Tuesday, October 23, 2012

vegan mofo :: burmese night out

Rangoon in Philly. Get the Basil Tofu. Just do it.

Between Vegan Mofo and working on the photo shoots and recipe testing for the new pie cookbook, I've been eating just about all of my meals at home. But I recently enjoyed a few bites out at Rangoon, and caught up with my dear friend [and fierce paddle boarded and hula-hooper] Stacey. Rangoon features lovely Burmese food with a whole slew of vegan options. Just as you'd imagine because of its location at the crossroads of China, India and Thailand, Burmese food is incredibly complex, influenced by a plethora of ingredients and flavors… think curries, flatbreads, tofu, and tons of veggies, all delicately or aggressively spiced, depending on the dish. The waiters are very sweet and helpful, but it's still prudent to ask if ingredients like fish sauce or eggs are used in your dishes.

Thousand Layer Bread with Potato Curry Sauce
Our eyes were bigger than our stomachs; we shared many dishes and enjoyed them all. We started with the Thousand Layer Bread, and practically inhaled it. It's a large flat bread, similar to a paratha. I only detected one layer, but it didn't matter because it was such a simple, satisfying way to start a meal, especially when dipped in the sweet-leaning potato curry sauce.

Sauteed Fresh Mushrooms in a Spicy Sauce
I had a hankering for mushrooms and ordered the Sauteed Fresh Mushrooms in a Spicy Sauce. Despite its austere demeanor in the photo, this dish was actualy a complex blend of spicy zings and interesting textures [crunchy peppers, chewy 'shrooms, soft onions].

Burmese Tofu Salad
We ordered two tofu dishes. The Basil Tofu, pictured at the top of the page, was perfection. When contrasted with the spicy-hot sauce, the licorice-scented basil plays so nicely and almost seems to cool the palate. We also tried the Burmese Tofu Salad, which consisted of homemade tofu, garlic, sesame and coriander, and lime leaves in a tamarind sauce. The texture of the tofu here was unlike any I've ever tasted – it was light, porous and almost "cheesy" – slightly fermented, possibly because it was homemade. The flavors here were subtle but complex – quieter and a nice balance to the other spice bombs we ordered.

Night Market in Chinatown
As it turned out, it was Night Market in Chinatown. So after dinner, we strolled about and took in the festive vibe. The streets overflowed with people, music and food carts....

Steamy Chinatown kitchen
Enticing smells emanated from open kitchens....Stacey pointed out this ethereal photo op.

He doesn't know he's this cute. 
...And of course, what would a Night Market be without cute dogs? Stacey and I were like the Pupp-arazzi, snapping photos of this little cutie.

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Amey said...

nice! I've never had Burmese food - but there's a place up in the East Bay called Burmese Superstar - which is supposedly fantastic. I can't wait to try it out.

Keen on Food said...

Yes, I've never had it either, but I think there is a Burmese place in London that you've jogged my memory to look out for. Looks like a curious fusion..

Kale Crusaders said...

I think that the tofu in Burmese Tofu Salad is chickpea tofu. It is delicious and strangely cheese-like!

If you ever find yourself in Boston, YoMa is an awesome Burmese place and conveniently located next door to 3 area-favorite vegan establishments--Grasshopper (Pan-Asian), Peace o'Pie (pizza!), and FoMu (ice cream).