My friend Donut and I recently took a trip to San Francisco, and on the recommendation of more than one person, we sought out Burma Superstar. After boarding the wrong bus, we nearly got stranded on the wrong side of town and then, after boarding another bus, got dropped off on the side of what appeared to be a highway. We finally arrived, cold and starving, at a packed seemingly hole-in-the-wall eatery.
The best way I can describe Burmese food is a conglomerate of Thai, Indian and Vietnamese, which makes sense given its location. My dad being Burmese, I grew up exposed to this deliciousness thanks to my Auntie May, a very petite Burmese woman who, after more than 40 years in the U.S., can still barely speak English or see over the steering wheel of a car. But man, can she cook.
It’s been years since I’ve gotten to enjoy the delights of Auntie May, so I was excited to once again eat the foods of the Motherland. However, since calling a dish “coconut chicken” does one little good when trying to order off a menu with the foods’ real names, I did my best to guess what would be good, and I think Donut would agree, we both chose wisely.
“Coconut Chicken,” aka “Oh Noh Kauswer,” which is a Burmese style coconut noodle soup with chicken, onions, eggs, cilantro, and lemons.
We also got the Tea Leaf Salad, the Vegetarian Samusa Soup and, on an impulse, Sticky Fingers (the authenticity of which Donut questioned), all washed down with some Thai Iced Tea. Our eyes were bigger than our stomachs, but it was a great way to welcome us to San Francisco. If you’re ever in town, check it out!