Restaurant: Burma Superstar
Cuisine: Burmese/Asian/Laos/South East Asian/Fusion
Last visited: November 5, 2010
Location: San Francisco/Bay Area, California (Richmond)
Address: 309 Clement Street
Price Range: $10-20USD
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
Food: 5 (based on what I tried)
Ambiance: 2 (hole in the wall)
- Since 1992
- Family owned
- Few locations in SF
- Sister to B Star Bar
- Specializes in traditional Burmese food
- South East Asian cuisine(s)
- Hole in the wall
- Featured on Food Network
- Local favourite
- Line ups at peak hours
- Vegetarian friendly
- M-F: 11:30am-3:30pm lunch specials
- No reservations
- Mon-Sun 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
- Mon-Thu, Sun 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.
- Fri-Sat 5 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.
**Recommendations: Tea Leaf Salad, Samusa, and Nan Pai Dok. The Garlic Lamb/Chili Lamb is supposed to be great as well, but I didn’t try it.
I was in San Francisco for the Foodbuzz Food Blogger Festival (yes, they do exist) and I was equally as excited for my own dining adventures outside of the festival. My friend living in San Francisco brought me to Burma Superstar, and seriously it was one of the foodie highlights of my trip.
So what is Burmese food? Burmese food is pretty much a combination of flavours from South East Asian cuisine such as Laos, Vietnamese, Thai, Malaysian and parts of China. It actually reminded me of Indian-Malay/Thai-Chinese food, and it’s all very aromatic, nutty and at times spicy. The dishes are also more curry based than they are soy sauce based. The menu online is a bit different than the actual menu from the restaurant and the stared (*) items are the authentic Burmese dishes.
Burma Superstar is a hole in the wall with a few locations in San Francisco. It is family owned and it’s a very popular local favourite with line-ups throughout the day. It was pretty much the Phnom Penh (Vancouver, BC) of San Francisco except they serve Burmese food instead of Cambodian/Vietnamese food. It was definitely just as popular and generated the same “love it” reactions from locals. The portions are a bit smaller compared to most Asian places, but the food is fresh and homemade and the prices are not cheap, but not expensive either. I would highly recommend it to any local or tourists.
It was my first time dining at Burma Superstar and the closest thing I’ve had to authentic Burmese food is at Bo Laksa King in Vancouver, BC. It doesn’t really count either because that’s a little more on the Burmese-Singaporean/Malaysian side of things. I don’t really have anything to compare to in terms of authentic Burmese food, since I’ve never been to Burma; but all I know is that I would 110% come back to Burma Superstar the next time I’m visiting San Francisco. It could be “the best” based on lack of competition, but then again I’m basing everything on the few dishes I tried. Nonetheless the menu seems promising and I can’t wait to make a bigger dent in it.
- Burmese raviolis hand wrapped and filled with chicken, potatoes, Burmese spices, deep fried, and served with our house special sauce. Available chicken or vegetarian. 3 or 5 pieces $5.50/$9.25USD
- The samusas are a popular item here. They’re like the Burmese version of the Indian samosas so it was very interesting to try. We ordered them with chicken.
- They’re relatively small samosas and they’re a bit greasy, but they have a thin and crispy spring roll wrapping and the inside is nicely stuffed with a creamy curry potato and shredded chicken. It’s very flavourful and smoky with lots of cumin seeds followed by a bit a of heat.
- I loved that they used Red Potatoes because it gave it a creamy texture especially since it was almost mashed. They mash the shredded chicken right into the potatoes as well and I think they use dark meat so it’s all very tasty.
- The samusa is served with a sweet and sour spicy sauce that tastes like Sweet Chili sauce, but the texture is thinner and the kick tastes like Sriracha sauce. It’s the perfect accompaniment to the savoury and smoky samusa.
- Tea leaf salad with sunflower seeds, lentils, romaine, sesame seeds, dried shrimp, and tomatoes $9USD
- There’s also fried garlic chips, peanuts, and fried yellow split peas (lentils). Their online menu says they actually go to Burma to get these tea leaves too.
- This is the most famous and popular item and was featured by Rachel Ray on the Food Network. It’s definitely the must try here!
- It’s very fresh and they toss it for you at your table while explaining all the ingredients.
- It’s a very nutty salad with 5 levels of nutty flavours and lots of different crunchy textures. It’s savoury with pickled and earthy notes from the green tea leaves matched with a tang from freshly squeezed lime to brighten up all the flavours.
- The homemade fermented green tea leaves taste almost like a wet salty seaweed with a slight seafood taste and I think they pickle it with a little fish sauce.
- It’s so unique and there’s not much sauce, but all the flavours come from the leaves and toasted and fried ingredients.
- The deep fried yellow split peas, or lentils, are crunchy and I’ve never had them before but it reminded me of soy nuts.
- Bo Laksa King also offers this Pickled Tea Leaf Salad, but I haven’t tried it yet. I can’t wait to now though!
- Wok tossed chicken with snow peas, fresh basil, and a garlicky chili sauce. Includes fried rice. $9.95USD
- This was one of their non-traditional Burmese dishes.
- It’s a savoury, sweet and spicy chicken and rice dish and it reminded me of Thai food, or a Westernized healthy version of chili chicken on rice.
- It wasn’t greasy, and the amount of sauce is perfect with a tender and well flavoured chicken served over curried brown rice.
- It’s very fresh and well prepared with a Thai basil and lemon grass aromatics, it had a wonderfully peppery kick from the deep fried Thai chili peppers.
- Flat flour noodles with a chicken coconut curry sauce, string beans, split yellow pea, cabbage, and chilis $9.95USD
- Another hot item that is very popular to locals and it’s a house favourite.
- This was like the Burmese version of Pappardelle. It was almost like Thai curry fettucini meets an Asian salad and it was so different and delicious!
- The noodles are flat rice noodles and I think they’re homemade. They’re a bit thicker like Pappardelle and they were a bit too soft for me and taste like dumpling skins rather than noodles, but they were still good.
- The portion is decent and they toss it for you at the table before serving just as they did for the Tea Leaf Salad.
- It was a creamy saucy pasta slightly on the sweeter side with incredibly tender pieces of chicken.
- I loved the balance of crunchy ingredients with a creamy sauce.
- It was sweet from coconut milk, with salty bites of dried shrimp, a nutty crunch of fried garlic chips and fried onions, and then fresh crunchy veggies to break it all up. There was also a nuttiness from split yellow peas (lentils) which were ground up into a powder and mixed in.
- It was very aromatic and dynamic in taste with a slight spice from the roasted chilies too. Great flavours!