I love experimenting with food and so when a friend pinged me asking if I would like to join her for the Burmese Food festival at Soy Soi, I said yes instantly. Chennai is quite familiar with this cuisine, google “burmese food” or “atho” and you will see a whole list pop up, but I was sure there was more to it than the few I have had in our city..
The man of the hour Nay Myo Htet is the most humble chefs I have met. He is not a Chef who has worked in luxury hotels or travelled the world, he is a home chef, his family runs an eatery in Yangon. Nay Myo Htet’s simple no frills approach was quite refreshing. When we enquired about Burmese food, he said it was quite close to India.. They used plenty of coriander, chillies, tamarind in their dishes. Chef Peter of Soy Soi was there explaining the dishes and talking to us about how this festival came about. He also sheepishly admitted that he is yet to visit Burma but had heard of the food and so decided to try something new at the restaurant..
The meal began with the Htamin Lone Gyaw [crispy rice cakes served with spicy tamarind sauce] followed by three different hand tossed salads [Lethok]– one was Burmese raw mango, the other cucumber & greens [Penny wort], and finally Burmese tea leaf salad. My favourite was the PennyWort salad [with its mix of textures and flavours-crispy crunchy].
Oh I should mention the soup- Roselle soup [made with Ghongura greens] and was simply delicious… Infact, so much so that my non veg counterparts happily dug into this bowl [their soup had fish paste which many were unaccustomed to and so did not enjoy much]. A starter that stood out was Samusa Thoke – do not miss this dish [ it was Burmese samusa salad with lentil & saw tooth coriander sauce, almost like our samosa channa, I would have been happy with a bowl of this… ]
For the mains, we got yet another delightful dish- Khayanthi Hnat [ Burmese aubergene curry with coriander leaves, curry powder & red chilli powder] served with rice. I am not a fan of this veggie, but I loved this dish- it was tangy, spicy, charred and such a treat. I want to recreate this at home.. The menu did leave room for dessert, we got to try Sanwin Makin, moist semolina cake served with chocolate cream, caramelised oranges and Ginger- honey ice cream and Shwe Yin Aye– traditional dessert made with Sticky rice, shaved ice, sago, pandan noodles and sweet coconut milk. I loved the former dessert [we did suggest they reduce the size of the cake…]
The verdict- I loved the food we had…The flavour profile is quite similar to our food, tangy sour spicy and simple… This festival is on till the 2nd June at Soy Soi…. A meal for two would be around Rs1200-1500 [approx]
Call +91 78248 68314 for reservations..
2/10, Gandhi Mandapam Road, Kotturpuram, Chennai -600085
Disclaimer: The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember these were just my views!! Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit 🙂