Category Archives: Indian

Off the Grid at Fort Mason – San Francisco

Off the Grid is a a food truck experience more so than anything. I first stumbled on this event on Yelp, essentially a food truck market held once at a week at Fort Mason Center, which was once a military port.

Now I must admit, I’ve never been too fond of food trucks (especially those of the bourgeois sort), and Off the Grid didn’t really change my general opinion of them. Granted, there were a lot of interesting dishes I ended up having, given the sheer volume of trucks present on site.

Continue reading Off the Grid at Fort Mason – San Francisco

Advertisements

Bombay Bite – Westwood

There are only a handful of Indian restos near UCLA. Most are scattered on Westwood Blvd, south of Wilshire. I finally had the chance to try Bombay Bite, which is pretty close to the campus, earlier this year. Alvin and I intended to get Bruin Bowls for $5 (unfortunately, we were told that they’re only for takeout.)

Everything was unremarkable and expensive and portions were very small. I was not impressed.

My family has a penchant for good Indian food (especially lamb curries), so I was sorely disappointed by the dishes I had.

Address: 1051 Gayley Ave, Westwood, CA 90024 | Yelp

Peace, Justin

P.S. Indian food aficionados, there is a GOOD Indian buffet near the Westwood Pavilion mall called Jaipur that will not disappoint.

Golden City – Yangon

Golden City (ရွှေမြို့တော် ချစ်တီး စားတော်စက်) is a Yangon-based franchise serving Burmese-style Southern Indian (Chettiar) cuisine. Most tourists who go to Burma realize that Indian and Chinese restaurants are much more common than native Burmese ones, especially in the cities. I think it’s because locals would much rather eat home-cooked Burmese food.

The insides are clean and comfortable. It’s a rather spotless restaurant, but it’s thoroughly local. And there’s an army of waiters at your beck and call.

My dad ordered aloo poori (အာလူးပူရီ) with goat curry (ဆိပ်သားဟင်း), served in the traditional Southern Indian style. Potato poori (puff-like bread) is dipped into the curry sauce and eaten with the side of dahl. It was pretty tasty, but not warm enough. (Burmese people tend to eat curries once they’re cooled, but I’m not used to that at all. It’s sorta unappetizing.)

As appetizers, we got some samusas (ဆမူစာ). Burmese samusas look more like flat, triangle-shaped dumplings than their Indian counterparts. The insides are a bit saltier too. Since my aunt thought they’d been out for awhile, she asked them to refry these, which explains why they look so greasy.

Someone also ordered Panthay (Chinese Muslim) rice (ပန်းသေးထမင်းကြော်), which wasn’t distinct at all. It just tasted like Chinese fried rice.

Panthay (Chinese Muslim) noodles with chicken (ပန်းသေးခေါက်ဆွဲ). It’s a dish of noodles and meat curry in a lightly oiled sauce, topped off with egg. It’s not spicy, and has a very distinct masala spice scent.

A variation of Panthay (Chinese Muslim) noodles with goat meat.

All in all, the food was okay, but nothing spectacular.

Address: near Downtown?

Peace,

Justin

Nilar Briyani – Yangon

In Burma, biryani (dan pauk) is king. It’s the Burmese equivalent of McDonald’s in America. Yangon, the country’s biggest city, is literally is dotted with biryani shops dominated by a few famous chains, among them Kyet Shar Soon (ကြက်လျှာစွန်း), Nilar (နီလာ), and Shwe Nyaung Bin (ရွှေညောင်ပင်). Sadly, I only had biryani once during the trip, at the downtown branch of Nilar.

Making dan pauk (ဒံပေါက်) is a very arduous process that normal people can’t undertake everyday. My mom doesn’t even know how to make dan pauk by scratch and instead resorts to ready-made spice mixes (bought in Artesia’s Little India) or calls up Dan Pauk Mg Mg, a Burmese Indian guy renowned in the community for his biryani. (He’s the nephew of the founder of Burma’s largest biryani chain). I think Indians know their stuff when it comes to cooking biryani. They make the best sweetmeats too!

Unfortunately, by the time we got there, the mutton biryani, hseik-tha dan pauk (ဆိပ်သားဒံပေါက်) had run out so all of us settled for chicken biryani, which is still good and generously sized, for $2 USD a plate. The chicken was tender, almost fat free (not like the hormone-infested American chickens), and very flavorful. As with all heavy meals, the biryani came with side dishes including roselle leaf soup (very sour, might I add), fried chili paste and cabbage zested in lemon juice. All of these are given to balance out the richness of the oil-laden biryani.

In America, my mom tends to be the quieter one outside the home, but in Burma, she’s a completely different person. Without any language barriers, she and my auntie were able to convince the owner to give us durian ice cream for free. I love durian! 🙂

Address: No. 216, Anawrahta Street, Pabedan Township, Yangon

Peace,
Justin

Jasmine Market & Deli – Culver City

The restaurant itself is very unassuming—whitewashed walls and pinned up Arabic calligraphy and scriptures from the Quran. There’s also a small market in the back selling masala and other random Asian groceries, giving the place a mom-and-pop shop vibe.

As for the food, two words: cheap and good, my favorite combination. You order immediately at the door, and everything’s served on disposable plates. Service is at a minimal and no-frills.

I ordered the dal goash curry, lamb and dal bean cooked in Indian spices, along with naan and basmati rice and a side of sour vegetables (ah-chin in Burmese, to balance the richness of oil-based curries and heavy meals). At first, I almost choked on my food because I thought I had accidentally ordered beef. Luckily that wasn’t the case. The meal was satisfying indeed, although the naan was a little on the oily side. The curry itself was very pungent and rich, and apparently the lamb tastes exactly like beef.

Josie ordered lamb curry, which tasted similar to my curry, aside from the absence of beans. On the other hand, Saba ordered the vegetable curry, which was particularly well suited to the naan. I think Nicole ordered the beef boti kabab, but I can only wonder what that tasted like.

We also got Burmese-style samusas, which are basically flat triangle-shaped dumplings stuffed with potato, which came with a radioactive green sour dip with mint leaves. To my disappointment, they were smaller than I expected and sort of on the light side.

All in all, the meal was enjoyable and cheap at that. I’m coming again, to try out how good their Burmese dishes are.

Score: 4/5

– Justin

P.S. It’s the Food Coma team’s 2nd ever blogged outing! 🙂

Trader Joes

 

I’m so glad I live in front of Trader Joe’s! Amid the shitload of schoolwork I’ve been working on this week, I was less than motivated to cook anything OR wash anything for that matter.

So I dropped by TJ’s and got some Indian things, chana masalar, which are steamed chickpeas with masalar (curry powder), to eat with naan bread, which needs to be baked in an oven for about 2 minutes. The result was something pretty decent, although the naan was not flaky or buttery. Ah well.

– Justin

Mutiara – Inglewood

 

Resto Review: Inglewood’s Mutiara

Who would’ve thought of finding Burmese food in the heart of Inglewood? Unfortunately, the Burmese food is only served on the weekends. Mutiara is a standard no-frills restaurant, owned by Burmese Indian Muslims, serving mostly halal Indian and Malaysian food.

I didn’t take pictures of what all 12 of us ordered because the restaurant was near closing, but there was quite a variety, from chicken, beef and lamb curries with naan bread to mee goreng and other Malaysian dishes.

Unfortunately, they only cook biryani with goat meat on Fridays, so I ended up settling for their nasi biryani with chicken. The serving size was amazing, with my plate filled to the brim. But the Burmese biryani experience is never complete without sweet mango pickle and sour zested vegetables. What I got as the side dish was a disappointing American salad with ranch dressing. The rice wasn’t that flavorful and pretty bland as biryanis go (no cashew nuts, few raisins and not enough spices).

A lot of us ordered Burmese tea too, which is basically strong brewed Indian tea with condensed milk. I thought it was decent, not sweet and rich enough for my taste but smelled authentic.

+ I’m sad I didn’t bring a real camera to take better food pics, since I didn’t anticipate eating out. =(

Rating: 3/5

Dan pauk – Biryani

 

Biryani (dan pauk)

This is an update I should have made 3 weeks ago, when my family ordered Burmese biryani from a pretty well known Indian-Burmese guy who caters this SINGLE dish for a living. (I hate that his dog follows him inside our house when he delivers the trays but that’s another story altogether.) Now, mind you, cooking biryani is no easy task and only Indians are good at making it, because the spice mix is complicated and there’s yogurt involved too, which explains why my mom never even attempts to make this on her own.

Ingredients:
Long grained rice, curry-marinated chicken, raisins, cashew nuts, a ton of spices and turmeric. Eaten with a salad of zested onions and cucumber and a dollop of mango pickle.

Peace,

Justin