Falls Church, VA
Tel: (703) 289-0013
Like you, my mother taught me that if I have nothing good to say, best not to say anything at all. So, at the risk of being impolite, I am still going to post this blog about our experience at Myanmar restaurant a few days ago. After all, the purpose of this blog is to inform our readers about local area restaurants.
We ate here once before, about 8 years ago. My husband said he is never coming back, but all this time later I could not remember whether I liked it then. I wanted to return to Myanmar - how bad can it be? After all, I love ALL Asian food! BUT this recent experience has forced me to modify that statement to ...I like MOST Asian food.
Still reading? Thank you!
Myanmar has been the flagship establishment for about 15 years in a tiny - really tiny, and dilapidated - really dilapidated, strip mall on the very lengthy and winding Virginia road - Lee Highway. There must be people who have had good meals here, for it to have lasted this long, right?
On this dining escapade back to Myanmar, my husband refused to have any part of it, per his initial experience. So, I brought along 4 of my unsuspecting, yet adventurous pals. We were led through a dark small empty dining hall to a very bright (70s' fluorescent lights) small dining hall with only one other table being occupied by a family with a screaming toddler, who was periodically rolled outside in his stroller and rolled back into the restaurant when he quieted down.
For starters, we ordered two salads and the samosas. One of the salads was the Green Papaya salad, the other one was... something else. But in reality, the two were practically indistinguishable to the point that even our non-Burmese waiter - he identified himself as Indian, and we identified him as providing terrible service - anyway, our waiter got the salads mixed up, that's how similar they were. Both consisted of some kind of shredded vegetables, smothered in a greasy mayo-like dressing that had a hint of peanut sauce. It was not quite like any papaya I've ever tasted.
In a recent issue of The Washington Diplomat, Michael Coleman, a seemingly kind soul, was very easy on Myanmar, calling it "downtrodden-looking" with "subtle" flavors and "slow and indifferent wait staff." That's pretty spot on, except with all the negativity in Mr. Coleman's review, he still somehow managed to enjoy some of the dishes. He suggested the fish soup called Mohingar, which I ordered, since usually I love soups, especially fish soups. Basically, it was a pile of mushy rice noodles, a boiled egg, and some kind of a thick fishy broth that had an absence of any flavor at all. The two dry lime wedges and the 3 half-stalks of fresh cilantro that came a-la-pho on the side, hardly enhanced the flavor.
My last dish was the Vegetable Curry. Let's just say... it had vegetables, including one of my favorites - Okra. As for the other entrees, I don't exactly recall the chicken dishes that my friends ordered, only that all of them were swimming in chili oil. The chicken was swimming in chili oil, not my friends. As you can see in the photos below.
There were actually two things that I liked about Myanmar, and you'll never guess what they were:
One is the Jamaican Ginger Beer. In a Burmese restaurant. Nonetheless, it was bottled, imported from Jamaica, and it was very good.
And two.... wait for it.... when we complained that one of our chicken dishes took nearly 40 minutes to come out and suggested that they should not charge us for a dish that took so long to be served, the waiter brought out the actual owner. She did comp us the meal, to her credit, although she could care less about the fact that our water glasses were never refilled, etc. AND she said something that was music to an Asian food lover's ears - THIS RESTAURANT IS ABOUT TO CLOSE! It is being bought by someone who may turn it into a South American restaurant.
That's certainly welcome news! Maybe now I will be able to once again say that I love ALL Asian food. I know there are several other Burmese restaurants in the Northern Virginia area.... should we go see if they are any different? Please tell me that not all Burmese restaurants are as bad as Myanmar. ALL COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS ON THIS TOPIC FROM OUR READERS WILL BE WELCOMED!!!
Fortunately, we still managed to enjoy our evening with friends with great conversation.
One of the salads, makes no difference which one, since they were indistinguishable
Mohingar fish soup with mushy noodles and tiny side of dry lime wedges and cilantro
What the soup looks like when it's all put together
Communal rice bowl and something swimming in chili oil
One of the chicken dishes on top and vegetable curry on the bottom