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Best Burmese Food in San Francisco

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It’s been a while since we left San Francisco and began our year-long road trip. But I think about all the wonderful cuisines that the city by the bay has to offer each and every day!

That’s why I am thrilled to bring you a guest post from Julia of Small World This Is about her favorite San Francisco cuisine, Burmese. She’s sharing her picks for the best Burmese food in San Francisco and I have to say I completely agree!

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For me, Burmese food is the ideal cuisine for San Francisco. A warm bowl of pumpkin curry to ward off those chilly nights or a refreshing tea leaf salad for when the fog finally lifts. Here in San Francisco, we are spoiled with a wide variety of delicious Burmese food, thanks to Burma Superstar putting this cuisine on the city’s culinary map, and the Bay Area has the nation’s largest Burmese population.

Here are my favorite places to satisfy my embarrassingly frequent Burmese food cravings.

Burma Superstar

Best Burmese Food in San Francisco samusa-soup-burma-super-star

Photo credit: Oh Me Oh Mai

You know you’ve arrived when you smell the delicious aromas wafting out of the open door and see a huge crowd of hungry customers outside. The wait can seem eternal, but if you bring a down jacket it’s borderline bearable. Everything is delicious, but some standout dishes are the tea leaf salad, the samusa soup and the nan gyi dok (mild coconut chicken and rice noodles with curry). Make sure to order family-style so that you have an excuse to get more dishes than you should.

B Star

Best Burmese Food in San Francisco b star pumpkin-pork-stew

Photo credit: The Lu Life

B Star, the sister restaurant to Burma Superstar is the place to go for a more casual dining experience, and if you’re lucky less of a wait. The dinner menu doesn’t disappoint with personal favorites like the miso cod or the pumpkin pork stew. This restaurant is also open for brunch as well, where you have the option of getting traditional dishes like rainbow salad, alongside your order of huevos rancheros.

Pagan Restaurant

Best Burmese Food in San Francisco pagan-roti-palata

Photo credit: Adam B.

Not a fan of waiting an hour for food? Pagan is the solution to those adverse to long lines. Dishes like the Burmese roti palata with potato chicken curry and the coconut chicken curry noodle are highly recommended. The best surprise comes at the end of the meal when your bill doesn’t give you sticker shock like some of the other Burmese restaurants around town.

Mandalay

Best Burmese Food in San Francisco mandalay-tea-leaf-salad

Photo credit: SF Chronicle

This Burmese restaurant is the OG in the city and the only one that gives serious competition to Burma Superstar (dare I say it’s even better). With a spacious interior, there is hardly ever a long wait, and I always feel like I’m a guest at someone’s home as the service has always been consistently warm and attentive. The tea leaf is a must-order, as well as the Mandalay special noodles and the balata (Burmese savory pancake with a curry dipping sauce).

Burmese Kitchen

Best Burmese Food in San Francisco burmese kitchen fish stew

Photo credit: Burmese Kitchen

This is another excellent alternative to avoiding the long lines of Burma Superstar, but not having to sacrifice for flavor. The go-to dishes here are the tamarind fish with coconut rice, the garlic chicken and the spicy fish. This restaurant doesn’t have as much hype as other Burmese restaurants in the city, but this is a definite blessing in disguise, as you can have a solid meal in a more personalized setting and not worry about having to rush through your meal.

Thanks Julia!

Julia is a freelance writer, and native San Franciscan, born and raised. She is the founder of the culinary travel blog Small World This Is, and has a soft spot for Turkish breakfasts and Polish milk bars.

What is your favorite Burmese restaurant in San Francisco? Have any additions to this list?

See my entire collection of San Francisco posts in my San Francisco Guide. Also, you can save 42% off admission to the best San Francisco attractions with a San Francisco CityPASS. PLUS, skip most ticket lines!

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Jenn

Monday 25th of May 2020

Burma Superstar is amazing. I seriously flew up to SF from LA on my birthday just to get dinner at Burma Superstar. I have their cookbook as well, but nothing beats the real thing.

Rosie

Saturday 6th of January 2018

I didn't even know Burmese food existed. It all sounds so good, you are lucky to be able to sample so many different dishes!

Judy Thomas

Wednesday 8th of November 2017

I have never tried Burmese food, it looks delicious!

Kimberly Flickinger

Saturday 15th of April 2017

If I ever make it to San Francisco, I will be sure to keep this in mind although I have never tried Burmese food.

Adriane

Sunday 9th of April 2017

I've never tried Burmese food - looks good!