Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Burmese Food Pop-Up Hyde-ing In Plain Sight In My Own 'Hood At Jonas On Hyde.

Samosas/samusas from Ken's pop-up, plated by me.

I've been chasing Burmese cuisine all over town for the past year or so, partly because for my other blog I'm working on an overview of all the mohingas* in town, and because I'm becoming increasingly interested in Burmese food generally. I thought I knew all of the Burmese food sources in town, until an off-hand mention on of a Yelp reference to unspecified Burmese pop-up sent me searching the web. My jaw dropped when I found out the the venue was a sandwich shop called Jonas on Hyde, in my own neighborhood, and the pop-up has been happening for at least four months.

Jonas on Hyde, on the corner of Hyde and Vallejo, serves bagelly breakfasts and ecstatically-reviewed paninis for lunch seven days a week.  On Tuesday through Saturday evenings from 5:00 to 9:00 PM a friend of the owner's, an earnest and friendly young man named Ken, takes over and prepares Burmese food for eat in or take out.  

Ken's menu of the day is brief, though he sometimes adds specials at the advance request of friends. It includes Samosa (samusa) appetizers, Classic Tea Leaf and Ginger Salads, a hot Chicken Noodle Salad, and thre three curries: Beef, Burmese Classic Chicken, and Eggplant.

At Ken's suggestion, I ordered the Samusas, and, being a noodle guy, the "Flat Noodles" (Chicken Noodles).  They are prepared in "to go containers" but apparently may be eaten on-site, according to accounts on Yelp.  I wavered, but decided to take them home, only a ten-minute walk, all the better to photograph, dissect and analyze them away from Ken's watchful gaze (I was the only customer in the store at that point).

The samosas (or samusas, as the Burmese usually call them) were the winner of the two dishes. They were deep fried and nicely crispy (even after their ten-minute walk and five-minute photo session) with a spicy potato filling and a chili-garlic-lime dipping sauce.  The chicken noodles were probably what the Burmese would call Nanbyagyi thoke (to use Wikipedia's romanization). There was a hearty amount of chicken (which appeared to be grilled) and tagliatelle-style wheat noodles. Cilantro and what may have been lime leaves, crushed chili and garlic were among the ingredients in the fish-sauce based dressing. (I regret not having eaten in to ask about the ingredients, as I am not a super-taster). Overall, it was a hearty and tasty noodle dish, but not much out of the ordinary.

I'll certainly return to check out the curries and the ginger salad. The tea leaf salad, if authentic, is not something my insomnia wants me to eat in the evenings.

And Ken has promised me a Mohinga.

Jonas@Night Burmese pop-up
Tue-Sat 5:00-9:00 PM
Jonas on Hyde St.
1800 Hyde Street at Vallejo

*A catfish chowder, regarded as Burma's National dish.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments will be moderated. Spam and unnecessarily abusive comments will be deleted.