The Burman Kitchen
THE BURMAN KITCHEN, a narrow store opposite the train line in Granville, is setting the bar for Burmese food in Sydney. You’ll recognise a bit of Thai in the citrus, chilli and herbs, some Chinese in the stir-fried noodles and Indian influences in biryanis and curries – it shares borders with all your takeaway favourites. If there’s a dish that unites the Burmese, it’s mohingha. This revered rice noodle soup is dense with cooked, shredded white fish and a little flour to thicken the seafood broth. Bolder flavours, mostly from fermented fish sauce, are found in ngapi yea, a pungent dip that is eaten with a platter of fresh and cooked vegetables and mint and coriander to counter the strong, salty taste. Some of the curries run mild: try the spicy lamb and split pea curry touched with cumin and coriander to give it warmth, not heat. Pair it with a bowl of buttered steamed rice, and the overall effect is similar to Persian-style braised lamb and rice dishes. The influences of Chiang Mai and Yunnan just a jump over the northern Shan State border can’t be ignored in this cuisine. Shan Noodles grab Thai mountain area flavours in the cold rice noodles flecked with red chilli spiced pork mince while the htamin jin – a mix of steamed rice, potato, fish and tomato that looks like a soft arancini ball – makes the best of the rivers and rice terraces of Southern China. If you’ve only ever thought of tea as a drink, then the tea leaf salad (lahpet thohk) gives a whole new twist to a cuppa – soft, soaked fermented tea leaves are mixed with halved green tomatoes and given crunch from peanuts, fried broad beans, split peas and bean sprouts.