Sunday, October 25, 2009
Burma Super Star: Super Star Indeed
I was so pleasantly surprised when the hype around Burma Super Star in Clement, San Francisco's other Chinatown, turned out to be true. Most everything we had was delicious and for this Burmese food novice, a complete joy to discover new combination of flavors (fermented tea leaves) and textures (fried garlic, peanuts).
Let's start with the chicken casserole with cardamom cinnamon rice, that was a cornucopia of braised chicken, shrimp baked with biryani rice and raisins and topped with peas, cilantro and sliced almonds. The dish was as good as it sounds. The soft chicken and sauces melded very well with the rest of the ingredients, such as the crunchy almonds.
My favorite dishes hands down were the starters, however. The tea leaf salad was almost beyond words. Who knew fermented tea leaves could add such a nice edge to a plain ol' romaine lettuce and tomato salad? The leaves were slightly bitter but blended so well with the sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and peanuts. The salad barely had any dressing but wasn't dry at all. If you're going to order one thing, this is it. Plus, it's guilt-free. I could easily have this every time I go. It was also a treat seeing our server toss the salad at the table -- although it did feel a bit gimmicky. I mean, do they really do that in Burma, I wonder?
The fried calamari was a thing to behold to begin with but could the batter be any lighter and fluffier with so much flavor? It was straight up fantastic. It came with some kind of lemony sauce that made something fantastic even better, if that's possible.
The calamari was also virtually flash-fried so that the flesh was soft and not overly chewy and tough. I could have this for breakfast. And lunch. And...you get the idea.
Another winner among the appetizers was the samusas, similar to Indian samosas, filled with curried veggies in what seemed like filo dough-type skin and deep fried with a delicious sauce. The samusas were crisp and not too greasy, and the filling was perfectly seasoned and the slightly spicy dip made it all come together.
The main dishes were good but not nearly as good as the starters. I already mentioned the chicken casserole. The other one was a noodle dish served room temperature with cucumber, potatoes, onions and chicken, which was mediocre. This one was probably the only one I wasn't crazy about.
In any case, go early as the seats fill up very quickly by 11:30 am on weekends.
Burma Super Star
309 Clement Street
San Francisco, CA 94118