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Burmese Food Fair - Agust 12

j
Jonathan Saw Jul 17, 2006 05:27 PM

I missed this last year and the reports sounded great. The Burmese Baptist Church has put out the info for the fair again. It's earlier than last year.

I've pasted the link here:
http://shwemyanmar.net/catalog/newsde...

Anyone planning on going? Spoony are you making the trek this year too?

  1. jen kalb Aug 18, 2006 06:36 PM

    total bummer! was looking forward on your take on the event.
    There's always next summer.

    1. j
      Jonathan Saw Aug 18, 2006 04:04 PM

      Damn damn damn. I had convinced myself that this was on Sunday so that's when I drove by. 5 minutes of frantic mobile web searching later and I knew I was SOL. Next year for sure!!

      Good thing my mother is going to Burma this weekend for 10 days, so I'll have to place an order with her.

      1. n
        nizzer Aug 14, 2006 03:07 PM

        My wife and I went to the fair at about 1:30 and had a wonderful time. Was about as authentic as can be what with the lack of any signs in English. Nothing was out of this world but everything we tried we enjoyed thoroughly. Everyone was friendly and the food was more than affordable.

        One lives in New York for many reasons. The chance to experience a slice of another culture, unadulterated and lovely on a Saturday afteroon is certaintly one of the reasons we still do!

        1. Peter Cuce Aug 13, 2006 01:21 AM

          I got back a few hours ago from my first visit to the Burmese Food Fair. It wasn't hard to find at all, although the directions on the flyer were not very clear. It was quite a journey from Park Slope, but worth every minute of it. As a chowhound, I can't imagine a better way to spend a day. It's as if the only Burmese restaurant in New York opened only once a year -- I can't imagine why everyone wouldn't want to go.
          For less than $20, I got to try nearly everything they had to offer. Unfortunately, I don't know the romanized names of anything I had, but I did take pictures of the signs, which I will post later this week, along with pictures of the corresponding food. Nothing was amazing, but I was able to sample a bunch of things I've never had before. How often can you say that? It was similar to the first time I had real Indonesian food, a year or two ago. Wow, an entirely different taste.
          The people were very friendly, without fail. Many asked how I had found out about it, and when I mentioned Chowhound, a number of them said that others had also talked about it. I'm guessing some of the other non-Burmese (and possibly some of the Burmese as well) I saw there were Chowhounds. I was there around 4pm.

          I think, but am not sure, that this is the label that goes with the pictures of the thousand layer pancake that follow. Maybe someone can translate.
          Name:
          http://static.flickr.com/79/213560904_c2e9515123.jpg
          Pancakes:
          http://static.flickr.com/80/213561039_e5a7dc3eda.jpg
          http://static.flickr.com/68/213561205_1f16eef99e.jpg
          http://static.flickr.com/87/213561396...

          2 Replies
          1. re: Peter Cuce
            jen kalb Aug 13, 2006 02:16 AM

            We were there earlier in the day, and enjoyed it as always - thought the food was actually better than last year - we actually scored the tiny little rice flour cakes they were making in the rear left corner for the first time this year - they are really a labor of love, totally impractical for this large a gathering. the roti, papaya salad, chicken and rice and that sour vegetable mix over noodles (think it is tha nat sone) were all very good, and I am looking forward to the noodles with chicken curry, egg and veg that we brought home. We had a couple of desserts and brought some home - the sweet milky coffee was good, too. Finally, we brought home some containers of porky and fishy dried mix to eat with rice - this stuff was a winner, and we enjoyed it all last year. Wow, what a nice day, nice people.

            It will be great to hear what other people have to say.

            1. re: jen kalb
              Ike Aug 15, 2006 05:12 PM

              I agree that it was even better than last year. Not quite as excellent as Myanmar Rest. in Falls Church VA, but still great. Only about a 35- or 40-minute ride on the E train from midtown (about 55 min. from WTC), and then a 10-minute walk through a very nice suburban neighborhood. More trees than many parts of Queens. Very worthwhile, IMHO.

              I got there at 2:30 and was ravenous. Grabbed a chicken and noodle dish (with the white opaque somewhat thick noodles; $6, I think) from one of the places on the right as you walk in. Asked for it spicy, and they made it spicy. Yum! The best thing I ate there all day, except perhaps the thousand-layer pancake. Jen, you called it roti, and yes it's very similar, but most Burmese restaurants translate it as thousand-layer pancake. Speaking of which, there was a very long wait for this. Incredibly popular. Lots of Burmese folks were getting several of them, with some to take home I guess, but if you just wanted one, you could get it in about five min. $3. Mmmmm. Flaky, buttery, wonderful. The yellow bean mash that came with it was yellow split peas, I'm guessing. I asked about it and said, "That's not chickpeas, is it?" (looked like it, but didn't taste like it) and they said no, and then haltingly said, "Goya... you know Goya? ... ummmm ... garbanzo ... garbanzo beans!" but that can't be right, because garbaznos = chickpeas! It's a different taste than that.

              I also got a pork thing with angel hair pasta. $4 I think. Pork looked like mushrooms in this dish. I asked and a little kid, whose mom (?) was making it, said, "That's jasmine noodles with pork, not mushrooms, but there are mushrooms in there." Well I didn't see any mushrooms when I was eating it, but it was very good.

              After all this, I was sated. A great lunch for about $13. If only the DJ/game hawker would've stopped blowing his whistle directly into his microphone at eardrum-piercing volume.

              Then I got a dessert with condensed milk and... jackfruit?... for $3. Not bad. Too much food. I sat down and started nodding off, and on, and off, for quite a while.

              Later, I snapped out of my dozing state, helped by a $2 Thai/Burmese iced tea (though I think they gave me iced coffee instead... ick... I'm not a coffee person and that really unsettled my stomach) and I met some non-Asian people who'd heard about this festival on this board. Sorry I was too shy to introduce myself to even more people I figured were probably chowhounds, like you guys, Peter, Nizzer and Jen. Some other time, hopefully.

              And I bought a bunch of things to take home, including the sour vegetable mix (which is quite possibly even better eaten cold than warmed up) and noodles with chicken curry, egg and veg that Jen refers to above. And something else... memory is fuzzy, and I'm not at home right now, so I can't check. Lots and lots of great take-away food for about $20. Beautiful.

          2. i
            Ida Red Aug 12, 2006 04:26 PM

            Does the Burmese Food Fair really end at 6:00? Or do venders hang around for a while longer?
            ...OK, one day later and I can answer my own question... by 5:30 there were many choices left but limited choices and by 6:30 they were packing up the tables.

            1. Ike Jul 19, 2006 05:07 PM

              I went last year for the first time and I thought it was a lot of fun. I'd say there were more like a dozen vendors and lots of tasty fascinating food. Maybe not quite as excellent as Myanmar Restaurant in Falls Church, VA, or Mandalay in Silver Spring, MD, but very good nonetheless, and the best Burmese you're gonna get around here, that's for sure. It's about a 15-minute walk from the subway up a long pretty winding suburban street (unless you walk slowly). I'm putting it on my calendar again this year. I recommend it to anybody who loves Asian food. Burmese, though it includes Thai, Indian and Chinese influences, is a whole different facet of the Asian cuisine experience.

              Stuartlafonda said: "...nothing knocked my socks off or sent me searching for Burmese restaurants in New York." Well, just for the record, there aren't any in NYC, or none worth bothering with, unless I'm missing something. That place on 7th St. in the East Village is mediocre at best.

              1. MOREKASHA Jul 19, 2006 04:03 PM

                I think it's worth a detour. It's not that hard to find. Just don't get the satays from the Heavy metal kids. How bad can it be when someone's mom or grand mother is making fresh noodles for you? If there were more Burmese restaurants, or any good places in NYC, then i could see NOT going but, Burmese is hard to find.

                I hav egone for 6 years, the food is generally pretty good. Not great, but good.

                1. p
                  Pan Jul 19, 2006 06:23 AM

                  stuartlafonda, was the food from those half dozen vendors good enough to justify a trip from Manhattan, in your opinion?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Pan
                    s
                    stuartlafonda Jul 19, 2006 01:28 PM

                    Tough call. I don't know much about Burmese food but I suspect it is hard to find the real stuff in the New York area and this is certainly an opportunity for that. The location is out of the way and even by car was not easy to find. Unless I was a huge fan, I don't know that I would come from Manhattan by mass transit just for this. Last year they had a Burmese rock band that was quite interesting. I was there for maybe an hour or so. If you could combine it with something else your doing that day, great, otherwise I'm not so sure it is worth it. Food was good, nothing knocked my socks off or sent me searching for Burmese restaurants in New York.

                  2. bolletje Jul 17, 2006 06:27 PM

                    I'm going to try and make it to this.
                    I love Burmese food and also any kind of fair.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: bolletje
                      el jefe Jul 18, 2006 02:04 AM

                      I've been to the fair every year for the past 3 years, but I'll have to miss this one. It's a great time and the food is equal or better to anything I've had in Burma. I'll be making my 4th trip there in January.

                      1. re: el jefe
                        Ike Aug 10, 2006 05:26 PM

                        Too bad you won't be at the fair this time, El Jefe. Enjoyed meeting you last year.

                        I'll be there, so any other hounds around, come say hi -- I'm a white dude, 5'10", about 155 lbs., brown hair, brown eyes. (Just to reiterate, this is Aug. 12, 2006 that we're talking about.)

                        J. Saw, thanks for linking to that flyer.

                    2. s
                      stuartlafonda Jul 17, 2006 05:40 PM

                      I believe that is the same day as the annual BBQNYC at Wards/Randalls Island. That would be a huge conflict.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: stuartlafonda
                        Steve R Jul 17, 2006 06:21 PM

                        BBQNYC cancelled out that date & we're waiting to hear when it'll be rescheduled. So apparently I've resolved your crisis.

                        1. re: Steve R
                          s
                          stuartlafonda Jul 17, 2006 07:35 PM

                          I didn't say it was a crisis, just pointing out an apparant conflict. I'm sure you were just trying to be helpful.

                          1. re: stuartlafonda
                            Steve R Jul 18, 2006 03:22 PM

                            Actually I was just joking about the "crisis" part. Sorry if that didnt come thru. My intent was just to alert you on the BBQ cancellation.

                            1. re: Steve R
                              s
                              stuartlafonda Jul 18, 2006 03:30 PM

                              No problem, let us know when they have a new date, please. I had a good time last year, after I finally found the location. As for the Burmese fest, for those that don't know,it is very small. There
                              were about a half dozen vendors and the whole thing was in the backyard of the church.

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