Burmese Restaurant Berkeley caBerkeley Burmese Restaurant approx.
Yangon Super Stars takes Burmese to Berkeley
As soon as I grinded my first lettuce of tealeaf, the enchanting flavours and texture of Burmese cooking made a lasting impression on my mind. Nevertheless, I still recall that I waited over an hours in front of the small Inner Richmond Restaurant to get my fix of crispy roasted garage and spicy tealeaves with lemon groundnuts, lemon seed and dry prawns.
As the restaurant opened its first office in Alameda - and later in Oakland - I was celebrating and dragged my father through the Caldecott tunnel in heavy rains so we could put hand-made, lentil-speckled sampling samples of samossa in U Win Ayes dishes. Aye, a Rangoon resident who also ran Rangoon Ruby's cuisine in Palo Alto, has now opened his first restaurant:
Yangon super stars in Berkeley. To start with, Yangon Super Stars (no link to the SF original) has room for 100 persons, so the long waiting times are over (they also take reservations). The restaurant is comfortably tranquil even when full, as during our stay, most likely because it is divided into three separated covered dinning rooms.
Tealeaf Leaf Juice ($10.99) comes in a large dish containing all the essentials in clean stacks, with a variety of different kinds of nuts and dry coffee-bean - Aye does not mash the musk leaf like most places, but thinks it has a greater taste. Traditionally, a lever blends the vegetables at the table and adds a pinch of citrus ("I always ask for two or three").
On this occasion, instead of sampling stew, we ordered Monk Hingar ($10.99), a puréed Catfish Chocolate, which gets its taste from Lemongrass, Vegetable Onion and Cloves, and its smooth whole catfish consistency, which Aye cooks and purées in an aroma bouillon. When puréed seafood noodles sound daunting to you, believe me, it's not.
It is a nice, seductive chicken, especially with the added thin, smooth noodle. However, my favourite dinner of the night was the Burmese Country Style Country Style Lampurry ('14.99), a classic local cheese flavoured with onions, tamarinds and Chilean reds, which we ordered mildly (it also comes middle, spicy or, if you dare, very spicy) to enjoy the delicate pieces of Lambs.
Spoonful on an order of steamed chilli seed oil paddy ($2.50), the sweaty and aromatic flavours were plain. As it' s gourd time of year, we eventually agreed on the Gourd Pork Stew ($13. 99), which was also a red-based Curry made with bulbs, clove, gingerbread and enough Thai bark to give it a slightly acidic rim.
They were delicious and the meat was stewed to perfection, but I like the Thai side of this meal, with its light-coloured flavours and flavours. Maybe we should have tried one of the Indian-inspired wok-thrown plates, like beef kebat ($13. 99) with masala y peppers or a pasta court, like the plain but fascinating Rangoon superstar noodles ($9. 99), thrown with diced toffu, cucumber, sterantro, kale, tomato and chilli gravy.
VEGETARIAN: Try the samosa soup, Burmese aubergine curry or pea leaf tofu. Kokosnussreis. PLUSES: New, big restaurant where you can taste Burmese favourites from a cook you know and you can rely on. There is no way to let the restaurant know we are going to a meeting, and we try to stay anonimous.
Dining is judged on a 1 to 4 range, with four being a truly exceptional restaurant of its kind.