I must admit that even though I’m from the Southeast Asian part of the world, I don’t actually know very much about Myanmar, or Burma as it was called.
My information was pretty limited to The King and I, and now hopefully, Free Burma Cafe.
The Free Burma Cafe was borne out of the desire to hire Burmese workers who were displaced when they had to come to Australia. This then blossomed into a small cafe; artfully decorated and clean, located in Vietnamese suburb of Springvale in Melbourne.
As much as I adore Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, I never could quite place the flavours of Burma. Initial googling suggested curries of some sort, and it seemed to be milder in nature than the spice bomb of Thailand.
Shwe Pyon di Kyaw hni Kyet Thon Kyaw (Pumpkin and Onion Fritters), $7.50
The Pumpkin and Onion fritters had a sweetness to them, especially when eaten with the sweet chilli dipping sauce. It gave quite a satisfying crunch and had a depth that only cooked onions can provide.
The bananas in the Green Banana Curry provided a starchy texture much like what potatoes would have provided, and the curry was mild, both in aromatics and in spice. It still provided a hearty richness that you expect of curry though, even though it seems to be missing a discernible kick of flavour that I’ve come to crave when eating curry of any sort.
Htin baw thee tho (Spicy Papaya Salad), $14
Similarly, the Spicy Papaya Salad wasn’t spicy at all, and was fairly light-handed on the seasoning. I still enjoyed it as far as a papaya salad though, but maybe more because of my penchant for green papaya more so than the dish.
And so I walk away with more questions than I walked into the cafe with: is Burmese food really on the milder side of things, or is it the cook that they had on that day? Or is it the particular dishes that we ordered? The man at the counter unfortunately didn’t seem particularly articulate in answering our questions, and so maybe I should return to Google.
Can anyone recommend a good Burmese restaurant where I can learn a bit more about the cuisine?