A Short Tour of Southeast Asia via the Tri-Valley

Photo courtesy Burma Unique.

Burmese restaurants, the cuisine of the country that is now Myanmar, are opening all over the 580 and 680 corridors. This month, we’re checking a couple of them out along with two of Myanmar’s neighbors, China and Thailand.

Burma Unique

WALNUT CREEK – The second wave of Burmese restaurant openings has hit the area with Walnut Creek’s Burma Unique leading the way. 

If you’re new to the cuisine, start with the tea leaf salad, consisting of fermented tea leaves, fried garlic, yellow split peas, peanuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and more. My table loved the different textures and flavors in this signature Burmese dish. 

Moving through the menu, for our main course we selected sesame chicken and country-style beef curry. The sesame chicken is similar to Chinese versions with thinly sliced chicken deep-fried and tossed in a tangy sauce. If you like pot roast, you’ll love the beef curry, my favorite of the evening. It features fork-tender cubes of beef slowly cooked with onions, garlic and red chili.

Dishes start at $11. Full bar. Open daily. Check website for hours. 1375 North Broadway, Walnut Creek. BurmaUnique.com

Honey Grilled Pork, served at Thai Taste in San Ramon. Photo: Janet Fazio.

Thai Taste

SAN RAMON – From Myanmar, we continued our culinary adventure through southeast Asian cuisine, heading to San Ramon’s Thai Taste, where the atmosphere is welcoming and relaxing. 

This time, my table started with an order of pot stickers with a savory chicken and veggie filling. These were fried so they were crispy all around, which I prefer.

With strips of bell peppers, onions and carrots along with the traditional minced chicken, the spicy basil chicken was good and medium spicy, which can be plenty for many.

My favorite of the evening, and a good choice if you prefer milder options, was the honey grilled pork. These skewers of thinly sliced pork are quite flavorful but not overly sweet. It’s served with sticky rice. 

Dishes start at $11.95. Beer and wine only. Open daily 11am-3pm & 5-9pm (11:30am Sat. and Sun.) 3151 Crow Canyon Place, Suite I, San Ramon. ThaiTasteSanRamon.com

Photo: Shwe Myanmar / Yelp.

Shwe Myanmar

LIVERMORE – Livermore residents can now get their own taste of Burmese cuisine without having to leave town. Shwe Myanmar’s menu offers a handful of classic recipes perfect to introduce you to the fare. 

If you prefer mild spices, the coconut chicken curry with potatoes is a good option. Slowly cooked, the chicken is tender and flavorful, paired with soft and comforting potatoes.

Imperial sesame cauliflower was our vegetable of choice. This was battered a little thicker than I expected, deep-fried and smothered in a spicy sauce. It’s good, but if you want something lighter, opt for the seasonal veggies. 

On a whim, we splurged and ordered the banana suji cake to finish our meal. Moist, dense and subtly sweet, check this one out if you’re craving dessert.

Dishes start at $9. Beer & wine only. Open daily. Check website for hours. 1106 E. Stanley Blvd., Livermore. ShweMyanmarCuisine.com

Photo courtesy Golden Dragon City.

Golden Dragon City

PLEASANTON – Heading northeast on our culinary map, we completed our short journey through Southeast Asia at Pleasanton’s Golden Dragon City for an evening of Chinese fusion. 

We started the meal with the appetizer combo platter which included egg rolls, pot stickers, drumsticks, fried prawns, beef satay and crab rangoons. I loved the drumsticks best. They were crispy, slightly spicy and not at all messy. 

Next up was Mongolian beef, which was exactly what you’d expect. If you want something a little different, order the mango chicken. Jalapeños, cilantro and red onions gave this dish a nice zing.

Dishes start at $9.95 Beer and wine only. Open Wednesday-Monday, 11am-9:30pm (9pm Sun.). 824 Main St., Pleasanton. GoldenDragonCity.net

Janet Fazio writes ‘Tastes of Your Town’, a monthly feature on East Bay dining in the print editions of Your Town Monthly. A version of this article was originally published in the July 2019 East Bay editions.

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