A Journey Into Exotic Burmese Cuisine in San Jose

Table-side salad tossing at Kyusu Burmese Cuisine in San Jose, California

Tableside salad tossing at Kyusu Burmese Cuisine in San Jose, California

Hamburgers, pizza and fried chicken seem to have been around forever. But all these North American classics are but newborns compared to a cuisine that’s 1,000 years old. So why in all my considerable years of exploratory grazing have I never tasted Burmese food?

Kyusu Burmese Cuisine, in San Jose, California, of all places, offers a chance to rectify this. Unfortunately, I’m lunching alone and thus regretfully have to pass over some enticing curries, stews and noodle dishes.

Instead, I zero in on a Burmese classic—an exotic-sounding tea leaf salad ($9). It features a combination of ingredients I’ve never seen before: pickled tea leaves, fried beans and garlic, sesame seeds, sesame oil, dried shrimp and marinated cabbage. My server arrives with all this on a plate and proceeds to carefully toss it tableside with a spoon and tongs.

Ready to tuck into this most exotic tea salad

Ready to tuck into this most exotic tea salad

Time to dig in. The taste is as unusual as the combination. It’s both wet and crunchy, slightly astringent and bearing an unusual, umami-like flavour; maybe it’s the pickled tea leaves.

Overall, it’s well worth the adventure. Now, I just have to find more Burmese eateries and friends to explore the menu with.

Kyusu Burmese Cuisine
1312 Saratoga Avenue, San Jose, California
Wednesday to Monday lunch 11:30 am-2 pm, dinner 5 pm-9 pm. Closed Tuesday
Kyusu Burmese Cuisine on Urbanspoon

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