Start a conversation about Burmese food in SF and Burma Superstar is guaranteed to come up within seven seconds. This spot wasn’t the first Burmese restaurant in the city, but it did help push the cuisine mainstream when it opened in 1992—Burma Superstar is now a mini-empire with spinoffs throughout the Bay. Decades later, this simple space in the Richmond is still perpetually packed with diners, shuffling around plates of incredible homestyle food like it’s an Olympic sport. This Burmese institution never disappoints.
Come here once a week and you’ll rarely order the same thing twice. The menu covers over fifty items, including rich curries, seafood and meat entrées, and noodle dishes, but whatever you land on will be hearty and packed with flavors and textures. Sesame chicken is lightly battered and crispy. Pumpkin pork stew is loaded with creamy slices of kabocha squash. The flaky platha and dip is the foolproof way to start things off. And ordering the tea leaf salad is an unwritten rite of passage, whether it’s your first or twentieth time here. It’s mixed tableside, and the earthy fermented tea leaves and the nutty crunch will keep you reaching for second (and third) servings.
Burma Superstar is one of our go-to restaurants for lowkey date nights or cozy group dinners that call for a massive spread of dishes served family-style. The only real issue here is that most other people are on the same page, meaning the wait for a table can get long, and this spot doesn’t take reservations. If the line looks extra intimidating, know that there are nice alternatives within a few blocks, like Burmese Kitchen and Mandalay with its livelier space.
Sign up for our newsletter.
Be the first to get expert restaurant recommendations for every situation right in your inbox.
Tea Leaf Salad
We’re skeptical of any dish described on the menu as a “party in your mouth.” Lean into it here. The tea leaf salad is iconic, with fermented tea leaves, romaine lettuce, a squeeze of lemon, and other crunchy things like fried garlic and toasted peanuts.
Platha and Dip
The buttery layered flatbread and smooth, coconutty curry dip are phenomenal. Get this for the table and don’t look back.
Garlic and Chili Shrimp
The shrimp gets a crisp outer crust from the red chili pepper, garlic, and other spices. You need to eat this.
Burmese Chicken & Shrimp Casserole
We were scraping the pot of this dish. A must order.
This salad is a more refreshing option than the tea leaf salad. Go for it if you’ve had the latter before. Twenty-two ingredients come together and make it sing, including four kinds of noodles, tofu, fried onions, and tamarind vinaigrette dressing.