Sherman's Food Adventures: Burma Place

Burma Place

So after a long day at the San Diego Safari Park (we stayed until the bitter end!), we had to pick up our car at Escondido Lexus.  They had done the repairs on the tire and we had to return our loaner.  Even with all that going on, food was still on our minds and we decided to deviate from our original plan.  We'd had enough of burgers and sandwiches, hence we took a chance at a random place in Burma Place.  Burmese (Myanmar) food is rather hard to come by (and this one is apparently the only one in San Diego), so we put our name on the Yelp wait list and got a table once we arrived.

Naturally, the one dish we had to get was the Tea Leaf Salad.  Widely considered as one of the most popular Burmese dishes, this version consisted of romaine lettuce, fried yellow beans, garlic chips, sesame & sunflower seeds, peanuts, tomatoes, jalapenos and crushed dried shrimp tossed with fermented green tea leaf dressing.  I've had this a few times before and I've never seen romaine lettuce as an ingredient.  However, I enjoyed the fresh crisp lettuce as it broke up some of the heaviness of the ingredients.  Beyond the obvious tea flavor, the salad featured layers of texture including the firm crunch of the fried yellow beans, peanuts and garlic chips.  There was also a wealth of flavors including tangy, salty, aromatics, brininess and a touch of spice.  

Onto a relatively simple dish, we had the Salt & Pepper Fried Tofu with scallions, jalapenos fried and garlic.  Cut into bite-sized cubes, the tofu was fried beautifully where the outside was super crispy and light while the inside was delicate and airy.  There was enough seasoning that the side of sweet and spicy sauce was not necessary (although I did still use it).

To go with our orders of rice, we selected a few dishes that were rather impactful.  The first was the Garlic Pork with fried garlic, onion and fish sauce. Oh this was an explosion of rich saltiness and aromatics.  Definitely good with the rice as we could taste the soy, garlic and fermented brininess of the fish sauce.  Add in the ample amount of tender slices of pork, this was very addictive.  Didn't hurt that there was considerable amount of wok caramelization too.

Next up was the Burmese Chicken Curry, which was stealthily the best dish of the meal.  I mean, by looks alone, this was monochromatic and didn't elicit much excitement.  However, when we ate this with rice, the flavors were rich and delicious.  Loved the balance of the sauce where we definitely got hits of cumin and turmeric, but the earthiness and slight brininess ensured layers of flavor.  The chicken itself was tender and took on the spices within the curry.  Loved the potatoes too as they were tender and soaked up the curry as well.

If the Sesame Beef looks rather familiar to you, like say, ginger beef...  You are right.  This had all of the elements of the Americanized Chinese dish.  Hence, we found crisp slices of tender beef bathed in a sweet and tangy sauce.  Now unlike ginger beef, this wasn't exactly gingery, rather it was tangy in a vinegary sense.  It was nicely balanced and of course went well with our bowls of rice.

In addition to our white rice, we also go the Garlic Noodles with chicken.  Similar to a Chinese lo mein where noodles are tossed in a sauce, this one featured a bevy of fried garlic and onion as well as julienned cucumber on top.  The side of sauce was tangy with some spice.  As for the wide egg noodles, they were al dente with a nice chewiness.  Loved the crunch of the fried garlic as it added texture.  The small strips of chicken were tender despite being white meat.

Our last item was the obligatory veggie dish and it happened to be the Broccoli with Garlic.  This was a simple stir-fry that was nicely executed.  Broccoli florets were cooked through but still crunchy and topped with fried garlic and onions.  There was enough wok caramelization as well as seasoning.  Overall, we really enjoyed our meal at Burma Place.  Sure, some of the dishes weren't really Burmese, but they were delicious nonetheless.  Something a bit different than what we had been eating on this trip so far.  If we actually lived in San Diego, we'd go back in a heartbeat.

The Good:
- Well-executed and tasty food
- Friendly staff
- Lots of parking

The Bad:
- Gets pretty busy, staff are doing their best but hard to flag down


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