Burma SuperStar

San Francisco, California

Reviews

Image for Cass Danger

rating star

The food here is excellent! I'm really glad I went with a vegan friend that dines here regularly and could recommend her favorites.

We started with the tea leaf salad, which conde.kedar describes perfectly - expensive, but fantastic! It had a very good mix of textures and flavors and the fermented tea leaves gave it a unique taste. We had a double order, which still didn't seem like enough, but I couldn't justify spending $30 on salad! Unfortunately, they forgot to omit the shrimp on the first order (it's obvious if they do this because you see little orange bits), which was annoying but I liked that they specifically said "we'll get you a different order", versus "let me scrape that off for you" :)

We also went with the samosa soup, which is supposedly their most popular dish. It tastes just like it's called - samosas in soup! The broth is thick and rich and the samosas retain their texture in the soup. 'Twas fantastic! Next, we had the fried yellow bean tofu, which I was skeptical of because I hate soft tofu (which is how the dish was described). The housemade tofu is actually made of yellow beans, not soy beans, so it's not really tofu. It had a much thicker, bean-like texture than tofu, and it was very unique and yummy.

Finally, we ordered the Vegetartian Superstar Noodles, which the waitress recommended. It was a room-temperature dish, and despite my thinking I'd prefer it warm, it was very good. It had every-day ingredients like potatoes, cucumbers, and peanuts, but it somehow tasted like nothing I've ever had before.

Image for conde.kedar

rating star

Everyone raves about this restaurant, but I don't think it deserves all the praise it gets. I think it's become popular because: it fills an under-served ethnic niche (where else can you get Burmese food?); is sort of hole-in-the-wall but not entirely (so it feels authentic to foodies, but not so authentic as to scare off unadventurous suburbanites and people afraid of spicy food---you know the type); and it has at least one grand-slam dish in the Tea Leaf Salad.

We started off with a Tea Leaf Salad ($10). We made it vegan by omitting the shrimp. To be fair, this dish is excellent: it's a wonderful mix of crispy, soft, savory and subtle with a mixture of split peas, shallots, lettuce and the delicious, unusual nature of tea leaves. At $10 it's an expensive appetizer (but all the other appetizers are roughly the same price), but definitely worth getting.

We then had a "poodi" ($10) and a tofu vegetable kebat ($11) for our main dishes. Thankfully, Burma Superstar offers brown rice to go with the dishes (albeit at an extra cost).

The poodi is basically potatoes in an Indian-style garam masala/turmeric/onions/garlic/ginger sauce. It comes with four pieces of fried wheat bread (akin to Indian "puri"). This dish was eminently passable and bland. The bread was too hard and the curry itself lacked any depth; it felt watery, really. A coconut milk base might have given this dish more heft and interest.

The tofu kebat was also pretty bland. It was a simply curry/stew with tomatoes and soft tofu (not fried and only barely stir-fried) and some other vegetables. Easily forgettable.

This place is always packed, seemingly no matter the time of day; we came at nearly 3 p.m. on a Saturday and it was still bustling. Groups larger than two can expect long waits.

The service was friendly and prompt.

In the future I'll try B Star, the sister restaurant a block away, which seems to have some more unusual-sounding dishes. On a whole, Burma Superstar underwhelmed me, with the exception of the Tea Leaf Salad, which is legitimately awesome.

Image for Lola

rating star

Burma SuperStar is, hands down, the best Burmese restaurant that I've ever been to. There was a two-hour wait the first time that I tried to eat at Burma SuperStar. The waiting area is tiny, so most of those people were standing outside in the cold. I thought that those people were crazy, but after eating at Burma SuperStar I understood why it has such a following. (Note: If you're looking for less of a wait, try the Berkeley location - it doesn't seem to be nearly as crowded. Unfortunately, Burma SuperStar DOES NOT take reservations.)

The vegan options at Burma SuperStar are fantastic. My two favorite dishes are the Tea Leaf Salad and Coconut Rice. The Tea Leaf Salad is a strange combination of nuts, seeds, vegetables and pickled tea leaves. It might not sound all that appetizing, but it's one of the tastiest salads that I've ever had. The coconut rice is thick and creamy with a strong coconut milk flavor. Most people order it as a side dish to eat with one of the entrees, but it's so flavorful that it stands quite well on its own.

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