra robust flavor from extra amounts of fried garlic and chiles. The powdered dried shrimp added extra depth, and can be ordered without for a vegetarian version.
Then my touchstone Burmese dish, Ono Kauswer, or coconut chicken noodle soup, $8.95. Nicely presented with slices of hard-cooked egg, slivers of red onion, cilantro sprigs, and crispy fried pasta strips, the rich soup plumped up wtih chickpea flour had the density of extra thick chowder. Comfort food to the max, this bowl satisfied with the homemade flavor of good chicken stock, mild yellow curry, and diced dark meat. Heavy on the coconut milk, lending an extra buttery texture and a layer of red floating on the surface, the flavors snapped into focus with a bit more lemon juice and red chile pepper from the shaker on the table. http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...
The ginger tea, $2, is brewed strong and sweet here in a teapot, enough for more than two cups.
As much as I enjoyed my lunch here, I’d probably return to Little Yangon first for more variety and lower prices when grabbing a bite on my own. For a group or to introduce someone to Burmese food in more pleasant surroundings, I’d pick Burma Café. Daly City is lucky to have both.
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Luis Chong announces Burma Café’s opening
T C Pastry
67 Saint Francis Sq, Daly City, CA
6318 Mission St, Daly City, CA 94014
63 St Francis Square, Daly City, CA 94015
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