For anyone planning a trip to Yangon or wanting to do a little armchair travel, here's a list of food options in Myanmar to get you started:Read More
This has been an incredibly busy--and controversial--time of the year for cookbook news. First, the IACP book awards were announced at the end of February, preceding a drama-filled week of cookbook award bashing that culminated in a few award switcheroos. One thing for sure: it was hardly dull.Read More
"How are you going to write a recipe for tea leaf salad?"
This was the first question people asked me when I told them I was writing the Burma Superstar cookbook. It was a good one, too: tea leaf salad is the restaurant's most popular dish, but the key ingredient, laphet (fermented tea leaves), is hard to find outside of Burmese restaurants. It's actually hard to find this salad (or Burmese restaurants, for that matter), outside of the Bay Area. When friends come to town looking for food that they can't find back home, a Burmese meal is often on the list. And nearly every meal at a Bay Area Burmese restaurant starts with tea leaf salad. But it still remains one of the most mysterious ingredients in Burmese cooking. Where was it really from?Read More
While the details of how Burma Superstar came to be--a family took over a Chinese restaurant in the Inner Richmond, added Burmese dishes, changed the name, and later sold it to Desmond--is unique to the restaurant, the larger story is not. Like a lot of restaurants in diverse cities, it's a place that introduced new dishes and flavors to people outside of the community. It's part of the story of how immigration has made San Francisco a much more dynamic place to eRead More
While working on the Burma Superstar cookbook, I drank traditional milk tea, learned about edible tea, and visited countless temples. I also met a restaurant manager in Yangon who loved the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And Domino's pizza. The lesson: identity and sense of place is fluid, it will continue to be, and that's OK.Read More