I love the opportunity to explore new flavors, especially when it's right here in Albany. Not too long ago we joined Albany Jane for a Burmese feast at Shwe Mandalay. What exactly is Burmese food? It's a unique blend of flavors with Indian and Chinese influence with its own distinct flavors. I've never encountered such unfamiliar but delicious tastes. It's definitely a new cuisine that I wanted to introduce my parents to on a return visit.
Bu Tee Kyaw: This Burmese squash dish is fried in a light and crispy batter and served with a tangy tamarind dipping sauce. It's a great contrast of textures reminiscent of zucchini fries and one of my favorites dishes.
Southern Shan Sausage: A beef and pork sausage stuffed with sticky rice and vermicelli. Another return favorite, these were fun bites to share. The chewy, soft texture caught me off guard at first but the more I ate, the more I liked it.
Moh Hinn Khar: Simply described as Burmese Favorite soup, it was enough to pique our interest. It's a savory and pungent (in a good way!) rice noodle fish soup with a mix of aromatic herbs, lemongrass, garlic, ginger and additions of hard boiled eggs and most uniquely fried chickpea fritters. Like most other dishes, the textural contrasts between the crispy fried bits with the rich broth was a delicious combo. Sadly this soup is only available Monday thru Wednesday only.
Monday, August 25, 2014
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Between all the buzz around Lettucegate and the Times Union review, how could we not check out La Mexicana Grocery & Restaurant. Lettuce aside, what was really on our radar were the beef tongue tacos. J has become a pretty adventurous eater with recent introductions to chicken livers, pigs feet, and balut. I on the other hand am no stranger to offals; it's always been part of my culture growing up and it's fun sharing these experiences with J now.
For the most part, a lot of our Mexican dining experiences take place at the family restaurant at Leon's up in Saratoga Springs. But not all Mexican dishes are made the same so our lunch trip didn't quite seem like we were cheating on Leon's. Don't expect a fine dining experience at La Mexicana; it's a run-of-the-mill joint in appearance but with down-home authentic Mexican flavors. The menu is small and simple and remarkably affordable. How can you pass up on $2 tacos?! At such a steal, J and I decided to go for a flight of six tacos--one of each kind--with a pork tamale for good measure (another steal at $2.50) accompanied by a glass each of horchata and tamarindo agua fresca (also $2 each!). Horchata is a specialty drink made with rice, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla; think iced chai latte. Tamarindo is made with tamarind (a pod-like fruit also used in Asian cuisine and a very familiar flavor to me). This light, refreshing sweet and sour drink was the perfect accompaniment to our tacos. I'd come back just to have a gallon of this stuff.
Labels: agua fresca, al pastor, beef, carne, drinks, horchata, La Mexicana Grocery & Restaurant, lengua, lettucegate, Mexican, pork, rice, schenectady, tacos, tamale, tamarind, tamarindo, Times Union, tomatillo, tongue