I can say at this point with great certainty that I love Burmese food. Like many other Southeast Asian cuisines, Burmese has that amalgamation of Chinese and Indian sorts of notes that I enjoy. Thai is of course most folks’ exposure in this area, and that is great – even if this is the inauthentic “Pad Thai” sort. Personally, there are often more sweet notes there than I need. Burmese instead brings more pure heat and Indian curry sorts of notes – and I am sure I am articulating this totally incorrectly.
Anyway, so far, the only chance I’ve had to to explore this was the highly estimable Mandalay in Silver Spring. As the review I wrote for THAT reason showed, I am a big fan. So it is with some level of delight that I can say that Myanmar, Falls Church’s Burmese entry – is better, and one of the “must go” places in the area. The place – like many of these treasures – is located in a nondescript strip mall off of Lee Highway. The service is a little slow I suppose – they don’t get the orders wrong or anything – but the food more than makes up for it.
For the appetizer, we ordered lentil puffs. These deep fried darlings were well made, without an excess of oil, and a surprising lightness. The side sauce was a good sweet and spicy sauce. We also ordered soup, the mohingar – the fish and noodle soup. They served the noodles separately from the soup which was probably a poor decision – the noodles did not taste like anything. However the soup itself had great flavor – the spice and the fish come together nicely.
The other two dishes we had though were what separates the meal really. The salad was a delightful chickpea tofu – a Burmese specialty that I had never had before. The salad looks like it should be mango or something. The tofu is a unique texture, and augments the very complex salad nicely. The meat course we got was the chili pork belly. The wait staff warned us it would be hot – and we like the heat – but this delivered in ways I did not anticipate. The flavor of the gravy and pork belly was of course magnificent, and the belly was perfectly cooked. Hey, it’s pork belly! It was also, as mentioned earlier, spicy. It was very spicy, and the heat does not go away. It is not so hot as to kill the tastebuds, but it is not for the faint of heart in the least. But on the evidence of the flavor, other more benign dishes will be of high quality.
Myanmar is clearly NoVa’s best Burmese choice – and it might be the best around period.