Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Burma Road Food: Kyat Tha Khauk Swe' Thouk (What?) From Lil Burma Food Truck

The San Francisco Bay Area, long blessed with a richness of Burmese cuisine choices, finally has its first full-fledged, street legal Burmese food truck in Lil Burma, as reported in my other blog.  Wherever there is Burmese food there are noodles, and after having sampled Lil Burma's Mohinga (the fish chowder noodle soup that is Burma's national dish) on my first visit to the truck, I returned today to vet the kyat tha khauk swe' thouk.

Kyat tha khauk swe' thouk, to use Lil Burma's choice of romanization, is literally chicken (kyat tha) noodle (khauk swe) salad (thouk). This is not your ginned up Chinese chicken salad created for Western tastes, but a hard-core Burmese staple, from a cuisine that celebrates cold salads as fervently as any in the world.  The salad features shredded chicken on wheat noodles anointed with 14 ingredients (according to the posted menu)  These included, as near as I could determine, crushed dried shrimp, shredded cabbage, cilantro, fish sauce, lime and peanut oil.

Tofu salad from Lil Burma
While there, I also got to sample a new menu item, Tofu Salad (Tofu Thouk). Though noodle-less, it's a close cousin to the chicken noodle salad, also containing (the same?) 14 ingredients.  Although dried shrimps and fish sauce are included in accordance to the Burmese canon, it can be made vegetarian on request. Noodle guy and carnivore though I am, I enjoyed the tofu salad almost as much as the chicken salad. Both are marvelous mixtures of flavors (sour, sweet, salty) and textures, and hearty enough for a satisfying lunch.

Where slurped: Lil Burma food truck, SoMa StrEat Food Park, 428-11th St., San Francisco

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