A very authentically prepared and reasonable priced Burmese food. Also, super-close (only a twelve-minute drive) from SFO.
Elegant and stylish enough for a date night, but also casual enough for a cheap lunch in Burlingame. Also, if you’ve got a layover in SFO and want to get your Burmese fix, this is the place to go.
How It Was:
I’ve already spilled plenty of digital ink explaining my obsession with Burmese food, so I don’t think I need to spend too much time going into detail about why I love this kind of food. The real key things to know about Mingalaba are that it is located in on the main downtown strip in Burlingame, only like ten minutes from SFO. And all of the dishes we had were very authentically prepared and the prices were very reasonable to boot.
I assume the prices are low to compete with their notably more expensive Burmese next-door neighbor — a branch of Rangoon Ruby. On our visit, we were fortunate enough to be able to walk right in on a Friday night and grab a table for four with no wait whatsoever. Honestly, there’s not a whole lot to knock about the spot. The food was absolutely outstanding.
What We Ate:
Lap Pat Dok
This was a really excellent rendition of the dish. The raw jalapeno added quite a lot of heat and there were plenty of crunchy, nutty elements to make this salad exciting. The fermented green tea leaf dressing/topping was spot on too.
Avocado Tempura Shrimp Spring Rolls
This is not the first dish I’d think of getting at a Burmese restaurant, but I saw a tip on it and decided to give it a shot. Pretty amazing actually. The delicate, sticky, rice paper wrapper held carefully sliced, creamy avocado together around crispy tempura fried shrimp, glass noodles, crisp cabbage slaw. It was pretty mild on its own, but with the peanutty tamarind dipping sauce poured over top, it really came alive.
If you’re getting a saucy dish like curry, this is a must order to sop up all that delicious liquid. This rice was especially light and fluffy and had a good amount of coconut flavor.
Pumpkin Yellow Chicken
I had heard that this dish often comes served inside a hollowed out gourd, so I was a little disappointed to not get that experience. But, other than that, this creamy, yellow curry was absolutely outstanding. The large hunks of winter squash took on an amazingly tender and crisp consistency and the curry flavor was incredibly rich, comforting, and delicious. The chicken was impressively moist too.
Burmese Style Curry Pork with Potatoes
This was definitely my favorite dish of the meal. This deep, dense, chunky brown curry had a great amount of heat and earthy funk. Sunk inside were gigantic, tender, meaty pork chunks and soft-stewed potatoes. This was particularly great spooned over a mound of coconut rice.