photo credit: Kerry McIntyre
Rangoon Burmese Restaurant
We’ve all been to our fair share of Places With Really Long Menus. They’re spots where the menu is almost the length of a teen lit novel, and they make you want to start taking notes in the margins like it’s a homework assignment. Rangoon is one of these places, but you don’t need to bring a highlighter when you eat here, because pretty much every single one of the more than 100 dishes on the menu is excellent.
Rangoon is a casual Burmese restaurant in Chinatown and it’s a great place to sit around one of their long tables with a big group and order entirely too much food. Everything is served family-style, which makes it easy to share a bunch of dishes in a Thanksgiving-esque coordinated plate pass around the table. And while you could have a perfectly good meal here by simply closing your eyes and pointing to a bunch of random dishes on the seemingly endless menu, the thousand layer bread is the one thing above all else that you need to get.
photo credit: Kerry McIntyre
The first thing you should know about the thousand layer bread is that it’s not, in fact, a thousand layers. So if you’re currently picturing a cake-like structure that stands a couple of feet high with 1,000 paper-thin sheets, you can go ahead and pop that dream bubble now. It’s actually somewhat of a cross between a croissant, roti bread, and the outside of a particularly good grilled cheese sandwich. It’s rip-able, shareable, and comes with your choice of a hearty, soup-like sauce mixed with either curry chicken, vatana bean, or potato for dipping. Any dinner here should start with at least two orders of this, or way more if you’re with a big group.
Other than the thousand layer bread, there are a couple other things you should prioritize, like the jungle chicken, which is mixed with bell peppers, mushrooms, snow peas, and onions, and is covered in a coconut green curry sauce. It’s both savory and citrusy, and if you don’t order this, you’re doing yourself (and everyone at your table) a huge disservice. The tea leaf salad is also a must-order and one of the most interesting things you can eat here. It’s a pile of tea leaves and cabbage, mixed with tomatoes, sesame, peanuts, fried onions, and dried shrimp, and it's light and fresh but at the same time super flavorful. Other than these, you can go back to that whole closing-your-eyes-and-pointing technique for the rest of your meal.
No matter which plates wind up in front of you here, we can almost guarantee that you’ll leave impressed and very full. And that’s exactly what you want from a place like Rangoon, where you can show up unannounced with a big group, share a bunch of food, and spend less than you do per day on the Amazon Deep Web. Unless, of course, you plan on ordering the entire menu. In which case, please document it to show future generations what a true hero looks like.
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Thousand Layer Bread
Crispy flatbread that tastes like the outside of a grilled cheese and, if you’re not careful, will fill you up before you try anything else. You can get it with either chicken curry, potato, or bean sauce, or topped with beef skewers, and they’re all good choices.
Tea Leaf Salad
You won’t find this anywhere else in town, and you should definitely order it. It tastes a bit like pesto, if pesto was expanded into salad-form, and we like it very much.
It looks like your average chicken and vegetable dish, but this might be our main on the whole menu. It’s sweet and citrusy, and we want to bottle the coconut curry sauce it comes in and sell it on the sauce blackmarket that doesn’t exist... yet.
The combination of the hot calamari doused in lime juice over the cold cabbage mix is the kind of thing you come here for. It’s the perfect way to start your meal - after devouring some thousand layer bread, of course.
Keep some of your TLB (thousand layer bread) on the table for this almost sauce-like eggplant dish. It’s not super spicy, and it’s best when you eat it like a soft-shell taco with the TLB.
Rangoon Crabmeat Dumplings
These are filled with crab, cream cheese, and coriander, and then deep fried, which makes them super rich, but worth every bite.
Spicy String Beans
Super flavorful, shareable, and a little on the spicy side. You don’t need these, but they make a good side for the table.
Pork In Mango Pickled Curry
This is another dish that’s super unique to Rangoon, and the mango pickled curry sauce is just incredible. If you’ve been here a few times and are looking to branch out from the jungle chicken, get this instead.
Northern Burmese Noodles
Thick noodles stir fried with shrimp, chicken, scallions, and bean sprouts. It’s definitely on the spicy side, but it’s our favorite noodle dish on the menu.