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Rangoon Super Stars - Berkeley

Robert Lauriston Sep 7, 2013 10:42 AM

New Burmese place opened this week. Chef-owner was formerly at Rangoon Ruby's.

Got mohinga ($11), ginger salad ($10), and rainbow salad ($12) to go, all were very good, packaged thoughtfully so that stuff didn't get soggy.


  1. Melanie Wong Sep 7, 2013 10:48 AM

    Cool. U Win Aye has the chops and maybe in Berkeley he won't feel compelled to dumb down the food.

    Wondering if BSS owners will fire off a cease-and-desist over the name.

    Rangoon Super Stars
    2826 Telegraph Ave
    Berkeley, CA 94705 USA
    Phone: 510.647.9744

    1. Robert Lauriston Sep 11, 2013 05:02 PM

      Went back for a sit-down dinner.

      Fried yellow bean tofu with chile sauce was delicate and delicious.

      Burmese rice salad was one of those dishes with lots of crunchy elements. Good, spicy, aromatic from fried shrimp and garlic.

      Samosa soup was very good though more filling than I remember Burma Superstar's being. Had not just crumbled samosas and falafel but chickpeas and potatoes. About as hearty as vegan food gets.

      Burmese pad Thai, too sweet for me, would not order again.

      Stir-fried broccoli was simple and good. Maybe the Chinese dishes are worth a try here.

      1. escargot3 Sep 12, 2013 11:03 AM

        Wow! Am I impressed with the quality of the meal a group of us had yesterday. Y'all should run and see what the chef is creating in this new location.

        The 2 big tests:
        - Palata: As good as Little Rangoon in Daly City. The dough is quite flavorful -- a different texture than Daly City or Mandalay, and the chicken curry sauce for dipping was a knock out. I woulda licked the bowl clean...
        - Tea Leaf Salad: Some will be disappointed by the presence of chopped lettuce. But the flavor.... wow. A huge success.

        Then equally pleasing:
        - Rangoon Shrimp - a large serving of shrimp in a red curry sauce with tomatoes, garlic and a good hit of chile peppers. It's a winner.

        One disappointment:
        No liquor license -- kinda confusing since that location has always had a bar. Hopefully the city of Berkeley will OK that sooner rather than later.

        Run don't walk.

        2 Replies
        1. re: escargot3
          Robert Lauriston Sep 12, 2013 12:18 PM

          There's a license application in the window, type 41, beer & wine only. Shouldn't be any problem with the city given the history.

          I wonder if they know they might be able to get a temporary license pending the ABC's approval of the permanent one?

          1. re: Robert Lauriston
            escargot3 Sep 12, 2013 12:26 PM

            It doesn't appear that they do know about the temp license. But I will mention it to them next time. I'm sure to be back soon.

        2. arktos Sep 12, 2013 12:20 PM

          Would you know if it's related in some way to Burma SuperStar in Oakland?

          1 Reply
          1. re: arktos
            Robert Lauriston Sep 12, 2013 12:24 PM

            Only connection is that the chef worked at one or more of the Burma Superstar branches before he worked at Rangoon Ruby's.

          2. Melanie Wong Sep 13, 2013 08:18 AM

            I dropped in this week for a quick dinner, ordering one of my favorite Burmese dishes, ono kauk swe. Here's the menu description:

            "Ohnoh Kawt Swe (Coconut Noodle Soup)
            A rich and creamy bisque with flour noodles. Served with chicken, onion, tamarind powder, paprika, and garnished with onion, cilantro, and lemon "

            This was very heavy and sweet with coconut, more like gravy with noodles than a soup. Much too sweet, I squeezed in all the lemon and added most of the chile flakes that were served on the side. Still lacking spark. The pieces of chicken were tender, actually nearly mushy from overcooking but that's pretty typical. Only shaved red onions, no fried shallots as garnish, and it has a hard-boiled egg that's not mentioned. I'd say this was above average, but not a dish I'd order here again.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Melanie Wong
              escargot3 Sep 13, 2013 11:17 AM

              a cautionary tale -- seems like I will have to tiptoe thru the menu carefully.

              just curious -- did you consider sending it back or talking with the chef?

              1. re: escargot3
                Melanie Wong Sep 13, 2013 03:27 PM

                No, I think that's just the style here. If I'd had more time and wasn't in a hurry, I probably would have asked if fried shallots were available as well as chicken soup to dilute the thick gravy. It's served in a rather shallow bowl, so really not what I'd call a soup dish.

                During the time I was there, I overheard two different parties emphasize to their server that they wanted no spicy heat at all. Then another that went into a long litany about low sodium needs and dialysis. All I could think was "Welcome to Berkeley".

                1. re: Melanie Wong
                  Robert Lauriston Sep 13, 2013 03:53 PM

                  I didn't have to ask for the lime and cilantro for the mohinga.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                    Melanie Wong Sep 16, 2013 09:02 PM

                    My poor syntax in the post about the coconut chicken noodles. Shaved red onions, cilantro, lime, and chile flakes were provided as garnish when the dish was served. No fried shallots. I asked for chopsticks and was handed a disposable pair.

                    And your mention of mohinga reminds me that the woman sitting at the table next to me ordered it. When it arrived, she proceeded to spoon it over here coconut rice and eat it off a plate. Whatever.

                  2. re: Melanie Wong
                    Ruth Lafler Nov 11, 2013 01:12 PM

                    It's also not far from Alta Bates hospital and lots of medical offices and facilities in the area.

              2. drewskiSF Sep 13, 2013 05:12 PM

                Tea Leaf Salad - The waitress seemed timid mixing it up and basically just pushed things around and left the tea leaves in a couple of clumps. We re-mixed after she left. Overall a bit disappointing with a paltry amount of tea leaves compared to the lettuce. The bites that had some were very good, but not enough for the size of the dish.

                Egg & Okra Curry - Good flavors. Okra not slimey. Never had a deep-fried boiled egg and firm outer skin added an interesting texture and flavor.

                Garlic Chili Sauce Shrimp & Eggplant - Our favorite dish of the meal. Perfectly cooked, juicy shrimp. 5 medium shrimp seemed a little stingy.

                Burmese - Indian Rice - A little bland. The similar Tam-poi rice at Burma SS has a lot more flavor.

                We had asked for "medium" spicy and got pretty mild.

                1. j
                  Joel Sep 15, 2013 07:11 PM

                  Six of us had a nice dinner here early Saturday night.
                  We ordered:
                  Burmese rice salad. This was good but a bit oily -- we should have asked for lemon wedges to perk it up.
                  Burmese Garlic Noodles with Duck. Excellent.
                  Rangoon Lemon Grass Pork. Excellent; came with snap peas.
                  Village Catfish. Excellent.
                  Yellow Tofu in Red Curry. Excellent. This was the only dish we ordered "spicy"; the heat level was fine. I detected notes of cinnamon or nutmeg in the sauce. The "tofu" itself looked like squares of fried tofu but it had a custard texture. Very unusual.
                  Pea Leaves -- this was the only dish that was ordinary.
                  Complimentary "fish chips" were provided, tasty but oily.
                  We also ordered two bowls of brown rice.

                  One member of the group being unable to tolerate spicy food, we ordered most of the dishes "mild." Hot sauce was provided upon request -- two kinds; an incendiary dried red pepper crumble, and a sweet liquid sauce like Sriracha. The latter was a welcome addition to several of the dishes.
                  Parties of six or more have an automatic tip added to the bill; the menu specifies 20% but our bill only had a 15% charge. We upped the tip and wound up spending only $16 per person, a good value; the portions are reasonably large.
                  Service was very good -- they were only about one-third full and there was a plethora of servers, plus many cooks in the kitchen; the food came out piping hot and in good order.
                  We'll be back when they get a liquor license -- if their corkage fee is not unreasonable.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Joel
                    chefj Apr 10, 2014 01:19 PM

                    The "Tofu" is not the Normal Soy Product but made more like Polenta from either Chickpea Flour or Ground Yellow Peas.

                    1. re: Joel
                      chefj Apr 10, 2014 01:26 PM

                      Had the Nan Gyi Dok, Rice noodles with coconut chicken sauce, yellow bean powder, cilantro, fried onion, and topped with a hardboiled egg
                      It was good(not as good as Mandalay's), the Curry had a deep, cooked onion flavor(lots of Umami) very little chili heat. Toppings were a little skimpy and the Noodles where a little soft for me.
                      Their house made chili paste was a great and needed accompaniment.
                      I will go back to try more.

                    2. ...tm... Apr 10, 2014 01:52 PM

                      I stopped by recently with a vegetarian companion and was surprised at how good the green tea salad and yellow tofu salads were, even without fish sauce (though I did ask that the dried shrimp be served on the side.) We also got the palada, which was a bit flabby, though much better toasted the next morning. I was surprised by the vegetarian curry served on the side--it wasn't the coconut milk/red curry paste version I expected, but a tomato and chopped vegetable tomato and dried spice based curry which included some chopped pressed tofu.
                      I'll definitely be back to sample more dishes.

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