Friday, August 21, 2009

Mandalay Restaurant, Fine Burmese Cuisine in Maryland

Well, I've posted on Anthony Bourdain's episode in D.C.; on the fine Vietnamese Four Sisters Restaurant in Virginia; and even on Penang Restaurant in Bethesda where I experiment with Malaysian cuisine, so it's about time that I finally posted about what is surely my favorite restaurant in the whole area: Mandalay Restaurant and Cafe in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Not only is this honestly one of my favorite eating establishments, it is conveniently located a mere block from my current place of employment.

I first went to Mandalay in its old location in College Park. At that time, the atmosphere was a bit cramped, and the interior not as fancy, but the food was just as interesting. In this area, there are two Malaysian restaurants, one Indonesian place in Northern Virginia, and now at least two Burmese restaurants. However, only a few years ago, Mandalay was the only place in this area where one could sample the cuisine of Myanmar (Burma).

This is a restaurant where I've never had a bad meal. Honestly. The family-run feel is still present and there's usually someone available to help navigate the menu -- or steer a regular into something new based upon that regular's preferences.

One of my favorite dishes is V08, Pe Pyoke Kyet Thun Gyaw which is a yellow bean -- Vatana -- mixed with scallion, onion, and perhaps onion powder. It comes with white rice and tastes just as good in the "mild" version as it does in the "spicy" version.

It's a must that I also get a "black ice tea" which at Mandalay means Iced La Pet Yay (number BG01 on the menu).

According to experts, Mo Hingar is the national dish of Burma and it's also a tasty addition to any dinner order at Mandalay. Mo Hingar is rice noodles in fish soup with cilantro and lime on the side (S02 on the menu).

Follow all of that up with Shwe Ji for dessert. Shwe Ji is cream of wheat, raisins, sugar, milk, and poppy seed topping baked golden brown in the oven.

I am not a great food writer so hopefully my pictures will convey the deliciousness of my favorite local restaurant.

Check out Mandalay here and the vegetarian menu is worth highlighting as well since some of this meat-eater's favorite entrees are on that page!