Pae parata $5.50
The food of Burma isn't widely known or recognised around the world. Sydneysiders, blessed with such a diversity of restaurants at their fingertips, have a specialist Burmese restaurant in their own backyard.
Burma shares borders with several countries in Southeast Asia: China, Laos, Thailand, Bangladesh and India, and has borrowed elements from all of them to create a unique style of cuisine. Curries sit alongside salads, joined by tofu and fermented fish.
The menu has changed a little since my last visit here in 2006, moving from gigantic laminated A3 sheets to a spiral-bound folder that is much easier to peruse. The decor is still much the same, dark timber chairs and tables in a chocolate brown colour scheme that resonates a sense of calm.
I'd been keen to order the pae parata and we're rewarded with a square of golden pastry that has a delicate flakiness similar to roti. We tear it into small pieces and use it to scoop up dollops of the green lentil puree, crunchy with a garnish of fried red shallots.
Pennywort salad $5.50
Pennywort salad is perfect for summer, thin shavings of red onion tossed through with tomato, fish sauce and coriander. There's not a great deal of pennywort present, but the salad is full of zing.
Fried salt and pepper pork chop $12
Our penchant for anything deep-fried leads us to the fried salt and pepper pork chop. Coated generously in batter, the pork is tender on the bone and we relish the scattering of chopped shallots and spicy red chilli.
Crispy beef (chilli) $10
We struggle with the crispy beef, and not just with the chilli factor. It's mind-numblingly hot, bearable for myself, but several degrees too hot for R who isn't the biggest chilli fan. I find the beef more dry, than crispy, with almost a beef jerky consistency. The fried shallot chips only add to the sense of dryness.
Bagan chicken $12
We finish with Bagan chicken, strips that are battered, fried and then doused with a sticky and sweet chilli sauce. Sesame seeds add nuttiness and shallots help cut through the grease.
The candy pink concoction that is faluda doubles as both a drink and dessert. The crushed ice drink is super sweet and strong with the flavour of rosewater, made creamier by a scoop of vanilla ice cream. A fat straw is provided to help suck up the tangle of cooked vermicelli noodles and finely chopped jelly.
The prices? We eat for $15 a head plus drinks. That's sweeter than our pink faluda.
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Bagan Burmese Restaurant
Shop 4, 41 The Boulevarde
Tel: +61 (02) 8746 0666
Tuesday to Sunday 12pm-10pm
Closed on Mondays
Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Strathfield - Bagan (Oct06) (Burmese)
Strathfield - Crystal Seafood (Chinese)
Strathfield - Bar Biscotti (Cafe/Breakfast)
Strathfield North - Gorkha Palace (Nepalese)
Strathfield North - Outback Steakhouse (American)
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2/03/2010 12:32:00 a.m.