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Usually it is a cuisine that becomes popular and not just a singular dish. While with Thai, Chinese, Mexican or even Italian food there are at least more than one dish that diners are familiar with and restaurants tend to re-hash on their menu in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian avatars. Surprisingly, Burmese food has not become as popular, as say Thai or Chinese despite having similar flavours.
I suppose the lack of travel to Myanmar might have something to do with it but there is one dish that is a smashing hit with diners in the city and it is their Khow Suey. The dish is simple. It is a flavourful curry broth served with noodles and garnished with a host of condiments like fried garlic, fried onions, coriander, lime, chili flakes and even peanuts. Due to Myanmar’s proximity to Thailand, the dish is quite popular in Northern Thailand where it is called Khao Soi which is possibly why it got so familiar. Other Burmese dishes have not quite made as much of an impact as their Khow Suey and believe it or not, you can find this one in many restaurants menus.
It all started when Farrokh Khambata opened his restaurant Joss and started to first serve the dish. Many followed and some might have possibly been serving it before him, but it was universally agreed that he did it the best. Joss shut down and over the years he launched Cafe NCPA and Umame, both restaurants still serve his version of the Burmese Khow Suey and it still is as delicious as before.
Chef Nikhil Chib's, Busaba and its smaller version Busago are excellent restaurants for Asian dishes. Along with their signature item momos, their claim to fame is also their delicious version of Khow Suey. In fact, a plate of steaming momos and a big bowl of curry with noodles is an ideal meal at either of these restaurants.
The popular restaurant Lemon Leaf has outlets in Bandra as well as Andheri and is an ideal eatery for tasty Asian food at a fair price. You would not feel cheated when you pay your bill because not only is the food good, their price point is fair and the portions are large. They serve this coconut curry but also gives you a choice of rice instead of noodles and even go as far as to offer you brown rice or wheat noodles.
Burma Burma is the city's first exclusive Burmese restaurant, but is strictly vegetarian, which can get tricky since a lot of their cuisine is meat or seafood based. However, the clientele that frequents this restaurant don’t mind at all and relish their food and the Khow Suey in particular. Naturally, it is a vegetarian version but full of flavour and quite delightful.
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Better known as the Tiny Taster, Roxanne is an internationally respected blogger and expert on the Mumbai food scene. She has hosted many events, including the Upper Crust Food & Wine Show and travels the world, sharing her knowledge and gaining more experience.