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Nov 3, 2009 10:46 AM

Little Yangon, Authentic Burmese in Daly City

Just ate here this week, Fantastic food, friendly service, extensive menu. Open 10-10 everyday. This place puts the Burmese restaurants in SF to shame and is filled with local Burmese immigrants. They also sell Tea Leaves and other Burmese products. Anyone else been?

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  1. I went over immediately after reading this. I was by myself, so i only got a bowl of Mohinga, a grass jelly drink and asked for 1 paratha.

    Definitely my new favorite Mohinga in the sf area. I like it thick, and thats how they served it.
    The woman was super nice. Asking if i needed extra broth to thin out the soup, and explaining that they used banana stem(?) that they get from a tree in their back yard.
    i can't wait to go back with more people to try other menu items.

    1. Please indicate where this is located, address would be nice, but general area is good too!


      2 Replies
      1. re: ChowFun_derek

        On Mission near John Daly.

        Little Yangon
        6318 Mission St, Daly City, CA 94014

        1. re: ChowFun_derek

          Top of the hill.
          6318 Mission St
          Daly City, CA 94014
          (650) 994-0111

        2. Here's the menu

          I'm headed there for lunch today (tues nov 10) around 11:45/noonish. If anyone would like to meet up and share more dishes, drop me an email (address on MyChow page).

          This is a cash only place.

          7 Replies
          1. re: Melanie Wong

            We ate a nice meal here Saturday night. it's quite a bare-bones place, but with quite reasonable prices and very friendly service.

            We had
            Tea Leaf Salad
            Chicken Curry
            Chicken Fried Rice (for our nine year old son)
            Fried Banana with mango ice cream.

            All was very good. This is not as fancy as say, Burma Superstar, but very nice, unpretentious fresh tastes in all the dishes. I even liked my son's fried rice! It reminded me of the one at Lotus Garden.

            These dishes were enough for the three of us, but when we return we would probably order one more dish.

            I don't believe they sell beer/wine, and as mentioned it's cash only. The room has basic tables and bright overhead lighting, but it's very clean and well kept.

            Lotus Garden
            3216 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

            Burma Superstar
            1345 Park Street, Alameda, CA

            1. re: Calvinist

              I loved the lady owners here and their cooking! They said they opened in Daly City because it has a big concentration of Burmese people, who knew? I'll have notes soon from our lunch. If anyone's going today, I hope we'll hear about the homemade tofu, made of yellow pea powder. Didn't notice it on the menu yesterday and missed ordering it.

              The restaurant is near the corner of Hillcrest Dr, the other end of the block is John Daly Blvd, the Top of the Hill nabe. It's just a few blocks over the SF city line for those who have a hard time leaving the boundaries of San Francisco. The 49 bus goes right by and BART is walking distance.

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                That's the 14 bus, I think. The 49's route is the same through the Mission but then goes to to City College.

                1. re: bigwheel042

                  Thanks for the correction. I thought I saw a routing for the 49 bus when I checked yesterday, but I can't reproduce it now. The 14 bus runs from Mission & 4th to the restaurant. Daly City BART is 0.4 miles away according to google.

                  I hope you'll have a chance to try it. When one of the owners asked me about my interest in Burmese food, I mentioned that I'd been to an event at the temple in Half Moon Bay. She said that the original temple had been in Daly City until enough money was raised to purchase and build on the HMB site. I also got an update on the sweet matron who had fed me so well in the temple kitchen. She has retired to Los Angeles. It was like catching up with family.


                2. re: Melanie Wong

                  I love the yellow pea tofu at Pagan burmese in SF, so I'm excited to try another version. It strikes me as ideal food to order as takeout for a picnic in the park on a hot summer day, since at Pagan it is a cold salad.

                  1. re: SteveG

                    Little Yangon is open till 10pm and just off 280 with lots of parking, so might be an easy stop on the way home.

                    I want to hear about more dishes here!

                    Little Yangon
                    6318 Mission St, Daly City, CA 94014

                    1. re: SteveG

                      There is also a non-soy tofu - chickpea? - at BSS. Love it.

              2. The original comment has been removed
                1. Lapsed chowhound, Spencer, who’s recently returned to the Bay Area’s chow paradise, and yours truly attended Tuesday’s leisurely chowlunch. So, I’ll call our foray a scouting mission since we didn’t order that much rather than a chowdown to encourage a larger future meeting of ‘hounds here. Little Yangon has become my new favorite Burmese restaurant.

                  The restaurant’s street facing is all glass, letting in natural light on this overcast day. The tidy interior is quite simple. Near the entrance are some shelves stocked with Burmese food stuffs available for retail sale.

                  The cold case next to it has autographs and good wishes from friends and family.

                  An open salad station is set up in the front in what looks like a former steam table counter. Four slots hold crunchy bits, fresh garnishes, and dressing ingredients. We’d talked to one of the owners about the myriad of types of cooked, infused, and raw oils used to dress the salads. Here are photos of just part of the salad station's colorful mise en place for the huge variety of fried and raw crispy ingredients at the ready to mix to order.

                  This was Spencer’s first visit to a Burmese restaurant. His culinary preferences mostly come from living in Italy and growing up in Maryland. It was fun to share a different cuisine and to draw parallels to the familiar.

                  We started with the Tea leaf salad, $6.50, and on first sight, I knew we were in for a treat. Only the small, tender tea leaf shoots are used rather than the pulpy puree served at other restaurants, plus the tea leaves are in generous proportion. While the menu description mentions lettuce, this is a whole leaf of juicy Romaine under the mix serving as a base. Some cabbage slaw is blended in lightening the salad and isn’t what I’d consider a filler. Slivers of tomato were carefully cut from just the outside flesh and skin without seeds or gel. The fried and roasted components were all crackly fresh. In the photo you can see the stems of the fresh green chili peppers, providing more heat that other versions. With the fried garlic, ground dried shrimp and ample dose of fish sauce, this tea leaf salad had all the spitfire and textures I love about the dish. I did ask for some additional lime to brighten the flavors to my taste.

                  Next up was Chin Bong Jaw, $5, sour vegetable (sorrel-like) sauteed with green chili, bamboo shoots, fish sauce, dried shrimps, ngapi, and balachaung. The menu described this as having “prawns”, but that’s a reference to the ground dried shrimp. When it first hit the table, Spence was taken aback at the “aroma”. I suggested that he compare it to bitter greens braised with anchovy then given a shot of garum for good measure. He described it as having notes of barnyard and fire, finding the barnyard element more like the dried hay of the Rhone rather than the merde of Burgundy. This dish also has a healthy dose of red pepper flakes and fresh green chilis, starting off as moderately spicy but growing in capsicum heat with standing. Even though it doesn’t look like much, basically gloppy greenish-brown mush with a bit of colorful garnish, we both found it delicious. The taste grew on Spencer, and he especially appreciated how the extra side of order of sweet and fragrant coconut rice balanced the spicy/sour/bitter/barnyard/garlicky/salty/iron/grassy elements perfectly.

                  When I tried to order this, the owner asked if I’d had it before. The owner checked back more than once to see if it was okay, and seemed surprised by how much both of us liked it. Later she mentioned that she’s been careful to ask customers if they know this dish, as it seems to be an acquired taste. I asked whether we could see the uncooked vegetable to know what it looks like. She said that it has leaves like maple. The kitchen is using frozen now, as the season has passed. She buys it at the Alemany Farmers Market (and most of the other produce) during the summer and freezes as much as possible. Once the current supply is gone, that’s it until next year.

                  I also liked the sour vegetable scooped on a wedge of the excellent Palata. Not itemized on the menu, I ordered the flatbread plain without a side of curry, $3. Golden brown, flaky, crisp . . . beautiful job. Spence mused that he’d like to eat the paratha with caviar and crème fraiche. He also had an idea for making a dessert with mascarpone and fruit. The owner said she likes hers with sweetened condensed milk.

                  Then my favorite Burmese standard, Ohn Noh Kaw Swe, $6.50, coconut chicken noodle soup, thick with yellow peas and bits of succulent dark meat. It wasn’t ready yet when we ordered and the owner tried to get me switch to the mohinga. But we were willing to wait, and I’m glad we did, even though we got apologies that this was the “rushed” version. No apologies needed, we were very happy with the dish. Chicken-y, mild and with a comforting texture and soft noodles, the ohn noh kaw swe inspired Spencer to remark that he didn’t deserve this bowl because he wasn’t sick at home in bed. Later he pronounced it “Burmese carbonara”.

                  The red onion and cilantro garnishes were dewy fresh and joined with two kinds of crunchy crackers and half an egg on top of the soup. One of the ladies who does not speak much English asked if we wanted “more soup”. I didn't understand this as an offer to add more stock to our bowl, and wish we had. Be sure to ask for more to thin out the thick base. I also needed to add a squirt of lime juice. Our take-out container was topped off with another ladle.

                  I asked about other vegetables such as okra or water spinach. The owner said that there’s usually some available in the kitchen depending on the season. The water spinach (kangkung) can be served in hot and sour soup or stir-fried with balachaung.

                  Spencer shot this last photo of our meal with my camera. Since everything was new to him, he jotted down the names of the dishes on the paper-topped table. Here’s his cheat sheet and primer for Burmese food.
                  You can see the various chili peppers in the condiment dish that he had removed from his servings. The kitchen isn’t shy with chilis.

                  Chatting with the owners, we learned that Daly City has a high concentration of Burmese people. This shows in the cooking style, geared toward serving the ethnic community and not watered down. Unlike the other Burmese restaurants, the owners of Little Yangon are not ethnic Chinese and the menu is strictly Burmese dishes. This is a terrific new addition to the Burmese scene, and I thank “outrig8” for the head’s up.

                  Burmese Food Fair poster by Project Help Burma

                  Little Yangon
                  6318 Mission St, Daly City, CA 94014

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    You're very welcome. Was my first Chow post. This is a place that needs to stick around, so I wanted to spread the word.

                    1. re: outrig8

                      Thank you again for speaking up.

                      Any other places, new or old, you want to tell us about?

                    2. re: Melanie Wong

                      the "sour leaf" in chin [Bm]on jaw (also available at mandalay and burma superstar) is a kind of hibiscus that i have seen only occasionally in the farmer's market at alemany. it's also called roselle, and is used to make jamaica (the mexican drink, not the location of jfk airport). hm, here's an article on it:

                        1. re: markseiden

                          The dried Blossom is what is used to make Sorrel and Jamaica. Good to know that the leaves are edible.

                          1. re: chefj

                            Indian grocers sell the leaves as gongura, & they do look rather like maple leaves (well, actually they look somewhat like Another Kind of Leaf, possibly b/c, per Wikipedia, one variety of gongura is Hibiscus cannabinus?). Very sour, very good -- don't try to eat raw (lots of oxalic acid), though.