“This place checks a lot of boxes for me. The taste of the food, check. The service, check. Is it easy to get to with convenient parking? Check. Is it different? Check.” This is how I summed up our lunch today at the newly opened Rangoon Burmese Kitchen. The restaurant is barely a week old, but after just a short lunch and a few dishes, I found myself anticipating my return to continue trying more of the menu.
Rangoon Burmese Kitchen is located near several convenient parking garages, in the space formerly occupied by Restaurant Epic. The interior is clean and sleek, with a lot cooler tones on the walls versus the old aesthetic. Our server, Sai, was attentive and friendly. It was apparent that he genuinely cared if we were having a good experience. The restaurant is BYOB for the time being.
Unlike Epic, who’s food I was not thrilled by (the very first review I ever did that caused a bit of controversy in the comment section of my first blog), I was sold from the very first bite at Rangoon Burmese Kitchen.
Yes, my first bite – the one that “sold” me on this place – was a potato salad. Clearly not your typical potato salad, Rangoon’s version is chock full of vegetables and spices. All of those flavor notes, from umami to spicy, blend together for a tasty yet somehow light dish. Are awesome potato salads, like Rangoon’s and ZIGU’s, becoming a thing?
Another deceptively light yet flavor-heavy dish. The myriad of spice and vegetable flavors were enhanced by the savory punch of the dried shrimp and fish sauce. The fried tofu provided not only a convenient vessel, but also an airy crunch of texture.
For one of our main entrees we opted for the moh hin ga (pictured at the top), which is apparently the national dish of Burma. This hearty noodle soup is made with an herbal fish broth. The herbs and spices are bold in this dish, with lemongrass and coriander really shining through. As much as I enjoyed slurping up the noodles, my taste buds were most delighted for the spoonfuls of broth.
Our other main entree, and my personal favorite dish of our visit, was this big bowl of stew. Similar to the other dishes we tried, this one struck a great balance between spiced, herbaceous, and savory (fish sauce has got to be a big part of the secret flavor mix here). The stew takes it a step further with the noticeable, yet subtle, sweet flavor of pumpkin. The pork and pumpkin were both very tender. I spooned the stew over some Burmese Indian rice and thoroughly enjoyed it.
It’s rare that I try a new restaurant and like almost every single dish I order. The flavors at Rangoon Burmese Kitchen are exciting and new, yet somehow familiar. There is definitely a great amount of southeast Asian influence, with a fusion of Indian herbs and spices. I’ll have to recruit more people to join in our next visit, so we can taste even more of the extensive menu.
Rangoon Burmese Kitchen
1131 Nuuanu Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96817