Cheap Eats 2015: Mandalay

Where we go for our favorite, anything but boring cabbage-based salads.
Photograph by Andrew Propp.

One of our favorite antioxidant boosts is this Burmese restaurant’s green-tea-leaf salad. With a toss of cabbage, crisped yellow split peas, fried garlic, and fermented green-tea leaves, the dish is a riot of funk, flavor, and crunch. Cabbage-based salads are a big part of this cuisine. Two other good ones: a salad made with fresh ginger and a version with gram-flour fritters. Simple curries and noodle dishes round out the menu. Pork with pickled-mango curry has an appealing tart finish, while onion curries—we like the chicken-and-squash and the eggplant—are soothing comfort food. You can ramp up the spice by ordering a side of ba la chaung gyaw, an all-purpose condiment made from hot chilies, dried shrimp, and fried onion and garlic. For dessert, coconut-milk ice cream and sticky rice with brown sugar are terrific—even better eaten together.

Cuisine: Burmese

Where you can get it: 930 Bonifant St., Silver Spring; 301-585-0500

Also good: Vegetable soup with okra, eggplant, and split peas; tofu with coconut-cream curry; chicken with lemon, soy, crushed peanuts, and sesame-seed sauce.

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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.

Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.