Soy Soi's new Burmese festival is so good, you might want to move to Myanmar!
Just because most of the team from Pricol Gourmet Private Limited is in Delhi launching another Soy Soi, doesn’t mean there is less action here in the Chennai outlet. The Asian restaurant is hosting an interesting Burmese food festival, Know Your Neighbour, that is on for another week. Interesting, because they didn’t include Khauk Swe and Atho in the menu of 32 dishes! Vikram Mohan, the culinary brains of the enterprise, discovered the 27-year-old chef Nay Myo from Yangon in Myanmar and brought him down to Chennai to give the city a taste of authentic and traditional Burmese flavours.
The visiting chef along with Soy Soi’s brand chef, Peter Tseng, served us a degustation menu that was resplendent with stories and uncommon flavours that our palate was experiencing for the first time even! We find that the local Burmese names of the dishes were difficult to pronounce (try balachang phat htokebaung for size — I am just going to call them chicken dumplings!) despite chef Myo’s help. Having said that, the Samusa Thoke was an easy one — an import from India during the British rule — this starter was the homely samosa drenched in lentil curry, akin to the samosa channa chaat. The fried fish cakes with the sweet tamarind sauce were surprisingly not fishy, while the vegetarian version with rice was equally delicious
Bachelor chicken curry?
From the salad platter, we cosy up to the raw mango salad, though our curiosity is piqued with the Tea Leaf Salad, which is definitely summer-worthy, as we thoughtfully crunch on the fried gram and cucumber. The Penny Wort salad has bits of the greens along with onions and cherry tomatoes. The Roselle soup tastes like a Gongura and lemongrass rasam, while the Mohinga tastes like nothing we have had before. The latter is the national soup of Burma and comes with a platter of garnishes that is deceptively like the one for Khauk Swe. Filled with noodles,this is heavy with vegetables — expect lentil gravy with shredded fish, banana stem, gourd and shallots. Chef Myo tells us that this nutritious rich broth is a staple in the humble homes of Burma.
The Bachelor Chicken Curry is our easy favourite. Accompanied with coconut rice, this dish has a fascinating tale. It is traditionally cooked by unmarried men who were often given the guard duty and when they got hungry at night, they would steal chickens and make this dish! The other main, the sea bass, is a perfectly fried slab of fish that sits on a hash brown-like base in a pool of fish curry. For dessert, Shwe Yin Aye is the novel one — where French toast meets ice kachang meets falooda. And did we mention that it also has sticky rice, coconut milk and fresh mangoes? Meanwhile, Sanwin Makin might sound novel too — but it is the familiar semolina halwa topped with fresh caramelised orange slices with ginger honey ice-cream and a smattering of roasted coconut.
Ongoing till June 2. Meal for two INR 1,500.