Since childhood I had heard stories of Burma from my grandfather’s friends who used to visit our house. How they fled and entered India, stories of the richness there – which they could not bring along. Even my husband’s grandfather came from Rangoon, along with three of his most coveted possessions – all of them still adorn our house in Salt Lake. I have always heard my granny (whom we lovingly called Amoni) refer the names as Burma or Rangoon, the names Myanmar or Yangon never registered in her list.
My interest in Burma heightened during my college days – when I came across the book Burmese Days, by George Orwell. He gives a vivid account of his term in Burma, and we get a fair idea how Burma was like during the British rule.
Now If I think of Burma, the first name which comes to my mind is Aung Saan Suu Kyi, her book “Letters from Burma” and her relentless effort to spread the cause of Burmese Democracy, her 15 years of house arrest etc.
When I went to Singapore in 2013, apart from the Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, I was amused at the wide variety of cuisine I could taste Balinese, Javanese, Malay, Burmese. It was here I tasted Khow suey for the first time and I was bowled over. Hence forth any place I have come across this dish, I have tried tasting it. I also loved their salads, they are tad different than the Thai or Vietnamese salads i had.
Recently in the food hub of Indiranagar – we have a new name “Burma Burma” which opened an avenue to taste Burmese food, right in the heart of the city, that too with an all vegetarian fare. In Burma Buddhism has its special significance, as it is practiced by the lion’s share of the population, and therefore the Burmese Cuisine was also influenced by the same. In Burmese cuisine we find a lot of salads and accompaniments along with the mains. What I like about this is, when food is served on the table I can pick and choose the ingredients I want to add and that too in the proportion I like. Due to the geographical location and several Indians migrating to Burma during the British rule, Burmese cuisine has hint of Indian cuisine too – like paratha, samosa and biriyani.
So now here’s a list of things we tried – we started with an amuse bouche and two mocktails (lemongrass and pomegranate flavoured), then we moved on to the simuza hincho or samosa soup – slightly spicy and oil, this has that Indian touch. This was followed by 2 salads (thoke) – Mandalay Lahpet Thoke or Tea Leaf Salad, I really loved this leafy – slight tea hinted salad, the fried garlic adds a different essence to this. The second salad was Tayat ti thoke or the Raw Mango Salad with roasted red chilly, cabbage, lettuce and caramelized onion. This is slightly tangy and hits the palate at the first bite, but gradually you get used to it. While I liked the Mandalay Lahpet Thoke, Rajarshee liked the Tayat ti thoke.
Then came the pyan boo palata or the creamed corn paratha. This is very interesting, the flaky paratha reminded me of the Ceylon paratha or the Kerala paratha we are used to having in Bangalore, this was accompanied by a creamy corn mash cooked in coconut milk. Its very hard to resist the temptation of finishing the entire bowl before you take a break.
Then we were served Crunchy Tofu Steamed buns , the white and soft buns are very very inviting.
Finally I got to try my most awaited dish the “Burma Burma ‘oh no khow suey” (when I had a posted the innovative invite in one of my social media – someone from Mumbai had messaged me, recommending this as a must try) , indeed it is very very delicious. All the ingredients coconut milk, lemongrass, tamarind flavor forms the perfect chemistry. This plate according to me is DIY stuff, due to the wide range of accompaniments served on the side and do as you please.
After this I was so full that I tried a bit of Stir fried vegetables – and Burmese style & Brown Onion and roasted chilly grilled sticky rice.
We ended our dinner with 2 desserts – Smokey avocado honey caviar ice cream & Tagu Pyian , sago cooked with palm jaggery and served with coconut custard. The presentation of both these desserts were superb. I could not help having 2 helpings of the Smokey avocado honey caviar ice cream, its creamy and very different.
This place also has a huge variety of tea as well. That night, I could only try Shangri-la green tea with peach n passion fruit flavor, which came along with Sunflower seeds and butter cookies. It looked like a ritual to savor the tea. The double layered cup in which we were offered the tea, was very interesting. I shall be back there to try their different variety of tea and I guess, I can spend half of my day here. They also sell very attractive merchandise and tea etc., displayed at the entrance. Right from the traditional welcome at the entrance (where they wipe the diners hand with the betel leaf), food, the interiors, the ambience of the place everything is amazing.
Hard core non-vegetarian like us, absolutely enjoyed the place and now I am talking about it to all my vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian friends to try it once. Considering the nicheness of the cuisine and the vegetarian fare, this will soon be a must visit for many in Indiranagar from all over Bangalore.