Vegan Superstar

Vegan Mofo Day 3:  Throughout this MoFo I thought i’d present some musings on edibles originating from different corners of the world–Around the World in Vegan Days.  To kick it off,  I’d like to start with a nod to Burma.

My first foray into Burmese food was in college. I was an engineering student at Cooper Union, and the lunch special at Cafe Mingala on 7th street offered a sweet deal—not as cheap as the Indian restaurants on 6th street, but nothing was.  Situated in a largely Ukrainian block yet also next to McSorley’s Ale House and across from the Thai place that “made Chinese food for American people,” Mingala tempted my palate with their spicy green papaya salad.

But it wasn’t until I moved out west that I would declare Burmese food to be my favorite.  Burma Superstar convinced me of that.  The food combined the best flavors of Burma’s neighbors—India, China, Thailand, Laos—creating a unique taste of its own.  I’d dream of what they could do to tofu.  I wore my Poodi Time Shirt with pride, savoring the Superstar version of a potato curry dish served with a poofy bread similar to an Indian puri.  I’d drool thinking about their samusa soup—a crazy, who-would’ve-thunk-it hodge podge of samosa bits and falafalel balls in a spicy curried broth.  Even a simple side of greens like marinated pea shoots was noteworthy.

Burma Superstar was in the Richmond district of San Francisco, aka “New Chinatown”.
I’d plan my whole day around a meal there.  Afterwards, would venture to the Toy Boat Dessert Café up the block that sold vintage toys from the 80s, ice cream cones and sandwhiches.  They always had at least 2 varieties of soy ice cream which was a rare treat then. Next stop would be Green or Red Apple Books and pick up a used old book that would be new to me.

Those were my indulgences: spicy food, vegan desserts and books.

I realize the stark contrast to what meals in Burma might actually consist of these days due to the hike in food costs, fuel costs, Cyclone Nargis, compounded with military junta notorious for its disregard of human rights.  I wish for a little Vegan Superstar who could bring nourishment back to the country.


~ by sangamithra on October 3, 2008.

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