DAW YEE MYANMAR CAFÉ
MONTEREY PARK’S GO-TO FOR BURMESE CUISINE
Foodies in the know or people who like to think they’re a foodie in the know knew years ago that Monterey Park was the new Chinatown for dim sum and then some. The San Gabriel Valley is a hotspot for hot and spicy off the grid cuisine. And whether or not Burmese fare is the new black, since Daw Yee Myanmar Café opened a year ago, foodies have been in love with this little out of the way place.
Because Myanmar borders Bangladesh, India, China, Laos and Thailand, Burmese cuisine has been influenced by Chinese, Indian and Thai cuisines and is characterized by extensive use of fish products like fish sauce and ngapi (fermented seafood).
Mohinga, a splendid mix of rice noodles in catfish chowder, is the traditional breakfast dish and is considered by many to be Burma's national dish. It’s really quite tasty.
During our recent visit for a lazy Sunday afternoon lunch, we put ourselves in the hands of owner Delyn Chow and relished a bevy of delicious dishes. A great thing about Daw Yee Myanmar Café is that is very affordable, comfy and perfect for the guest with a middle of the road to somewhat adventurous palette, to the foodie who knows no bounds. There really is something for everyone.
Burmese cuisine also includes a variety of salads (know as a thoke), centering on ingredients such as rice, wheat and rice noodles, glass noodles and vermicelli, to potato, ginger, tomato, kaffir lime, long bean, lahpet (pickled tea leaves), and ngapi (fish paste). My favorite dish was the Tea Leaf Salad, prepared with fermented tea leaves and jasmine rice in tamarind sauce mixed with yellow lentils and fried garlic. The flavor was off the chart!
Likewise the Platha, Daw Yee’s special handmade platha (roti) was served with mashed garbanzo beans or coconut chicken dip. The Kima Platha is platha stuffed with masala seasoned chicken or beef. The latter is heartier and more filling but the other is a little more adventurous.
The Ohnoh Noodles are round noodles in coconut chicken soup—think of this dish as Burmese comfort food. The Egg Curry, deep fried hardboiled eggs in a tomato and onion curry, is also a nice dish. It’s best to dine with a group so you can share several plates. FYI, if you’re really feeling adventurous, you can add pig brain to your rice vermicelli soup noodle. Go for it!
Dessert wise, you have your choice of several options, the Shwe Kyi Cake is Semolina wheat cake with poppy seeds; the Tapioca Cake is made with tapioca, coconut milk, and white rice flour; while the Faluda is Pandan jelly, red jelly, tapioca, pudding, and a scoop of ice cream in whole milk. It’s delish! And do make sure to finish your meal with Myanmar Milk Tea (served hot or cold).
It really is all about the bold and savory flavors here. While Daw Yee Myanmar Café is not on par with the famed Burma Superstar in San Francisco (a must visit any time you’re in the Bay Area), it’s a favorite for its intimacy, casualness, and comforting cuisine.
Daw Yee Myanmar Café is located at 111 N Rural Drive in Monterey Park.
Hours: Daily 11am to 9pm. Closed Tuesday. Call 626-573-8080
By: Jose Martinez.
Some photography courtesy of: Daw Yee Myanmar Café