Monday, October 7, 2013

Burma Road: Lil Burma Food Truck Comes To SoMa StrEat Food Park

We've seen Korean food trucks on the streets of San Francisco.  Chinese food trucks. Japanese food trucks. Filipino Food trucks. Vietnamese food trucks. Thai food trucks. Until now we've not had a Burmese food truck (not counting a rogue Burmese food purveyor that operated briefly a couple of years back from a borrowed truck at a borrowed location).  Now comes Lil Burma, a fully permitted food truck with a Rangoon chef and a menu of authentic Burmese specialties. The founder of Lil Burma, which also does catering, is Lewis Eng who, according to the company's website, is originally from Rangoon, with parents from Meiktila and Mandalay, and a chef since 1985.

Lil Burma debuted at SoMa StrEat Food Park just last Friday and I caught up with it there today while on a Costco run.  It was featuring a menu of signature Burmese dishes, inclucding Burma's "National dish" (by most accounts), mohinga, and local food fan favorite, tea leaf salad:

1) Catfish Soup with Rice Noodle (Moh Hinga)
2) Coconut Chicken Noodle (Ohn No Khauk Swe')
3) Tea Leaf Salad (Lap Pat Thouk)
4) Noodle Salad with Chicken (Kyat Tha Khauk Swe' Thouk)
5) Burmese Curry Prawn (Pa Zune Se Pyan Chet)
6) Burmese Curry Chicken with Lemon Grass (Kya Tha Zapalin)
7) Indian Style Curry Chicken (Kalar Kyat Tha Se Pyan)

I chose the mohinga, a benchmark of sorts for me, which I have eaten from ceramic bowls at sitdown restaurants, from paper bowls on my lap sitting on the grass at Thingyan festivals, and now from a plastic soup takeout container from a food truck. It's basically a catfish chowder with rice vermicelli, chopped clilantro, chick peas, shallots, garlic, chilies and lime wedges. Although my bowl (er, container) of mohinga had the Stoneware Soup Principle* working against it , it was a substantial and savory creation and a worthy example of its genre. and inducement enough to return to the Lil Burma truck and work through the rest of the menu.

Given the City's reputation among gastro-tourists as a place to try out Burmese food,  It's only right that SF now has Burmese in it's food truck mix.

*The heavier the bowl, the tastier the noodles