Cheap Eats 2007: Mandalay

Thursday is a good day to head to this sprawling Burmese eatery. You beat the weekend crowds, and it’s the only day you can get ohnhta min, a dish of pure comfort that brings together coconut rice and tender chicken-on-the-bone in a fragrant onion curry.

There are myriad other attractions on Mandalay’s lengthy menu. Salads are a mainstay, and while cabbage, onion, shredded carrots, fried onions, and a chili-flecked sweet-spicy dressing are recurring motifs, the variations can be striking. Baya Gyaw Thoke features yellow split-pea fritters (Burma’s answer to the crouton), which amplify the crunch of the cabbage.

A toothsome pork-and-mango curry, along with a medley of chicken and crushed peanuts scented with lemon and soy and dabbed with sesame-seed sauce, are as bright as they are hearty. Shweji, a coconuty cream-of-wheat cake studded with raisins, is a keeper and even better with a scoop of house-made coconut-milk ice cream.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.