San Francisco: Mandalay Restaurant

AF, CL, T, and I originally planned on waking up early and grabbing brunch Sunday morning.  Hah!  We were only fooling ourselves.

What we did instead, was sleep in.  Then we got lunch at Mandalay Restaurant:


According to T, if you want real authentic Burmese food, Mandalay is the place to go.  Even more so than Burma Superstar.  Wut?  This I had to check out.

The decor was quite charming:


Especially the Christmas ornaments.

CL ordered a coconut drink:


We started off with the tea leaf salad or lap pat dok:


Unlike Burma Superstar, the tea leaf salad at Mandalay has no lettuce filler.  No, sirree.

Only Burmese tea leaves, toasted lentil seeds, ground shrimp, fried garlic, peppers, sesame seeds, and peanuts.  Our server barely let me snap a photo before he started mixing everything up:


Crunchy, pungent, and very, very yummy.

My favorite, however, was the fish chowder or moo hin nga:


The fried ground catfish added a crunchy element to the thick chowder.  Love it.

The rainbow salad was a bit less mind-blowing:


I couldn't take a picture pre-mixing because the lady server who brought us the rainbow salad told me no photos allowed in the restaurant.  Which was strange because the man who brought us the tea leaf salad didn't say anything as I took pictures of him merrily mixing away.

Fine then.  I just waited until she left.  (I'm a bad person.  I know.)

The description of the rainbow salad said that it's made of 20 ingredients.  Not sure what those 20 ingredients are, but the dish as a whole was rather tasteless.  Especially when compared to the tea leaf salad and the fish chowder.

Another hit with our group was the Mandalay special noodle:


Again, photo post-mixing.  The flat noodles came with mild coconut chicken, yellow peas powder, lime juice, onion, and fried noodle.  So creamy and delicious.  Coconut is always a plus for me.

I was a bit less excited about the Mandalay eggplant:


Normally, I can't get enough of eggplant.  But this one...meh.  It came fried, but soggy.  I nibbled on a few and then focused my attention back on the fish chowder.

At the end of the meal, we were brought complimentary sweet potato desserts:


Complimentary is always good, though I'm not sure I would ever order this of my own accord.  It's not bad. Just not awesome.

I would definitely choose Mandalay over Burma Superstar.  Less wait, less fuss, and better food to boot.

Thank goodness we couldn't wake up on time.


Mandalay Restaurant
4348 California St
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 386-3895
http://www.mandalaysf.com/

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