An invitation to try out the newest restaurant in town – Burma Burma got me curious about a cuisine I have only had the opportunity to try once. My only experience with this cuisine was quite enlightening and I realized after that meal there is so much I did not know about this beautiful yet simple country, its food and culture. Asian cuisine has gained a lot of popularity across the globe but it is rare to find a stand alone Burmese restaurant as I feel it hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves.
Myanmar formerly known as Burma is one of the more closed off countries being located between the more well known Thailand and Bangladesh with China and India as close neighbours. It’s location is probably one of the reasons its cuisine is heavily influenced by its neighbours, though I feel their cuisine does have its own original flavours. While Thai and Indian cuisine is more sweet and spicy, Burmese cuisine has more strong and pungent flavours. Burmese cuisine usually consists dishes from various regions of Myanmar with every region having its own style of cooking. One thing I love about Burmese cuisine is the kind of salads they dish out using simple ingredients like noodles, rice, vegetables to the more unique use of fermented tea leaves.
Burma Burma is the latest addition to Indira Nagar restaurant laden street – 12th Main. The restaurant is not new to those who are from Mumbai and Delhi as they have their outlets there too as well as in Gurugram. The idea behind opening a Burmese cuisine restaurant comes from the personal experience of one of the proprietors Ankit Gupta whose was mother was Burmese hence giving him an in depth knowledge about the cuisine. Though essentially Burmese, Burma Burma is a vegetarian restaurant which does not serve alcohol which is quite different as Burmese cuisine is known for its Pork and Fish dishes. I had my misgivings but a visit here would make you think again.
The restaurant has a vibrant yet traditional decor well complemented by modern styled sofas and fixtures. One cannot miss the woven cane wooden furniture, beautifully done lamps, glimpses of Burmese life via the framed pictures and my favourite bamboo hats. While it may seem there is large influence of Burmese decor, the restaurant is quite well distributed within its 2500 sq.ft. space divided into a main dining area, private dining area and separate section for tea enthusiasts.
My mom loves trying new cuisine and I know she hasn’t had a chance to try Burmese yet and I wanted her first experience to be an authentic one hence she was my company for this mea. We got ourselves at a quiet corner and started by trying their drinks. My choice, The Spiced Ginger was a blend of lime, ginger, green chillies and mint which was refreshing especially during the summer. My mom’s choice, The Eldragon was a combination of coconut water, dragon fruit and elderflower syrup which was quite fruity yet refreshing in its own way. The menu has a separate section on bubble teas ranging from Matcha, Yuzu, Oreo, Coco and many more. Since I am lactose intolerant, I decided to try Yuzu where milk is replaced a milk like alternative with the usual tapioca pearls giving it a very unique taste. If you are insistent on trying their bubble teas during a meal then I suggest you try their bubble teas in the beginning of the meal when you would appreciate the flavours than after a large meal.
The menu is quite exhaustive and I decided to take one course at a time. Next in line we the Soups which sounded quite appetising but we decided on the Samuza Hincho ( Samosa Soup) and Ngayokekaung Chinye (Burmese Pepper Soup). While the original names are quite a mouthful to pronounce I am glad they decided to mention the original names adding that authenticity to each preparation. While Samosas have never been a favourite, I quite liked it in the guise of a soup though the Burmese Pepper soup had my taste buds tingling with its simple yet distinct flavours. Their soups are hearty and delicious giving it a perfect feel of comfort food.
Next we decided to try some of their salads and without a doubt their famous Mandalay Laphet Thoke ( Tea Leaf Salad) was the immediate choice. This dish is one of the most common yet popular dishes in Burmese cuisine with its fermented tea leaves, garlic, nuts along with crunchy lettuce and tangy tomatoes. Since I am into clean and healthy eating I am always ordering Salads and this one salad I am going to remember for its very unique flavours. It may require more of an acquired taste for some, but I absolutely loved it. We also did try the delicious Tayat Thi Thoke (Raw Mango Salad) which may sound very Thai but had none of the expected flavours though using very similar ingredients such as peanuts and roasted red chillies.
Moving on to more interesting dishes, next we tried Tohu Kyaw (Chilly Tangy Chickpea Tohu) which is essentially chickpea tohu tossed in chilly tamarind sauce which once again was quite different yet tasty. There was no way I would not try a few of their Paukse (Steamed buns) and we tried the Crunchy Tofu and the one with caramelized onions and roasted chillies. While I was not very impressed with the crunchy tofu, I love the tangy and spicy combination of the latter.
Most Asian restaurants serve some version of the famous Khow Suey but their version called Oh No Khowsuey is classic. They do have different versions of the dish in their menu for those who prefer to try something different from the usual.
Though we really didn’t have room for anymore food, we were coaxed into trying their Special Tea Leaf Fried Rice and Stir Fried Vegetables with Tofu. Both dishes made with the use of tea leaves had its own unique flavours and I still cannot pick which I liked better as they were both stand out dishes and a must try!
For dessert, the manager suggested to try their Coco Pina which is a coconut based panacotta with toffee and pineapple beautifully presented. While I am originally from God’s own country, Kerala I loved the mild flavours of coconut delicately balanced with the flavours of the pineapple and toffee. I knew I could leave without trying their Avacado ice cream with honey caviar and I wasn’t disappointed in the least.
While my initial misgivings of eating at a vegetarian restaurant were quite obviously unfounded, I must say as a complete meateater and an experimental vegetarian I really enjoyed the meal. The full house for a lunch during mid week goes to show how well their food is appreciated by Bangaloreans.
The combination of delicious, healthy and comfort food in a warm, vibrant atmosphere makes it a great place to dine.
Address : 607, Ground Floor, 12th Main Road, 7th Cross, HAL 2nd Stage, Indiranagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560038
Phone : 080 4300 8120
Pic courtesy : RJ Heart & Soul, Burma Burma.