All posts tagged: Burmese

My Evening With Chef Ma

A great pop-up meal is a distinct dining experience, accomplished through a unique venue or a limited-time menu. For me, though, the memories evoked through the food and the stories shared at the table are what elevate a meal from ordinary to unforgettable. *** Savory aromas waft from the kitchen where Chef Ma Mona tends the night’s ingredients. Guests tentatively wander in and join me at the communal dining table. Perennially early and dining solo, I am grateful for the new company. Ma enters, explaining what distinguishes her dishes from those at longstanding Burmese establishments, of which she is a veteran: “Everything is made fresh today,” she tells her diners. “At the restaurant, food is prepared two to three days in advance and put in the fridge.” She adds, “That’s why I’m so tired after a dinner.” This garners a chuckle and a round of applause before she retreats back to the kitchen and her sous chef, who is also her brother. She begins the meal with a surprise appetizer, a crunchy vegetable slaw. “I …

Diverse Borders Bring Intense Flavors to Burmese Cuisine

At the intersection of its many flavor-rich borders comes the dynamic cuisine of Burma. It’s tough to get away with salad as a major selling point, but Burmese cuisine manages to do it with style. Which makes more sense when you consider that Burmese salads feature ingredients like crunchy roasted peanuts, dried shrimp, and crispy beans and seeds. Not the delicate salads of your neighborhood cafe, these are hearty, sumptuous dishes that can pull their weight as entrees. The popular tea leaf salad is named for its pickled tea leaves or “lahpet,” an ingredient that is not only unique to Burma but its beloved national delicacy. Even the serving style is unique – traditionally the lahpet is placed in the center and surrounded by piles of the other ingredients, with diners hand-tossing it as they eat. In San Francisco you’re more likely to find the local additions of lettuce and tomato, which Chef Ma incorporates into her tea leaf salad along with jalapeños and red onion. But salad is just one component of Burmese cuisine. Heavier …