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Restaurants & Bars 8

Nan Yang report [Oakland]

PekoePeony | Feb 26, 2004 05:24 PM

Last night two friends and I had dinner at Nan Yang, a Burmese restaurant in the Oakland Rockridge area. There was a recent article in the Mercury-News on Burmese restaurants and this was one of the places mentioned, so we wanted to try it out while we were in the area. Two of us have been to Burma Super Star a couple times before and absolutely love their tea leaf salad.

While reading the newspaper clipping reviews of the restaurant outside, it seemed that they were famous for their ginger salad, so we decided to try that. Inside, the interior was more upscale than we anticipated, with soft, romantic lighting. About 1/3 the tables were occupied, and the crowd seemed to be primarily Caucasians in their 40s.

The menu had lots of interesting salads, about ten variations on garlic noodles, and several different types of rice (steamed, curry, coconut, chili, black, etc.), as well as about three pages of various other dishes.

First came our ginger salad, with piles of cabbage, ginger, and one other shredded veggie surrounded by various fried beans, nuts, etc, and topped with an oil/lemon dressing. The ginger taste was much less strong than expected considering how much ginger was in the salad -- either they used young ginger, or they diluted it down in water. I love ginger, but the flavors didn't seem to harmonize -- the taste was too oily and the lemon overpowered the salad. In the end we all wished we had ordered the green tea salad instead to compare against Burma Super Star's.

The garlic noodles with seafood was marked as the house special, so we figured we'd order that. The linguine-like noodles didn't taste very garlickly (esp. compared to the garlic noodles at Thanh Long) but were coated in a delicious light curry sauce and topped with various seafood pieces. We really enjoyed this dish.

The chicken curry was a bit of a surprise, comprised of two huge whole chicken breasts barely covered with some brownish curry sauce. A small salad and a serving of curry rice was on the side. The chicken was extremely dry! After cutting it up, we tried spooning as much curry (which was not bad, but not enough) as possible on it for extra moisture, but in the end we ended up leaving half the chicken behind. The curry rice didn't taste much of curry.

We also ordered the chili rice and coconut rice. The chili rice had a very shiny red color with a sweet taste married to a nice chili bite. My dining companions thought it was a bit too sweet, but I found the sweetness to be a nice contrast to the chili and it reminded me a bit of the Singapore chili crab sauce, but a tad more spicy. The coconut rice tasted more of toasted coconuts than from Burma Star's; I liked Burma Star's better since the coconut flavor was stronger there, but my friend preferred Nan Yang's for the more delicate taste and for using stickier jasmine rice instead of the medium grain rice at Burma Star.

The total for the three dishes and one Thai iced tea was $42 with tax, but not including tip, for our party of three. I don't think we'd come back except maybe to try the green tea salad, since the rest of the menu didn't seem that interesting.

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