Kind of Indian with a twist? In praise of Burmese food!

How can a restaurant called Burma Superstar be one worth visiting? If it had not been for a friend of a friend, who happened to use a spare ticket for a play, I would never have thought of visiting this San Francisco gem! We showed up bright and early, dragged there to line up before the restaurant opened its doors. It was packed within 15 minutes of opening and people were lining up outside the door to put their names on the waitlist. This Clement Street restaurant is so popular that the owners have now opened a B Star in the next block that does most of the popular menu items, and now a regular Burma Superstar is open for business in the East Bay (Alameda).

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So what did we eat? The meal began with Samosa Soup – a tangy, filling soup with potatoes, broken up samosas, and something very much like the phulauri my mother puts in some of her curries. This was followed by a tea leaf salad – lots of crispy lettuce garnished with fermented green tea leaves and many kinds of chopped nuts, this salad is bursting with contrasting textures and flavors. The rainbow salad is a noodle salad with cold noodles and greens mixed in, lots of crunchy bits, and unique flavors in the dressing. There are lots of meat dishes, some fiery hot, but I loved the spicy stir fried tofu for its firm texture and flavor.

If one misses Burma Superstar due to long lines then B Star is a worthy alternative. The Samosa soup and the tea leaf salad are available, and for the main courses we have tried the chicken biryani, the green curry salmon pot pie and the staple spicy stir fried tofu. The food is wonderful, the wait staff a bit distracted and busy but friendly, and I cannot imagine not having a Burmese meal at Superstar or B Star when I am in the city. The food is a cross between the earthily spicy Indian and the lightly spicy Thai – more Indian in textures and flavors, but with many unique ingredients that are blended in with mastery by the chef. So far 10 visits and counting…….

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11 Responses

  1. Sounds yummy, will definitely try when I am in SF next.

  2. Thanks! It is perfect for the Indian palate, fiery but a little different.

  3. Thanks Neela !! Will try sometime. Have u visited Alameda location ?? That would be closer to my place.

  4. It should be fine – I read some reviews and the usual dishes were highly praised. The Samosa soup and Tea leaf salad are a MUST!

  5. I am actually a big fan of good food and this article made my mouth water water. I have to go to SF soon just for that. By the way, if you ever come to NY let me know and I will give you a list of the best NY restuarants that you will have to go to.

  6. Bond Ji – I am sure there are Burmese restaurants in the New York area too. Although it is true that the Far Eastern Cuisines are done better in California. Will check with you on places to eat when I am in NY next.

  7. Short & sweet review 🙂

    Checked SB archives now…what happened ? 😦 Why were you so bitter? Did anyone was rude to you?

  8. Thanks for that bit about Burmese food in South Africa. I will look out for it on my next Africa trip – I go there somewhat frequently. Crustacean seems out for me – I am a vegetarian now!

  9. Pakhi

    If you love Burmese food than you have to try it at a South African restaurant. Puzzled ? well as the late Paul Harvey would say, here is the rest of the story.

    Decades ago a lot of Burmese people escaped the internal turmoil in their country by migrating to South Africa. There in Jo Burg, & Cape Town & Durban, thanks to abundance of wealth (relatively speaking), Burmese cuisine experienced a renaissance. One can even say the finest Burmese food is found in South Africa.

    I am a foodie. I can travel miles (1000s of them) by plane, train, automobile or a good meal (even a slice of pizza). I love Burmese food, the dish that I like the most is a noodle soup called “Khousay”. Now there are many types of noodle soups in the world. Vietnam has a few wonderful noodle soups, Malaysia has some terrific noodle soups (spicy, aromatic & smoooKING), but the two personal favorites are i) “Lagman” from Urgur region (people here look Chinese, speak Russian but are ethnically Turkish) and ii) Burmese Khousay (prefer if the Chef is Burmese South African).

    Anyway, the next time I am in Northern California, I will swing by Burma Superstar, Thank you for the recommendation. But if you find yourself in San Fran again, go visit Crustacean @ 1475 Polk St, for some wonderful Vietnamese food. Try Their Roast Crabs (if you eat non veg) and Garlic Noodles. It would be a crime to go there and not try their Roast Crab.

  10. Oh thanks PakaoBhai – about SB, long story.

  11. Some one said this is a good one. I will check it out soon. I am posting it here in case you have any family or friends who live in NYC.

    http://www.kutahouse.com/frameset.htm

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