Mandalay Restaurant & Café
930 Bonifant St.
Silver Spring/Takoma Park, MD 20910
Neighborhood: Silver Spring/Takoma Park
Cuisines: Vegetarian/Vegan, Burmese
Open Monday through Thursday 11:30 to 2:30 and 5 9:30, Friday and Saturday 11:30 to 2:30 and 5 to 10, Sunday noon to 2:30 and 5 to 9:30.
Nearby Metro Stops: Silver Spring
Price Range: Inexpensive
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Not Needed
Squash fritters; spring roll salad; ginger salad; fermented tea leaf salad; sliced pork with sour mustard greens; LetThoke Sone, four styles of noodles; stirfry of broad noodles, egg, and shrimp; catfish in red sauce; ShweJi, a Cream of Wheat cake.
Why go: Burmese food echoes the complex spices of India and the tangy heat of Thailand. The Myint family manages to make the new and unfamiliar reassuring, taking a home-style approach in the front of the house—courtesy of brothers Joe and Aung—and in the kitchen, which turns bold flavors into hearty dishes.
What to get: Crisp, deep-fried fritters of Asian squash; a salad of shredded ginger, yellow peas, and carrots (with or without the addition of fish sauce); an earthier salad featuring fermented tea leaves; sliced pork with sour mustard greens; LetThoke Sone, which combines four styles of noodles; and ShweJi, a cake of Cream of Wheat, coconut, and milk—as marvelous a dessert as you’ll find anywhere for three bucks.
Best for: Vegetarians. The menu amounts to a mix-and-match of protein and sauce, and there’s no drop-off at all in swapping tofu for pork or chicken in any of these dishes; in fact, in many instances, the lighter versions are superior.
Insider tip: To guarantee heat and pungency, request that a dish be prepared “College Park style”—a nod to the restaurant’s previous location.
Open daily for lunch and dinner.
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