Thursday, May 20, 2010

Yoma Myanmar - the last man standing

The primary requisite for this post is partially for my love of Southeast Asian cuisine and in response to the backlash I received from fellow blogger Sinosoul and my Burmese friend after my recent write-up on Burma SuperStar.

It went something like this:

 "Comparing Burma SuperStar to a rock star is akin to saying P.F. Chang's is the ultimate chinese food."

and this...

"Please, for the love of God, hit up Yoma for Burmese instead. It will put every bite you've taken at Burmese Supernothing to shame."

Go figure.

and then I did this..

Accept the offer of a friend who so kindly insisted that he would introduce me to true Burmese fare. I obliged without hesitation, immensely curious as to the whereabouts of this obscure mom and pop store that has suddenly reached my homing device. Yoma Myanmar, one of a kind and I mean this literally. There's only a couple Burmese restaurants sprinkled around LA giving Yoma an effortless win in its category.
Yoma is actually operated and owned by a husband and wife team and claims to use age-old recipes handed down between generations. Maybe even the shop was Grandma's because it sure looked that way. It's more of a shack than a restaurant; with flickering fluorescent lights and walls scattered with photos of ... Grandma?
Our zealous host fervently ordered a spread fit for a king. The table was so laden with food that another one had to be borrowed to accommodate our entrees.

The oh-so-familiar tea leaf salad. Just as good as Burma SuperStar's if not better, but more potent in flavor probably due to the copious amount of tea leaves and nuts.

Hmm..I'm struggling to recall the names of the dishes from this meal. Keep in mind that our zealous host did all the ordering and in his native tongue, for that matter. So bear with me as I attempt to mutilate  recount each course. Chilled mung bean tofu with chili sauce and cilantro seasonings; a must for hot summer days. Imagine sitting under a mangrove on a hot, humid day in Burma with the torrid sun baking overhead. And as the sweat trickles down your forehead and drips into the eyes your appetite cooks away with the intense heat. The solution to this? A refreshing chilled tofu salad with piquant spice to water the mouth and wake up the senses.

Nan Gyi Dok, a common noodle salad dish I also remember trying at Burma Superstar. Belonging to the same species, but tasting very different. As of yet, I haven't quite figured out which I'm partial to.

And this, my friend, is what Burmese food is all about. Not Indian. Not Chinese. Not Thai. Never before seen eaten. Moringa fish noodle soup. When our zealous host first mentioned, "moringa fish..", I by default thought moringa was a type of fish. Sounds like a fish. In reality, moringa is a flowering plant which is indigenous to India and the Himalayas. This seemingly insignificant plant is actually being promoted to combat poverty and malnutrition with leaves containing ALL essential amino acids.

Moringa: The Solution to Eradicate World Poverty

The taste? A blend of India, Cambodia, Thai, Chinese. A whirlwind of spices; an unquiet mouthful, which sends your tastebuds in many directions. Yet subtle enough for you to finish the soup without your tongue feeling raped. Imagine that.

The "special" lamb curry was moderately special. After my tastebuds were violated (in a good) and pounded by the moringa fish soup, the rest were just..dull.

I have a penchant for curries and robust flavors, therefore my judgment might be slightly angled. But the fact is that there aren't other Burmese restaurants around to rival it. So naturally Yoma would the champion of its kind. Wouldn't it? After the last "incident" with Burma SuperStar I've recoiled from making quick rulings. So I leave it for you to decide. Just remember to order the Lassi. This tangy yogurt drink will be a temperate reprise from the heat.

The zealous host, after reading this post, was quick to notify me of a major error. To my dismay, my lover-ly moringa noodle soup was a fluke. Well, sorta. It's mont hinn ga fish noodle soup. Not moringa. I guess I was correct initially; that it was a fish! But that's not to say moringa won't eradicate world poverty. I stand corrected

Yoma Myanmar
713 E Garvey Ave
Monterey Park, CA 91755
(626) 280-8655

Yoma Myanmar in Los Angeles on Fooddigger


  1. Thanks for visiting my blog! For the record, I went in November. ;)

  2. Nice, a Burmese dude took you to Yoma. I live only 5 minutes away. It's amazing they (the Burmese) eat monthinga for brekkie. Yow-f'ing-za~!

    Despite a dozen visits, I've never had that chilled tofu dish, but I find the lamb curry sublime (if not a bit salty) and would highly recommend the pong yi gi pork. That stuff will violate you in all sorts of tasty ways.

  3. Monthinga for breakfast is a bit intimidating. My bowels wouldn't be able to handle it. I agree on the lamb curry, less salt would have done it wonders. Will definitely try the pong yi pork, since of its ferociousness.