jasmine market - burmese food - thx j. gold!
went for lunch today
nestled inbetween a particularly shady looking "chiropractic" office and a hyrdoponics warehouse is what must be the only burmese joint west of the 605 and the great restaurant golden triangle in whittier.
ok i'm a jonathan gold neophyte and i was particularly pleased to find his review of this spot in the la weekly, and that its just close enough in my lunch radius.
in 2004 i spent about 3 weeks travelling myanmar. the capital city of yangon, the magical spiritual city of Bagan, the serene glassy waters of inle lake and the cultured mandalay. honestly, i wasn't in love with the fish and shrimp paste and tumeric heavy room temperature stews of burmese cuisine but it was a fascinating mix between indian, chinese and thai flavors...
the family running jasmine market and deli are some of the sweetest people you'll ever meet, and the clientele includes japanese hip hop scenesters, halal seeking muslims, ethno bohemian hipsters and jonanthan gold worshippers. many people came in talking about the article which the family still hasn't seen!
before 5pm on a weekday the dishes are going to be basically indian food, but on weekends and after 5pm on weekdays there are some typical burmese dishes, including the national dish mo-hinga (fish stew with banana tree root), as well khaut swe (cocount chicken noodle soup) which thailand explorers will know as khao soi, which is a staple of chiang mai cuisine. there is also a tofu dhut (mixed tofu salad) as well as asawn dhut (large mixture salad).
the family has exchanged thanakha (yellow face paste) and longyis (cloth skirt) for paul smith glasses and levis, but the cooking is spot on... so far i've only tried the lamb biryani (friday special) and the samosas, but i'll be back for more dishes as well as the burmese dishes, and im pretty excited to do so.
you can also pick up an issue of the mandalay gazette or the burma herald to catch up on news on burmese american rappers and catch gossip snaps of yangon hotties.
I had dinner there tonight, and was very impressed! I had the lamb biryani, which was tender, fragrant and delicious. It was a huge portion too - I was completely stuffed and still had about half a plate of rice left. And at $6.99 it was a great deal. They have even better lunch specials from 11-4pm daily. I can't wait to go back, and try their other dishes.
i went back with four other friends last night and had a great meal eating:
beef boti kebab
mixed vegetable curry
mohinga (fish soup)
kaut swe (chicken coconut noodle soup)
khaut swe dhut (noodle salad)
asawn dhut (mixed salad)
and ended the evening with some pistachio kulfi..
we got to meet the dad and hes just as rad as the rest of his family. it was quite a lively scene last night with a huge family group and other tables with kids running around....
apparently there are about 1000 burmese in the LA area and this guy knows most of them... even if the food sucked, they are so rad that i'd go there to eat and support them...luckily the food is really good.
the mohinga and coconut chicken soup were favorites.. the two salad dishes were similar. and had that flavor, that i remember eating in myanmar. but i cant place what it is. they were the most different tasting dishes. mom oversees all the cooking (and the flavors feel like youre being served at someones home), dad mans the register, kids are there around lunch.
Nothing new to report except to say that this place is still going strong, and that was hands-down the best lamb curry I've had in L.A. ("lamb boti kebab" - *not* a kebab; basically stewed pieces of meaty lamb bones, onions and chilis - photos greatly aid ordering. Served with naan, everything super-fresh and homemade not in the rough-around-the-edges way, but like you've been invited into the home of a far superior cook.
One thing - the dish took a solid 20 min. to arrive, and there was no one ahead of me in line - I may order ahead next time.
This is one of my favorite lunch spots and I'm glad to see it get some deservingly good press, although I'll be sad when the valet parking goes in and the plate prices jump to the $15.00 range. The first time I ate there, the young man told me they were thinking of having BBQ dishes and asked if many American people liked BBQ. I assured him that this was so, and suggested he put the BBQ outside where folks on Sepulveda can see and smell the action; unfortunately, he explained that various city codes make this difficult.
The people there are terrific and the food is exotic and delicious. Try the curries and the cucumber/yogurt salads laced with hot peppers. Tandoori chicken is good too.
i have yet to try the burmese dishes at jasmine and thats all that i've ever had at golden triangle. so i'll have to get back to you on that one...the menu is far more limited than golden triangle thats for sure... they only cook about 6 burmese dishes and the rest are more standard fare..
bobthebigpig, yes, the tzatziki-ish / raita-ish cucumber dip was very spicy.. i was going to ask what was inside but they started to get busy around 1pm...
I stopped by for a late afternoon lunch a few months ago. I thought that I had read on CH that this was a Pakistani market w/prepared food and as you report it is not. I agree that the family was lovely and the Indian food that I tried that was made to order was pretty darn good. I have to go back now and try the Burmese dishes!