Travel Betty

Encouraging Fearless Independent Travel For Women

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Since You Can’t Go To Burma, Go To Burma Superstar In San Francisco

May 31st, 2007 · No Comments

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I’m waiting for Travel Boyfriend’s Burmese coworker to tell us that it’s finally okay to go to visit the country of her birth. Once she does I’m immediately booking a ticket and fasting for a week so that I can consume as much of the country’s delicious food as possible. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like this will be happening anytime soon and I refuse to support their oppressive government with my hard-earned dollars. So, in the meantime, I am happy to get my fix here in San Francisco at Burma Superstar.

Now, talking to a few people in the know, it seems that Burma Superstar isn’t all technically authentic Burmese food, but I’m too busy shoveling chopsticks full of their 22-ingredient(!) Rainbow Salad into my mouth to hear the news. Twenty-two ingredients! That’s more than you’ll find in my entire kitchen. But at BS, that’s just the tip of the iceberg (and no, iceberg lettuce is NOT one of the ingredients).

Travel Boyfriend and I also usually get two orders of the Salt & Pepper Chicken (last time we only got one and had a full-on chopstick war over those delectable morsels). The S&P Chicken comes with this amazing dippy sauce that’s a little spicy and tart and perfect, so ask for extra to pour over the coconut rice that you will also inevitably be ordering. Your mouth with be utterly confounded by the juxtaposition. In a good way.

The Samusa soup is another smorgasbord of perfectly spiced mouth flavors. There’s cabbage, lentils, onions, and jalapeños, as well as bits of falafel and samusas! What the hell? All of these ingredients make a soup?! Yes. And it’s vegetarian, so everyone can feel good digging in.

Now the main dishes are all usually pretty good, but I’m always more focused on the previously mentioned starters to get all fidgety about what I’m ordering for the actual meal. It’s best to go with a big group so that you can all order a different main dish to share. Beef kabat has never treated me wrong. And the other night Travel Boyfriend really enjoyed the SuperStar Shrimp. But why stress over decisions? Go ahead, get one of everything on the menu. The prices aren’t bad.

Of course every silver lining has a cloud. The downside to all of this goodness is that BS is located in the Richmond District, worlds away from Union Square if you’re visiting from out of town. Parking is difficult and they don’t take reservations. Please note, this place is ALWAYS full! Get there early and prepare to wait. Put your name on the list and leave your cell phone number so you don’t have to cram yourself right inside the door or wait out in the inevitable fog.

On our last trip, we discovered that Burma Superstar has opened a sister restaurant right down the street called B Star Bar. Since we had time to kill, Travel Boyfriend and I walked down there to check out the menu. I figured if they had enough overlap we’d just eat there (it wasn’t crowded at all). But the menu was almost completely different. Only the Tea Salad and Samusa Appetizer (not the Samusa Soup) made the cut. The food was mostly Asian, but with more of a Fushion/California bent. Eh. With the original right down the street, I can’t imagine coming out all this way to settle for second best. And until I start seeing more stellar reviews on Yelp, you shouldn’t either.

So, if you’re visiting our fair city and looking for something other than Bubba Gump’s Hard Rock Craptacular, Burma Superstar is it. When you get home, tell your friends you went out for Burmese food and see how many of them ask, “You mean Myanmar?” If it’s more than zero, give them the address and tell them to hop a plane and stop by. Nobody goes home disappointed (except those who don’t get in).

Travel Betty Basics

Burma Superstar
309 Clement Street (between 4th & 5th Ave)
(415)387-2147
No Reservations Accepted

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Tags: California · Food and Drink · Northern California · USA

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