Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Guest Post: Rangoon

112 North 9th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 829-8939

On a recent trip to Chinatown for lunch with friends, we decided to revisit one of our favorite authentic Burmese spots (or maybe the only one) for three reasons: speed, affordability and deliciousness.

It's fairly large with romantic lighting that will definitely set the mood. The menu adds to the fancy, with it's damask-esque print and its appendix to the edible offerings, where the last pages celebrate the Burmese culture.

The lunch specials are a steal, and ranging from $6.50 to a whopping $6.75 they provide a wide selection of mild & spicy, vegetarian and non. Each entree is served with choice of salad or soup and steamed rice or fried.

One of our diners was running late, so in that 15 minutes' time, we ordered and inhaled 2 of the appetizers from the standard dinner menu. Their most famous dish, and possibly one of the most delicious, is the Thousand Layer Bread. It's less of a bread and more of a flat, oily doughnut that you rip & dip into one of 3 available sauces. We chose the Curry Potato* option and with the dunk of each piece, the savory curry sauce coats the torn, flaky edges and soaks right in. Such a great dish to share with your friends, tear in and don't be afraid to make a mess.

The second appetizer was the Firecracker Lentil Fritter*, another deliciously fried starter. Basically a falafel ball with some kick and a lot of crunch. It's got a blend of chili spices, onion and mint in the mix and the dipping sauce is tangy with a low viscosity and runs into every nook & cranny. Another great dish for sharing, these crunchy bites with a hot and tender center come fresh out of hot oil.

And finally, to the main course - as though the apps weren't enough! Our friend arrived half way through the Firecrackers and it was time to order. I got the Basil Tofu* with steamed rice and the salad. The salad is your typical iceberg with shredded carrots, a relatively flavorless but crunchy vessel for the sesame dressing. Whole toasted seeds that are swimming in a slightly tangy vinaigrette coat the vegetation nicely, a fresh start (or segue, in my case) to a warm and filling meal.

The basil tofu was just all right - your typical stir-fry in a spicy brown sauce with generic Asian vegetables. It was a fairly light finish to a heavily oily beginning, but it wasn't anything too exotic that you probably haven't already had. But let me reiterate the fact that the price tag is a big seller and when you're talking "bang for your buck" this is it.


One last thing, as though the 2 appetizers and 3 full lunch specials wasn't enough for the 3 of us, dessert was in order. At least it was for one person, who apparently has a hollow leg. This is the Sweet Rice with Coconut Milk and it was "weird, like sweetened condensed milk with a drop of coconut and an abundance of floating tapioca balls." I'll pass.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

Rangoon is the BEST! You're right that many of the tofu dishes are nothing special. But you gotta try the house-made tofu, made from chickpeas instead of soy. It's pale yellow, nutty and amazing. Get it in the tofu salad and crispy fried tofu; two of my all-time favorite dishes in the city.