Taste of Burma

Did you ever wake up one day and think to yourself, “Well, gee willy. I really want to go eat some delicious Burmese cuisine today. Where should I go?” Well, you’re in store for a treat today.

A few weeks ago, my friend Ken asked me if I had ever eaten Burmese food (Myanmar for those who prefer to go by the official name of the country). In my best western cowboy accent, I said, “Well, gosh, Ken. I reckon that I sure as heck have never eaten Burmese food in my life. I couldn’t even identify Burma on a map because I received my education in the United States.” Okay, so maybe the conversation didn’t really go exactly that way, but that’s how I recall it!

Anyway, Ken suggested that we have a group dinner at a Burmese restaurant called Irrawaddy Taste of Burma, which is located in the lovely city of Stanton, California (I later found out from a very nice woman in the ATM line that Staton is part of Orange County, not LA County like I had mistakenly thought). Ken said he likes to take his friends to Irrawaddy because it serves the most delicious food on Earth, excluding Antarctica. “Poppycock!” is what I was thinking in an English accent after Ken made this bold claim. Maybe I’m imagining the conversation again, but that’s how I like to remember it. Anyway, I digress. I accepted Ken’s dinner proposition, then invited our mutual friends to join us after we agreed on a date and time.

The group dinner was two nights ago. Ken, our friend Sarah and I were the participants at the group dinner (we’re collectively known as the cool people in our group of friends). Because Ken had been to Irrawaddy many times already, he showed Sarah and me (aka the rookies) the ropes to ordering food. And by showing us the ropes, I mean he recommended his favorite entrees.

We agreed on two appetizers, while each one of us ordered an entree that we would share amongst ourselves. The two appetizers were the tea leaf salad (also called la phat thote) and paratha. The tea leaf salad had peanuts, lentils, fried garlic, sesame seed, sunflower seed, tomato, romaine lettuce with lime tea leaf dressing, and the paratha was a flatbread that came with a curry dipping sauce. Ken ordered the veggie stew, which consisted of eggplant, cauliflower, okra, squash, carrots and potatoes, simmered with Burmese spices, tamarind, and lentil. Sarah ordered the eggplant curry, which is eggplant, okra and cilantro slow cooked with tomato-base paprika curry. I ordered the tea leaf lamb, which consisted of lamb cubes and tea leaf simmered with special spices.

All the food was delicious. I am by no means a foodie, so the fact that I’m writing about the food from this restaurant should mean something. My favorite dish had to be the tea leaf salad. I think I could eat it all day long. This is not hyperbole because I seriously could eat it all day long. After we finished eating most of the appetizers and entrees, the waitress was silly enough to ask if we wanted to order dessert. I can assure you all that dessert was not going to happen because we all stuffed ourselves silly, especially yours truly.

Before the night concluded, Sarah asked the waitress about the meaning of Irrawaddy. The waitress explained that it’s the name of a river in Burma/Myanmar. According to Wikipedia, the Irrawaddy River runs north/south and is the largest river and most important commercial waterway in Burma/Myanmar. If you are craving delicious Burmese food and want to try Irrawaddy, the restaurant not the river, then by all means check out this great establishment.

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