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The Shan State


100-102 Shaftesbury Ave, London
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I grew up in a food-obsessed Burmese household, and the question I get asked all the time is “where can I eat Burmese food in London?”. I’m not sure my cousin Moe would be happy with strangers turning up at her front door for coconut noodle soup and Burmese pork curry, so I’m going to go ahead and say you should head down to The Shan State in Chinatown for food that even our notoriously picky parents would be happy to eat.

The menu at Shan State is based around salads and light noodle dishes from the north of the country - imagine a cross between Indian and Chinese cuisine and you won’t be far off. The stuff you want is on the menu under ‘street foods’ and you’ll definitely want to order the Shan noodles (listed as ‘state noodles’) and tea leaf salad, which is crunchy and salty and sour, and kind of like Glastonbury in your mouth. There’s also the national dish, mohinga (‘monk noodles’) which you should definitely order, as well as coconut noodle soup if you’re looking for that too.

Everything’s here is on a par with the kind of thing you’d eat in a Burmese family home, and like any self-respecting family home, the service can be a bit slow. Don’t complain. It’s either this or Cousin Moe’s.

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Food Rundown


This is the Burmese national dish, and if you like noodles with a curry broth, you’ll like this. It’s served with crunchy shallots, corianders and chilli, which you mix in to your liking.

Shan Noodles

The restaurant’s signature dish. Thin rice noodles in a light broth, with a choice of pork or chicken. Order it.

Tea Leaf Salad

Essentially, a salad of crunchy deep fried things (garlic, shallots, tiny dried shrimp) with herbs, fresh chiles, and fermented tea leaves. It probably won’t remind you of anything, but it’ll be the dish you tell all your mates about. It’s worth dropping in just for this and some tea, Burmese aunty-style.

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