Ruth organized a chowdown in honor of Grayelf's visit at Pagan, a Burmese place in the outer Richmond (that also serves some Thai dishes; we ordered exclusively from the Burmese menu). There were 16 of us total, so we split into two groups of 8. Overall, my wife (Joanne) and I (Amit) thought that the 2 soups, 2 salads and 8 entrees ordered by our half of the chowdown were very good. Specifically, our group got the following dishes:
- Moo Hin Ga (mohinga in other restaurants): this fish chowder was excellent, comparing favorably to the mohingas at Yamo, Larkin Express Deli and Burma Superstar.
- Chin Hin Yee (Burmese hot and sour soup): a thinner broth than its Chinese analogue, but welcome on a chilly night. Like the rest of the food labeled "hot" or "spicy," the heat was not overwhelming; pretty accessible for those not into very spicy food.
- Lap Pat Thut (tea leaf salad): Tasty, although one member of our group took exception to the fact that it included lettuce.
- Lat Thut Song (rainbow salad): I can't remember the nine ingredients, but I remember cilantro, peanuts, tomato and (surprisingly) potato; the staff doesn't mix it up for you like they do theatrically at Burma Superstar.
- Spicy Eggplant with Dried Shrimp: evocative of the close link between Burmese and Indian food because of the eggplant/potato combination. However, the eggplant taste was arguably overwhelmed by the shrimp flavor, which was extremely strong. I noticed that this was the dish with the most left over at the end of the night, probably because the shrimp taste was best in small doses.
- Chin Mong Jaw with Shrimp: a dish with an intensely sour flavor, coming from "Burmese style sour vegetables." Most people really liked this dish but one person thought the sour taste was too strong.
- Shrimp Biryani: maybe the most overall disappointing dish of the night; it really had very little flavor or aroma that would lead one to describe it as anything more than rice with shrimp in it.
- Burmese Style Curry Lamb: wonderful smoky curry flavor, and the lamb was succulent and tasty. A great dish.
- Burmese Style Fish Cake Curry: this dish went the fastest; it was more sour and less smoky than the lamb curry, most likely because of the presence of tamarind.
- Nan Gyi Dok (Mild Chicken Curry): very mild and creamy because of split pea yellow powder; I am not a chicken fan but I loved it.
- Nan Pia Dok (flat noodles chicken curry): while the Nan Gyi Dok was served over rice noodles, this was served over more of a chow fun noodle. The great texture to the noodle made it a totally different, and very tasty, dish.
- See Jyet Kaukswer: this pork noodle dish was not curried like the others, but still had a bold flavor; it was a good contrast.
Hopefully, these quick descriptions will get the ball rolling on a more full discussion of the dishes, particularly the ones at the other table! Thanks to Ruth for organizing a wonderful meal and evening.