Best Burmese Food in San Francisco

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 lengthy 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 post 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 tickets lines!

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29 Comments

  1. Olivine Eyes
    September 29, 2016

    No additions to this list, but I want to try some Burmese food. I love coconuts and curry.

    Reply
  2. Clara
    September 29, 2016

    I’ve never eaten Burmese food, but this looks delicious. Thanks for sharing these amazing dishes.

    Reply
  3. chastity
    September 29, 2016

    Looks fantastic! I’m looking into doing a Cali road trip next summer and the 1st stop would be San Fran. Will have to check out your recommendations when we are in town.

    Reply
  4. Jan
    September 29, 2016

    Looks yummy

    Reply
  5. Christina Gould
    September 29, 2016

    I’ve never tried Burmese food, but I’m sure I’d love it. It looks a lot like Indonesian food. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  6. Jenna
    September 29, 2016

    The array of food choices in San Francisco never ceases to amaze me. I’ve never had Burmese food before, but I love to try new foods in the city!

    Reply
  7. Christina | Christina's Cucina
    September 29, 2016

    Happy to have seen this as I’ll have to check out Burmese food next trip to SF! I know I’d love it!

    Reply
  8. Nellwyn
    September 30, 2016

    This looks so yummy! I’ve never tried Burmese food before so now I’ll definitely have to find a place that serves it here in Toronto

    Reply
  9. Elizabeth O
    September 30, 2016

    Reading this post made me hunger for such delicious foods. I haven’t had Burmese food in ages and look forward to my next visit to enjoy the cuisine. Yum!

    Reply
  10. Colleen Boudreau
    September 30, 2016

    Yummy!

    Reply
  11. Ourfamilyworld
    September 30, 2016

    San Francisco is nice place. So many wonderful things around the busy streets and these foods are must-try!

    Reply
  12. Zim
    October 3, 2016

    The place seems to have a rich culture of food! Coincidentally, San Francisco is one of the places I want to see in the U.S.

    Reply
  13. Tara L
    October 10, 2016

    Never heardo f Burmese Food before but some selected items look really good and delicious!

    Reply
  14. Marjo
    October 23, 2016

    I wasn’t aware of Burmese food until recently when we traveled to NYC. There we stayed at an Airbnb of a couple where the wife was Burmese. She cooked us a traditional Burmese welcome dinner our first night there and the flavors were wonderful.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      November 3, 2016

      @Marjo, home made Burmese must have been awesome!

      Reply
  15. mary czerczyk
    October 30, 2016

    I have never had the opportunity to try Burmese food. It looks delicious.

    Reply
  16. Jerry Marquardt
    October 30, 2016

    The food looks wonderful and delicious. I would love to try this out, so as the recipes look intact. Thanks so much for sharing this post.

    Reply
  17. Jodi Hunter
    October 31, 2016

    This ALL looks amazing!

    Reply
  18. Kristin @ Camels & Chocolate
    November 18, 2016

    B Star is absolutely my favorite restaurant in SF. That tea leaf salad! *heart eyes emoji*

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      November 23, 2016

      @Kristin, it is amazeballs! There was a food truck with a former chef from B Star who did a tea leaf salad. He would show up downtown from time to time so would catch it for lunch so I didn’t have to go all the way out to B Star. Sadly, they closed-up shop (the truck). I’m going to have to find a new Burmese spot in Portland.

      Reply
  19. Adriane
    April 9, 2017

    I’ve never tried Burmese food – looks good!

    Reply
  20. Kimberly Flickinger
    April 15, 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.

    Reply
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  22. Judy Thomas
    November 8, 2017

    I have never tried Burmese food, it looks delicious!

    Reply
  23. Rosie
    January 6, 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!

    Reply
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