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YoMa (Burmese)

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Thanks to a Chowhound's info on the opening, I ate lunch at YoMa in Allston today, its second day in operation. My meal was great--one of the best under $15 I've had in Boston. I was impressed by the refinement and healthiness of the cooking, which should be accessible to everyone.

The menu seems closer to Thai, Vietnamese, and Cambodian than Indian. I ordered the roasted chicken salad and jumbo shrimp curry. The salad was perfect. The thinly sliced chicken breast had an excellent roasted flavor. Lime, lemongrass, cilantro, and chilis were all balanced to my taste, unlike in most Thai yum salads, which I tend to find too tangy. The texture was excellent--not too watery, crispiness from shredded vegetables, and a nice, surprising crunchiness which I think came from bits of roasted chilis. The waitress (of sorts) said that the authentic version of the dish uses hotter fresh green chilis, which they do have on hand, but for most people I think the salad is spicy enough as is.

The shrimp curry was also excellent. It had a delicious tomato, onion, garlic, and garlic base that seemed more Indian than SE Asian, but was lighter and more delicate than most Indian curries. It was well suited to the numerous fresh, juicy jumbo shrimp in the dish. Again, the waitress said the authentic dish has additional chili powder, which they are willing to put in, but it's great as is. The jasmine rice alongside had good flavor and was not too gummy or too dry.

Though the decorations are incomplete, I think it's fair to say the atmosphere is never going to be conducive to a romantic date. But the restaurant is very clean and the dishes are plated well. The homey feel reminded me a bit of Floating Rock, without the annoying TV.

The waitress I spoke to was bright and fluent in English. She says they (I took this to mean the proprietors of YoMa) fled Burma/Myanmar after unsuccessfully fighting for democracy against the current military dictatorship. Hopefully the restaurant will bring them better luck. Highly recommended.

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  1. thanks for the opening report, much appreciated. will have to check this one out...good to know that you should ask for authentic heat. (or that i should, at least!).

    1. Sounds great, fenian.......address, anyone? And how's the parking situation?

      1 Reply
      1. re: powella

        5 North Beacon Street, Allston, MA (they have a lovely takeout menu--which, by the way, says they deliver but...I would stick to takeout until they get their legs under them). Definitely no parking lot--not even close to the kind of place that would have a parking lot.

        Some more info: takes cards, open M-Sat 11:30 to 11, Sun 1 to 10. Phone: (617) 783-1372. However, I watched them let the answering machine pick up four times.

      2. In Allston Village, in the same block as Deep Ellum and Grasshopper. Don't know the exact number (I think the awning is bright orange?). It's Allston, so parking can be difficult - I don't think I saw a parking lot for YoMa. We will try to head over there this week.

        1. Ginger salad????

          1. I tried it last night: great food, but a very long wait to get the food after we ordered. As in over an hour from the time the DC and I sat down until we got our first of four dishes, and a 2.5 hour meal overall (and we weren't lingering much after finishing our last dish).

            Our first dish was the same chicken-based salad that the original poster described. It was excellent, just as described above.

            Our remaining three dishes came out one-by-one over the next hour. They ranged from just above average to very good:

            -a chicken curry served with excellent rice. The curry itself seemed somewhat more subtly complex than Indian or Thai curries -- it was both mild and had multiple flavors going on. The rice was a sticky Jasmine rice that to me was perfectly cooked, sticky without being gummy. Above average to very good dish overall.

            -a soup with mustard greens and pork. Very rich broth, very fresh greens. I would absolutely get this dish again.

            -a pasta/chicken/gravy sort of dish, I can't remember the name but it was in the Burmese specialties section. It was very flavorful but I'm not sure I'd get it again.

            The friendly waiter (there was only one) was very nice and generally forthcoming about the delays, and seemed rather embarrassed at the pacing. While we waited for the food, at least one group got frustrated with the wait and decided to leave. Other tables seemed to be taken by friends/relatives of the owner and seemed to be having similar delays.

            At the end of our meal, the owner was chatting with us and again apologized for the delays - he assured us they were working to have 2 cooks in the kitchen rather than one to speed up the service.

            I have had Burmese food before in San Francisco and this didn't live up to my memory of those meals, but it was good enough that I'd go back. The waitstaff and owner were quite friendly, the food was all fresh and served as it was ready, and the menu was interesting enough to keep exploring. I'll probably wait a couple of weeks before I try it again though.

            1 Reply
            1. re: JP RS

              FYI - YoMa doesn't have a parking lot, but Cambridge Street, West of Brighton Ave is all non-permit parking and usually there are plenty of spaces on the north side, particularly once you've passed Gordon. You might have to walk a block or two, but it's usually one of the easier spots in Allston to find parking.

            2. Allstonian and I went for the first time this evening. It's a fairly small but nicely decorated space: 8 tables, 30 seats, about a quarter to one-third full during our meal.

              It did take a while for our food to come out, but it came out in two rounds instead of one dish following another. Through Allstonian's past familiarity with Burmese food (she was a big fan of Mandalay back when it was around some decades back), our shared ability to read a menu well and pure dumb luck, we ended up with four dishes that matched up perfectly with each other.

              Our first round was the Wat Thar Thot, a cold salad of barbecue pork, lemongrass, cucumber and shallot, dressed with lime juice, chile and cilantro. This was accompanied by Ohn Note Khot Swe, a thick porridgy soup of coconut, chicken, yellow noodles, mustard greens and shallots, topped with crispy rice noodle strips (think Funyons). They were perfect together, because the salad was quite bright, sharp, crisp and cold, and it was a good contrast to the soup, which might have been a little stodgy on its own. We spritzed some lime juice into the soup and added a dusting of a ground dried chile that was very similar to aleppo: maybe one or two ticks hotter, but with that soft, moist quality that aleppo has. That helped brighten the soup and tied the two dishes together really well.

              Our second round consisted of the Ta Min Poung, a simple dish of roast pork, Chinese sausage, and mixed veggies on jasmine rice, and Kha Yan Thee Nut, a savory dish of stewed eggplant in a sauce of shallots, ginger, garlic and ground peanuts. This was an even more successful pairing than the first round, because the highly-flavored eggplant stew was a perfect match to the very plain, clean flavors of the pork and vegetable dish. When our waitress saw me sprinkling some of the ground chile on the pork, she brought out a sweet-spicy sauce that's basically a kicked-up version of that sweet dipping sauce you're familiar with from Vietnamese and Thai places. It was an inspired touch.

              I don't know if we seemed like we were comfortable with the menu or what, but when we were done eating, our waitress asked how we knew about Burmese food and if we had any comments or criticisms for the chef. We thought it was just kind of a polite pro forma question, but as soon as we told her what we thought of the dishes, she went directly back to the chef and relayed our thoughts to him! So there you go: they really seem to enjoy serving to a fairly informed clientele. On the other hand, as we were finishing, two guys came in and asked for menus, saying that they'd never had Burmese food before and wondering what it was like, and I thought the waitress did a very good job of explaining it. They didn't stay, unfortunately.

              Yes, the wait for food is a bit long, but I think our total time at table was less than 90 minutes, so it's not unreasonable. I think as long as you don't have anywhere to go immediately, you shouldn't find it troublesome.

              1 Reply
              1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                First off, I have to give credit to Chowhounds across the country who've posted comments about Burmese restaurants over the years - my MIT friends and I were indeed regulars at Mandalay back in the day, but that was nearly 30 years ago and my memory isn't that good! So yesterday in anticipation of our planned outing, I scanned a few threads on Burmese restaurants elsewhere to familiarize myself with the menu basics.

                I think that the Ohn Note Khot Swe was the same dish that JP RS described above as "a pasta/chicken/gravy sort of dish." The menu calls it a soup, but JP RS's description is probably more accurate. It came with a chunk of lime and that dish of dried chile pepper, and the use of both of those added a lot to the dish. We would definitely order it again. (Though we would probably ask for a second bowl so that we could more easily share the dish - we found ourselves taking turns with the serving bowl!) Same problem with the Wat Thar Thot, actually - it came out on a serving platter, but we didn't get individual dishes so we just both ate from the platter. Maybe we don't understand Burmese serving conventions, or maybe the waitress thought that each of us had chosen one dish to start rather than sharing. Unfortunately, at that point business had picked up and she was back in the kitchen most of the time.

                Another time even I would probably ask them to kick it up to more authentic heat levels, and I'm a bit of a heat wimp. Things were flavorful and spicy, but I think they did tone down the use of chiles pretty severely for us gringoes.

                Portions are not tiny but not huge either, which is fine - it just means we can order more dishes at one time. I had been a little nervous that the four dishes we ordered would end up being way too much food, but it was just enough for the two of us (admittedly, we're hearty eaters, and it was after 8:30 when the food started arriving, at which point we were pretty ravenous.) Total bill for 4 dishes with tea but no additional beverages came to just under $33.

              2. Still no one has mentioned ginger salad! Not on the menu???

                7 Replies
                1. re: Trumpetguy

                  Nope. Not on the menu. No green tea salad, either.

                  My understanding is that in Burma, ginger and green tea salads are basically snacks that you have a little nibble of at some point during the day to go with your tea or stave off the munchies, or to cleanse your palate after a meal. Maybe they think it wouldn't fit with their menu.

                  1. re: Trumpetguy

                    Sorry - I thought I'd mentioned that but I guess I edited it out. There are about 7 or 8 of the Burmese style salads, including green mango, but no ginger salad. Also no tea leaf salad (a popular item at Burmese restaurants in some other US cities, according to various CH threads I looked at.)

                    1. re: Allstonian

                      Well that is officially too bad! :(

                      It really is one of my all time flavor combinations--better than black bean tacos w/guacamole, pesto or octopus salad ;)

                      What's in it? Can i remember now(15yrs later?) I recall yellow lentils(?),garlic, ginger,dried shrimps,coconut, jalapenos, lime juice,cilantro,peanuts---more I'm forgetting...all served in separate piles on the plate--server squeezes lime juice and mixes all ingredients together...so fresh, textural and yes, tasty :)

                      I'm bummed now--have to get some next visit to SF for sure...

                      1. re: Trumpetguy

                        Maybe ask them if they can do it? They seem really interested in feedback and wanting to make a go of it with an otherwise unrepresented cuisine.

                        1. re: Allstonian

                          That's my impression too. The waitress made some half-apologetic comment about how there are hundreds of dishes in Burma, but for the menu they carefully chose dishes they thought Americans would like. One thing I wouldn't want to do is give any misguided advice a la Seinfeld's "all-Pakistani restaurant" advice to Babu.

                    2. re: Trumpetguy

                      They have ginger salad, it's just not on the menu. Simply ask for it. That's what we did tonight.

                      1. re: mightymatt

                        Yessss!!!! :)

                        Thanks!

                    3. Do they, perchance, serve Mohinga? I really have missed this since Mandalay closed. (I have made a passable version at home, but I'd love to be able to order it at a restaurant.)

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: ErstwhileEditor

                        No, they don't. I was a little surprised at that, actually - looking at other threads about Burmese restaurants elsewhere, it seemed as though mohinga is kind of a basic national dish, but maybe they thought it wouldn't go over well. Again, I think there's no harm in asking them about it.

                        I totally see fenian's point about "misguided advice," but all of these questions about items not on their basic menu might encourage them to branch out into some specials once they've gotten their feet on the ground.

                        1. re: Allstonian

                          Yes, Mohinga ( Fish Noodle Soup) is available. I asked the owner ( seems she is ), but not on the menu yet. If not, I'll make it for you or invite you when I have a party at home..lol ( Yes, I'm a native Burmese)

                          I forgot to ask about Tea leaf and Ginger salads. Yes, there's no harm to ask about. It might be available.

                          ( Note: I have no relationship with Yoma, you guys are free to give any comments/suggestions to them. I believe they'll happy to accept. You can even ask me if you have any questions about burmese foods. I'm happy to answer. Thanks)

                      2. Very good homey cooking.

                        BuTheeJaw -- battered gourd (a zuchinni like vegetable) with a modestly pungent spicy dipping sauce; not too greasy, the sweetness and spiciness of the sauce was well balanced

                        ThaYetTheeThot - I really liked the fragrant flavours of crushed peanuts and dried shrimp coming together to ground the crisp, light salad with julienned green mango (could have been more sour I thought), shredded cabbage and a spring-fresh whiff of cilantro

                        The beef curry was excellent -- rich in oil and thickened with coconut milk, more tumeric -based but still carrying a pleasant repeitoire of spices. Slow cooked tender pieces of beef, good soft potatoes.

                        YoMa spice on rice -- a very savoury larb-like dish with ground pork and chicken, flavoured with Thai basil, soy sauce (and perhaps a touch of oyster sauce? not sure....).

                        JarZanJaw - a stir fry of rice vermicelli with roast pork, shrimp and vegetables, coloured with curry powder, was nice but not special

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: limster

                          I stopped by tonight to pickup something for my wife. I got her the Khotswejaw
                          which was stir fried yellow noodles with chicken and mixed veggies. She said it was very tasty. The space is small but nice. I met the owners wife and 5 year old daughter sandra both very sweet. She told me the fish soup was available but not on the menu because americans wouldn't like it, I told her to post it on the menu and see what happens. Both husband and wife raved about the chicken curry w potato and the beef Curry saying it was there favs.

                          Any truth that there is only 3 Burmese rest in the country? They told me SF and Philly are the other two. Anyone who is familiar with this food give them feedback I would thing they are open to suggestions. The parking situation is tough.

                        2. I belong to a group of friends that goes out to dinner every couple of months and I selected YoMa for our dinner last night. I had been considering Z-square despite the mixed reviews, but noticed they posted a new menu about a month ago which seemed to lose the comfort food concept and the entree prices were maybe 50% higher.

                          Since they don't have a liquor license, we met around the corner at Deep Ellum first for a drink. The music there was loud for my taste, making conversation difficult. The beer list was long with lots of interesting selections, with most in the $5-6 range. I had a cup of their chile, which was very good, although wished it was served with some slices of fresh bread or anything other than the shrink-wrap crackers it came with.

                          I had called YoMa and they had the tables set up for our group and the woman who is the waitress is very pleasant and helpful. As other folks have noted, there are some timing issues. There was only one other couple there when we arrived, but it took over half an hour for the first course to come out of the kitchen. I had the chicken tempura and someone had the "gourd" tempura and both were very good, expecially with the dipping sauce. This has a little heat, but mostly a good combination of spices.

                          After this was cleared four bowls of the "sizzling" soup came out. There was no sizzle, but perhaps it had all dissipated in the kitchen. The broth is light but very flavorful and the soup is full of very fresh ingredients - I don't think any was left in the bowls. It seemed odd that the tempura and soup weren't served together, but even odder was that the fellow who ordered a salad still didn't have anything to eat. He finally asked about the salad and was told that it would be served with the main meal. I suggested to the waitress that they should warn people of this, as we all expected to get our first courses at about the same time and then the main course.

                          It was now after 8:30 and the place had filled up. The waitress spends a lot of her time in the kitchen, although it looked like there were three guys in there already. It was about now that the waitress came out and told the woman who had ordered the string bean in garlic sauce - a favorite dish of hers - that the beans weren't very good and suggested she order something else. While this gesture was appreciated, we wondered why it had taken them an hour to discover this. She switched to the eggplant and both folks who had this dish enjoyed it and commented that it seemed more Indian in nature than any of the other offerings.

                          Our main courses came out over perhaps a 20-minute period. At one point, my friend asked how much longer for the salad and was told that everything was ready, but it still took over 5 minutes to appear. I didn't write down what everyone got, but have some observations. A woman got the shrimp curry mentioned in the initial review, but found it a bit two salty. I had the KhotSweJaw with chicken which was OK, but not anything special. The fellow who waited so long for the green mango salad said it was very good, but said the pork in his other dish was on the tough side.

                          My general take is that this is very much home cooking, with dishes prepared from close to "scratch" as they're ordered. I mentioned to the waitress that it would be good if all the dishes for a table were ready at about the same time, but perhaps this is a cultural thing. They seem very competent at cooking, but perhaps still struggling with the restaurant concept - the check was placed on our table in the midst of the entree course. Although one solitary diner got his soup very quickly, we did notice that the tables which filled after we came in also had a long wait for their food. From our experience last night, I'd suggest going earlier rather than later and expect to wait, especially if there are a lot of folks there before you. For me the biggest thing on the plus side is that everything seems fresh and light, so that after the meal you feel satisfied but not overly full.

                          Charles

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: velotrain

                            Charles,
                            Burmese salads are different from western salads - many are in fact meant to be eaten as part of the meal. Some are meant to be eaten by themselves, as snacks, and not part of any meal. Hope this helps you have a better experience next time.
                            Yoma is a small family run ethnic restaurant, and setting your expectations for such a restaurant to be coordinated - like you could expect such places like Espalier to be - would be wrong. The price difference alone is an indication. Perhaps the best thing to do is to enjoy the experience as a cultural experience, slow down, enjoy the company you are with - and let the flow take you where you have never been before.....
                            Peace.

                          2. I see many people expressing concern over the wait for food/sequence of dishes that come to the table. My guess it that everything is being made fresh, to-order, Burmese style. This is what we experienced and it was wonderful - made us slow the hell down and just sit and be, or look out on the street to watch the world go by. Then the food delivered to us (whenever the dishes were ready) was some of the freshest, lovingly-prepared food we've ever had anywhere. Lovely oily curries, Indian thali, Nepali food, Shan noodle soups (I, too, am craving mohinga in the morning, along with fried Burmese pastries and rice cakes with coconut!), fresh Thai glass noodle salads with shrimp, Tibetan food, grilled squid with chilli and garlic sauces, whole fish with ginger and scallions, etc. We will head to Yo-Ma soon...this weekend?

                            1. The menu is changing - in a few weeks, they will have "suggested combinations" and the real Burmese dishes will replace those which were originally targeted towards "a more general American taste". Hopefully, this allows the owner to get a slight edge on time (considering that one chef has already left).

                              Looking forward to the reviews of the new menu!

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: cornFusion

                                FWIW, I tried one of the new dishes last night...a curry fish chopped up is how they described it. Looked like fish mcnuggets (chopped up fish inside) with a curry batter coating and in a somewhat spicy tomato sauce. It was good though somewhat small. She said it wasn't on the menu yet.

                                The other dishes we tried (their version of kung pao chicken which isn't what you expect, and the spicy ground pork/chicken on rice which tastes a little like the stuff on dan dan noodles) were also tasty and somewhat small (small compared to a chinese restaurant).

                                All dishes were quite tasty though, so I'd return...

                                1. re: Spike

                                  We ate there two or three times within the first couple of months that they were open, and haven't been back all summer. I really need to remedy that!

                                  I'll grant you that the portions are small compared to some other restaurants, but the prices are also very reasonable and to me the small portions mean that it's possible to order more different things.

                                2. re: cornFusion

                                  Had dinner there last night with the new menu. It's been redesigned a fair bit, but we could still find our old favorites. We tried two "new" things, the MoHinGar and a pumpkin and shrimp curry dish I don't remember the name of. Both were very tasty, the pumpkin dish especially so. I wouldn't have thought of that flavor combination on my own.

                                  Neither new dish was especially spicy, and even as a non-pepper-head, I think they could have done with a little more bite or tang. Next time I'll ask for extra lime wedges and make more use of the crushed pepper that comes with the OhnNoteKhotSwe. We asked for the Tofu Thot salad spicy, and it came out more like medium, which worked for us.

                                  I actually like YoMa's portion sizes. The price is right, and the fact that they're not huge makes it easy to have variety in one meal, even when it's just the two of us. Last night we were four, and one salad plus three main courses fed our group quite well (though we were tempted to get another round of the pumpkin-shrimp dish) for quite cheap.

                                  They've definitely improved in terms of speed of service since they opened. I really hope they survive, since I want to go back and try more of the new offerings.

                                  1. re: T.B.

                                    I always want to add more lime to my MoHinGar too, so I sympathize. But Cornfusion (and Thaw Da-female owner at Yo Ma) always tease me a bit about this, as I guess Burmese think that adding too much lime to the MoHinGar ruins the balance of flavors. Anyway, issues of "authenic flavor" aside, they usually are happy to bring out additional lime or hot peppers.

                                3. I love the food! I used to have to wait pretty long. But, their service is much much faster now. They've revamped their menu and now have a website www.yomaboston.com and www.yomaburmeseboston.com.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: skeptix315

                                    Thanks for the info/link to the web site. Glad to see they've added LepThot and other salads to their menu. (persoal favorite in Burmese foods) Now if they would only open for lunch again!

                                  2. I am planning to take a trip to YoMa this weekend. One of my DC's will be a vegetarian, the other a meat-eater (as am I), so we will probably want to order about half vegetarian dishes. Also, at least two of are not so good with spiciness (though we all love interesting flavors!) Any specific recommendations for dishes, especially non-spicy and/or vegetarian? Also, it sounds like the dishes are kind of small... how many would it take to feed 3 for dinner?

                                    Thank you! After perusing the menu I am quite excited to check this place out!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: fbf242

                                      Don't worry about the spice aspect: even the spiciest dishes aren't burn-your-tongue-off hot. You'll also have no trouble with the veggie options.

                                      If you're average eaters, I'd say three people could dine very well on five dishes.

                                    2. YoYUK. While not hazardous to your health or inedible, the food at YoMa can only be described as mediocre. The hostess-cum-waitress was friendly and the service was prompt. But, save for the decent appetizers, the three entrees and one side dish that we ordered uniformly failed to impress. From the bloated tofu in the Paepyarhin to the gamey eggplant in the Khayantheenut (despite the tasty ground peanut sauce) to the offensive smell of the Myitjaw, nothing we had was satisfying. We ended up ordering pizza afterwards for sustenance and to cleanse our palates.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: 423maple

                                        went there saturday around 8 pm. the hostess was friendly and the place was clean. i really wished i remembered what to order from this thread. what we ordered did not seem to represent the best of the menu. we started with a plate of mixed apps (forget name) fried tofu, cripsy soy or corn wafers and roasted eggplant in fried rice wrapper. all were edible but not a lot of depth. the spicy sauce with them help to give some depth. for main i got the coconut chicken noodle soup. the vermecilli was a little overdone for me along with the soup being more starchy and saucy. i squeezed a lot more lime and was able to eat a little more but honestly i wouldnt get it again. my DC had the pork stew. it was good. it had a smaller portion but a lot more flavor and spice. over all i was really intrigued by the menu but really dumbfounded on burmese food. any suggestions on what i should really make the trek out again for?

                                        1. re: 423maple

                                          sorry you had a bad experience and a little surprised. one of the things that has been so consistent about this little place is how fresh everything is. my sense has been the kitchen takes pride in what it puts out, though it is occasionally a little haphazard getting it out there. hope what you experienced was an unusual "blip."

                                          1. re: teezeetoo

                                            i hope so. can you name me some items that i should order next time? what have you had that you really liked?

                                            1. re: bernie71

                                              try the butheejaw (gourd tempura), thayettheethot (green mango salad), beef curry with potato, and shwepayontheehin (pumpkin with shrimp)

                                              1. re: bernie71

                                                Here's a link to a dinner last month..with good rundowns of the dishes and some pics.

                                                I was sort of lukewarm to the meal; but I was definitely in the minority..and it is really worth trying and deciding for yourself. I remember really liking the "latkes," an unusual fish sauce veggie dish and a coconut soup.

                                                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/452199

                                          2. The taste of Yoma's dishes are somewhat distinct. Many of the menu descriptions are accurate but not helpful to anyone who's never had any exposure to Burmese food. During my first visit, my initial reaction was that nothing in the menu sounds exciting. Many of the ingredients are seen in other Asian menus. With a highly suspicious mind, I ordered cautiously. The actual dishes were not like my expectation at all. They were tasty, fresh and unusual.

                                            The side dishes (I have tried first and 2nd one from the new menu so far) have a fragrant fish sauce smell. It might be considered smelly for some people. It is one of those acquired taste items.

                                            I had a chat with the owner last week, she told me that to ensure the freshness of the foods, they had to start preparation in the morning which is the reason why they are closed for lunch.

                                            Try all their curry dishes. (I really dislike their menu descriptions. It does not engage the reader to select!) According to the owner, each curry dish is cooked differently with a variety of ingredients. My personal favorite is the egg curry and the chicken curry.

                                            One of their salad also has curry chicken in it, but when I tried it, it is another kind of way of cooking. It is very tasty.

                                            The tofu in tofu salad is made by chickpea instead of soy. That dish is refreshingly spicy. I have never had that kind of tofu before. It is very interesting to the taste.

                                            I personally think they should do pictures on their walls like other local Thai restaurants to attract more customers.

                                            Although I have never been to Myanmar, from my experiences in south east Asia, I got the sense that this is a very authentic, homey restaurant. I highly recommend this place. Also, don't be deceived by the factual words in the menu. Be daring and try anything!

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: ChiOut

                                              Nice post. Hope we hear more from you.

                                            2. After being on the to-try list for most of '07, I finally made it to YoMa yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed the meal. The atmosphere and lack of liquor license, IMO, make it a more appealing lunch option (and the sign in the window suggests that lunch is now an option), but we were there for dinner. On the other hand, the food was excellent. Although the only other Burmese food I've had was at Nan King in Oakland (many years ago), if memory serves me, this seemed much more down-home and interesting.

                                              For 3, we ordered the Aajawsone (essentially an appetizer combo with split pea cakes, fried tofu, and samosas served with tamarind dipping sauce), Laphetthot (green tea leaf salad), Shwepayontheehin (pumpkin and shrimp), and Ohnnotekhotswe (chicken, coconut noodle soup). The portions were smallish; we easily finished the food and could have had another dish had we known about the size. I would say that the small size and corresponding price are an advantage, allowing for more diverse meals but we weren't aware of that. Everything was fresh and well-executed and we felt that the flavors and textures of the dishes went together well (e.g., the fried apps were not greasy at all, simple but well-prepared, and a nice contrast to the crisp fresh salad which was an explosion of flavors with a lot going on). The salad and the pumpkin and shrimp in particular were really terrific, with very unique flavors unlike what one would find in other SE Asian cuisines. The noodle soup was tasty and went well with the meal. If it were the only dish I was eating I might find it to be monotonous since it was so simple. We asked for the dishes spicy. There definitely were chilies in the salad and pumpkin, but it still wasn't all that spicy.

                                              We didn't encounter any problems with lengthy waits for the dishes -- they came out pretty quickly after ordering. The server was attentive throughout. And the price couldn't be beat -- $35 for dinner for 3! There were 2 other tables when we were there and another couple came before we left along with a few people for takeout.

                                              It appears that they have already been receptive to customer feedback (e.g., both the ginger salad and the green tea leaf salad are on the menu now). I really hope this place makes it; it is a unique addition to the other ethnic options in town and adds a very different dimension. We'll be back and I'll look forward to working my way through more of the menu.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: chilibaby

                                                YoMa has been on my "to try" list for a while too. The Mr. and I got over there last week and also enjoyed it. I had a tofu curry that was spicy but I really stressed to the server that my preference was for hot. My partner had the egg curry which he got less spicy but said was still flavorful and tasty. As mentioned above in several posts: the prices can't be beat.

                                                I also hope this place makes it. We had excellent service and it does seem like some of the earlier mis-steps have been smoothed.

                                                1. re: intheq

                                                  There seems to be a running misconception that all Asian or SEA food is spicy; it's not. Particularly Burmese food. Much like Tibetan food, I find that many dishes are not what Westerners think of as traditionally spicy but depend more on, to our palates, subtle spicing. Perhaps this is why people do not get the requested "spicy."

                                              2. YoMa is now on my top five list. Just had a great meal there. Service was fine, one waitress deftly handled a room that was about 2/3 full, checking in several times to refill our teapot (and not at our request). Food arrived in a reasonable time and everything was very good. We started with the appetizer combo mentioned above; though deep-fried, all was very fresh tasting and light, not greasy at all. Then we had green mango salad, shrimp/pumpkin dish, and a noodle dish with chicken, boiled egg, in a coconut/curry sauce. I am looking forward to returning to explore the rest of the menu.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: nightsky

                                                  Just had a chance to try Yoma and we ordered the same items as above. The take-out order took about a half-hour and there was no one else in the place, but the food was very good, with unique flavors. The portions, however, were TINY. There were 2 shrimp in the pumpkin curry and the mango salad, split between 2 people, was about 4 bites each. Since the prices aren't bad, I would've ordered additional dishes had I known the portions were so pathetic. But, I'm glad Boston has a nice representation of authentic Burmese food.