Cheap Eats 2011: Myanmar

This basic cafe may be less elegant than others in the area, but the kitchen delivers on texture, spice, and simmered curries that channel the Thai, Indian, and Chinese influences woven into Burmese cooking. We like to start with something from the fryer–such as batter-dipped squash batons or spectacular bundles of watercress fritters dipped in tamarind-chili sauce–then balance it with the crunchy, earthy pickled tea-leaf salad. Coconut shrimp with snow peas leans heavily on Thai red-curry flavors, while a ginger-spiked pumpkin curry swims in lush, sweet onion gravy. If you’re sharing family style, sample the fiery chili pork belly last–its heat is so powerful that it might blur the rest of the flavors on the table.

Also good: Onho kaukswe, a coconut-based chicken soup; lentil fritters; a salad of house-made tofu, fried garlic chips, and chili flakes; paratha flatbread; spicy broth of tofu and pickled mustard greens.

Open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner.

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 Petworth.