It is surprising that out of all the cuisines that exist in Delhi, most come from far away geographically. Italy is hardly a close neighbour; even Thailand is a 5 hour plane ride away. We have never tried to explore the cuisines of our immediate neighbours, so although Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Myanmar have cuisines that would suit our palates, but have seldom been explored. Burmese Kitchen is a step in that direction. It is a Gurgaon-based home delivery service for Burmese, Chinese and Thai food. It is also extremely popular for party catering. They do other cuisines (like Moroccan and European, wine and cheese etc), but the fact of the matter is that the Dass sisters whose venture it is, have Burmese food as their core competence.
They have eaten Burmese food throughout their childhood because a branch of the family hailed from that country. As a corollary, the food of their takeaway tends to be more home-style than typically restaurant food. And no, there is no dumbing down of the cuisine to suit local tastes: Burmese food <I>does<I> have a lot in common with Indian food. But then, it also has commonalities with Thai and Chinese food too, yet with its own inimitable touches.
Green bean and sesame salad (Rs 150) is an unbelievably simple yet startlingly refreshing combination. The green beans are steamed and the finely sliced onions are fried to golden brown. It is almost as if an Indian set about trying to create a salad that would be acceptable to his palate and came up with fried onions as an ingredient for a salad. Sesame seeds are sprinkled generously over it, but there’s a secret ingredient that makes in irresistible. Nanji (Rs 250) is another one of those almost-Indian dishes. It features noodles and chicken nuggets plus another rather Indian ingredient, used in a Burmese way. So, what is it? I don’t think I’ll spoil your fun: you try and guess when you order it.
The vast majority of customers order Khao Suey with Chicken, Mutton, Shrimp, Vegetarian (Rs 250/250/300/200). What will reach your doorstep is a kind of do-it-yourself kit. There is the thick soup with coconut milk and the secret Burmese ingredient. You pour in the noodles yourself, when you are ready to eat it, and then there are a whole pile of ziplock bags containing variously chilli flakes, chopped boiled eggs, deep-fried garlic slices, fried onions, wedges of lime, chopped coriander, minced green chillies and chopped roasted peanuts. North Thailand has its own version of this Burmese signature, but that one does not contain any thickening ingredient. The Thai version is more readily available in the NCR.
If Khao Suey has a parallel in Thai food, so does Mohinga (Rs 300), which you could consider is the Burmese version of Tom Yum soup. It is much more filling, though, with noodles, chillies and lime juice. Take out the noodles and the liquid is remarkably like Tom Yum, without prawns and with flaked fish.
The one dish that has a decidedly acquired taste is Burmese Chicken (Rs 220). The chicken chunks have thin gravy, diced tomatoes and lashings of fish sauce. It is the interplay between chicken and fish (sauce) that sets the tone for this one, but it does evoke strong reactions.
Tel: 0124-4045377, 9310863822
Minimum order: Between Rs 500-1000 Gurgaon depending on exact location; Rs 3000 South Delhi
Menu: www.burmesekitchen.in; facebook: burmesekitchen
Lunch: 12 noon to 3 pm; dinner: 7 pm to 10 pm
Meal for two: Rs 750