Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >
Jul 7, 2006 02:54 PM

Myanmar in Falls Church, oh my god

others on this board have raved about myanmar, so i was ready for good, perhaps great.

but myanmar is sensational. NOTHING i ate was less than perfection, and sheer love shone through in every bite i had. eating here is eating at your favourite aunts kitchen when shes in a mood to spoil you.

dishes you may want to check out (other than the ones mentioned in earlier posts) - wonderfully balanced mango salad, tofu in a tomato sauce thats a dead ringer for what we maharastrians call 'saar' and mutton curry. the tofu/tomato sauce dish is subtle and easy to dismiss, but its worth paying attention to. and the mutton curry - is it ok to admit i shed a tear or two eating it? (btw, its properly goat and not lamb, 'cos thats how we understand mutton in the subcontinent).

good lord, what a treasure trove nova is turning out to be. i think the alpha dog would go into sensory overload here.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Try the squash fritters. Don't let the word fritter throw you. These are ethereal, with a fantastic dipping sauce.

    1. As someone who has been to Burma several times, other relatively authentic dishes are the pickled tea leaf salad, the Nanjee Thoke noodles, the Let Thooke Sone noodle salad, anything with mustard or sour greens, pumpkin curry, noodles with Vadana Peas. Also good is the shrimp and bean sprout salad which didn't used to be on the menu.

      For a really authentic experience, have your dishes cooked with "ngapi" the pungeant shrimp paste that is present just about every dish back in Burma.

      1 Reply
      1. re: tigerjohn

        N.B. I'm not surprised by tigerjohn's comments about authenticity. I tried the pork with sour greens once and it is REALLY pungent. Actually quite tasty but that first bite was a shocker.

      2. just went again.

        still thought the mango salad, the okra, the tofu and tomato sauce and the mutton curry were the magical highpoints.

        it looks like dishes at myanmar polarise people: for example, i didn't get very excited about the ginger salad or the mustard green chicken but folks here dig it a lot.

        finally - the place was hopping last night with a wait of 20 minutes. i think you do better here if you go at quieter times - the kitchen looked overwhelmed.

        4 Replies
        1. re: howler

          Well, I'm one of their biggest fans. But best to wait until the hoopla dies down after they were written up last week in (I think) the Post Weekend section. I always have such mixed feelings when a small, excellent, ethnic place gets a really good write-up. I hope they maintain their authenticity.

          1. re: howler

            "hopping" is good to hear. I haven't been there in over a year, but I was last there during prime dinner time on a friday night and it was anything but hopping. Its been tough to get back because my S.O. is not a fan and I rarely find myself in Merrifield without a special trip.

            1. re: howler

              There are a couple of items on the menu listed as 'fries'. These are condiments, not fried potatoes. Did you notice them? I can't remember what they are made of, but they really are wonderful on top of and mixed into the rest of the food.

              1. re: Steve

                one of them is fried garlic, hot dried pepper and dried shrimp. My favorite but difficult to convince them I really do want it. When I do, they don't hold anything back in the preparation of it.

                The other one is sour as I recall.

                While we're on the subject, I recently saw in Budget Travel magazine that you can buy the green tea leaf salad kits in grocery stores in Burma. If I should ever make it there, I know what I'm bringing back with me.

            2. They have been written up in the Post before and survived, even expanded their menu to include the mutton curry which you had to ask for before.

              to be honest, it is not that authentic, but many of the flavors are there, and they are different than anything else. That is why it is so good.

              11 Replies
              1. re: tigerjohn

                why the inauthentic charge? the mutton curry, the okra, the mango salad, the tofu/tomato are all items you'd get at your burmese friends house.

                1. re: howler

                  they don't use ngapi, and they don't have all the right herbs and spices. I shouldn't have said "not authentic". I should have said "not like burma but doing well given what they have to work with."

                  1. re: tigerjohn

                    surely you aren't expecting ngapi in the mutton curry or the mango salad, are you?

                    in any case, the restuarant probably feels that ngapi is perhaps too strong an ingredient. a bit like chinese restaurants and stinky tofu, though of course stinky tofu isn't as common an ingredient as ngapi.

                    1. re: howler

                      I would expect ngapi in the mutton curry. the mutton curry is, however, one of their more authentic dishses. I wouldn't expect it in the mango salad, but the mango salad doesn't have the same taste as in burma. maybe I am being too picky. I like the restaurant a lot. I just like burmese food in Burma more. Maybe my negativity will inspire people to get to Burma.

                2. re: tigerjohn

                  Since I can't reply below, I'll reply here. For both Howler and Tigerjohn, I certainly hope there is better Burmese food in Burma, just as I hope there's better Thai food in Thailand, etc

                  A group of eight Chowhounds had a terrific meal at Myanmar that showed impressive range and depth. Now I'm definitely going to Google 'ngapi.'

                  1. re: Steve

                    Don't know if you will find anything for "ngapi" as that is just my own creative spelling. it is similar to thai "gapi" but more pungeant. Just about every dish has it at your standard Htyamin shop restaurant over there. But aside from a place Philly and couple in LA, this is the most authentic Burmese restaurant I have been at.

                    1. re: tigerjohn

                      Is Mandalay remotely authentic? I wouldn't always gets spoken of favorably though

                    2. re: Steve

                      hey steve, did you try out the tomato/tofu dish? i was sooooo impressed with it as i was with the okra dish. it takes serious skill to handle vegetables like that - the mutton curry was simply a confirmation of the excellence of the mango salad, so to speak.

                      anyway, i'm in sag harbor now, exiled from the delightsof nova.

                      you are so lucky.

                      1. re: howler

                        Have not tried it, but when I get back from vacation in Canada (don't get me started), it's the first meal I'm planning on. Next time you plan on being in DC from London, give me a shout and I'll get a group together in your honor.

                        1. re: howler

                          Got back to Myanmar, my first visit since they came out with a new menu. You were absolutely right about the tomato tofu dish as well as the mutton curry. Such depth of flavor in simple looking dishes.
                          Also, the ngapi is available to add as a condiment. It used to be listed under 'Fries,' but is now listed under 'Sides' as the first item, balachaung (ngapi gyaw).

                          On all my previous visits the place was near deserted. Today all the tables were filled and others had to wait.

                          1. re: Steve

                            thanks for going back and checking it out. so now i'm sure i wasn't dreaming.

                            and the mango salad ... i have dreams about the mango salad.

                            you really are so lucky.

                    3. Mmmmmm, I wish I could get to Myanmar Restaurant in the near future. I love that place. Like Howler, I'm "stuck" up here in NJ/NYC, where there are no good Burmese restaurants. (And our Ethiopian places are a big step down from yours, too.)

                      On the other hand, we've got Sripraphai. And WAY better public transportation.

                      By the way, I can't speak to its authenticity, but Mandalay in Silver Spring, MD, is great too. After being blown away by Myanmar Restaurant, I thought nothing could compare, but Mandalay was also impressive. Interestingly, Tyler Cowen no longer puts Myanmar in his list of "SOME PLACES YOU MUST TRY," but Mandalay *is* in that list. My folks would probably concur with that, but I think they're both awesome.

                      That particular street in Silver Spring must be blessed because an African place across the street also gets rave reviews. I'd love to try it someday but I never get to the D.C. area except with my folks and they don't like African.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Ike

                        I find Mandalay less authentic and less good than Myanmar. Too many of the curries have the same base. Not enough of the right flavors in the salads. I love Roger Millar, the african place you are talking about.

                        1. re: tigerjohn

                          Speaking of African, have you tried Chez Auntie Libe? I'd put it light years ahead of Roger Miller in terms of careful, lovingly prepared food.

                        2. re: Ike

                          Ah, the mention of Sripraphai brings tears to my eye. What heaven.