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May 27, 2008 05:59 PM

Yoma (5/20) - long

Tried Yoma a week ago with a few friends. The décor is basic and that night there was just one woman waiting on the tables. Since there were five of us this time we were able to try several different dishes. We started with the appetizer platter, AaJawSone, which include three different appetizers. The first was the Burmese Samusar which is a deep fried crispy pastry filled with potato, onion, cabbage, and a mixture of spices. It was similar to an Indian samosa however, the flavors were more delicate and the spices not as strong. The second appetizer was the PaeKatJaw which was a deep fried crispy tempura split chickpea pancake. This was something like a chickpea papadum. I particularly liked the texture of the crunchy split chickpeas. The last appetizer was the TofuJaw (Burmese Tofu) which was deep fried home made chickpea tofu. The Burmese make a tofu from chickpea flour which has a lighter, more delicate texture to soy tofu. All of the appetizers were served with a spicy tamarind sauce made from sour tamarind juice, red chili, ginger, garlic, and cilantro. This was a perfect tasty accompaniment to all of the appetizers. My primary complaint was that all of the appetizers were quite greasy.

We then tried two salads. The first was the LaPhetThot (Green Tea Leaf Salad) which included Burmese green tea leaf with, roasted sesame seeds, peanut, crispy peas, crunchy garlic, dried shrimp, tomato, shredded cabbage, canola oil, sliced green chili, lime juice and sliced garlic. This was a very interesting dish! It is served with all of the components separate and we mix them together. The green tea leaf is fermented and had a flavor a bit like spinach cooked in a little vinegar and salt. When all of these ingredients are mixed together you have a wonderful fresh, crunchy salad with a balance of all flavors, salty, sour, sweet, bitter and hot which reminded me of Thai dishes. The second salad we tried was the ThaYetTheeThot (Green mango salad) which consisted of Shredded fresh sour mango mixed with shredded cabbage, fresh onion, roasted chili flake, grounded peanut, and cilantro. This was a wonderful salad which, again, combined all five tastes. This one seemed a little lighter and had a fresher flavor which reminded me more of Vietnamese cooking.

We tried five entrée dishes:
1) ShwePaYonTheeHin which is Oriental sweet pumpkin cooked with jumbo shrimp, tomato, ginger, onion, lemongrass, and cilantro. The sweet pumpkin was the star of this dish and seemed to take over the dish.
2) KhaYanTheeNut which is oriental egg plant cooked with grounded peanut, onion, garlic, ginger and tomato. This was a great dish! The crunchy peanut mixture added a great flavor and texture to the delicate eggplant. This was my favorite dish.
3) ShanKhotSwe which is small pieces chicken curry cooked with tomato served on rice noodle, grounded peanut, pickle green mustard, crunchy shallot, scallion and cilantro. This was a lovely dish but the flavors were surprisingly more subtle than expected. Though, the dish describes chicken curry, curry in Burmese cooking is not as strong and complex in flavor as South Asian and Southeast Asian cuisines.
4) PaePyarHin which is pan fried tofu cooked with tomato, potato, ginger, garlic, shallot, spice powder, green chili, tamarind juice and cilantro. This was a very nice spicy dish.
5) Beef Curry with Potato which is beef cooked with tomato, ginger, garlic, onion, potato, and spice seasoning. Again, this dish was surprisingly subtle in flavor for a curry dish. The dominant flavors were the tomato, garlic, and onion.

Based on these dishes Burmese cuisine seemed like a mixture of Indian, Chinese, and Southeast Asian cuisines in ingredients and cooking methods. However, I felt the flavors and taste combinations were more subtle, delicate and fresh similar to Thai and Vietnamese foods.

YoMa Burmese Restaurant
5 N Beacon St, Allston, MA 02134

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  1. Looks like you hit most of our favorites! I'm glad to see people are still enjoying YoMa -- it's one of my favorite new restaurants in the neighborhood and I'm pulling for them to make it in a tough time for new restaurants.

    1. I haven't seen much written about YoMa recently and just wanted to share a recent experience.

      First we shared ThaYetTheeThot (Green mango salad) - Shredded fresh sour mango mixed with shredded cabbage, fresh shallot, grounded dried shrimp, roasted chili flake, grounded peanut, and cilantro. I loved the flavoring here - much more subtle and refined than similar salads I've had at Vietnamese restaurants. I was really hoping to try the ginger salad, but my DC wanted this one and understandably so.

      Then came JetThonJaw - Pancake style tempura fried shredded shallot and batter mixed. These were lovely little fist sized shallot fritters, with a homemade tamarind sauce. The fry job was perfectly grease-less. They remind me of a wonderful onion fritter I had once upon a time at an Indian restaurant in Spring Valley and have been searching for ever since.

      We also shared MyitChinHin - Sliced sour bamboo shoots cooked with tender pork, sweet roasted rice flour, shallot, garlic, ginger, chili, tomato and cilantro. The sour bamboo was great and the pork was quite tender, but not flavorful enough to carry the dish. Regardless, this would be great comfort food on a stormy night.

      Overall, I loved the subtle and complex spicing of the dishes and am looking forward to trying more.

      1. Went to YoMa for lunch on Wed. Honestly I wish I worked or lived in Allston Village just because of one meal here... i also shared the ThaYetTheeThot (Green mango salad) which was so fresh and light and tasty- I would recommend this as a starter to everyone. I had a noodle dish- the Y10 – AaThotSone ($8.95)
        (Vermicelli, somen noodle, wheat flour noodle, seasoning rice, fried tofu, steam bean sprout, potato, grounded peanut, roasted chili flake, fresh shallot, shredded cabbage, grounded dried shrimp, scallion, cilantro, garlic sauce and crispy rice noodle on top). It actually tasted similar to the green mango salad in a lot of ways, since they both had shredded cabbage and similar cilantro and garlic tastes. However I am not complaining because I really liked all the flavors. Next time I think I will try some of the appetizers and probably the eggplant dish. Go here!

        1. Love YoMa...Last time we were there, we were transported back to Burma. I wonder why they can't attract the crowds like Burma Superstar in SF, which is always packed everytime I am there? It's rather pleasant inside and the staff couldn't be nicer. Like the other posters, I urge people to please try it out. If we lived closer, it'd be a stand-by. (We are in Somerville, so that is a tough proposition for us.)

          3 Replies
          1. re: digga

            Perhaps it is because of the parking situation? I have wanted to go there for years, but...

            1. re: ErstwhileEditor

              Pshaw, I go to that area in Allston 3X a month. Within 2 blocks of there I always find a spot either on Brighton Ave. or Cambridge Street.

              1. re: StriperGuy

                was there for lunch saturday, no trouble with parking (cambridge street) and the food was as good as ever. tohu salad (my favorite!), bottle gourd fritters, and mohinga, and they now have dessert--wonderful home made sunnwinmakin (a semolina based cake).

          2. My fave dish has not been mentioned-- the AaMaeTharThot (Roasted Beef salad) is fantastic. Luckily I live in Allston so YoMa is a regular stop!