Burmese Food Festival Nibban Zay Festival

As promised there were plenty of mohinga stalls, but thanks to the intrepid leadership of a Burmese speaker (Hi Aung! thanks for showing us around), we ate like kings (on a tour).

Burmese Food Festival Nibban Zay Festival Fried Cha-om shrimp

My fave thing was easily the Thai-influenced version of battered fried greens with shrimp mixed in, topped with pyoke, served with a side of turmeric yellowed sticky rice, all to be dipped in a sweet/spicy tamarind sauce. In Thai, this dish is “tam leung”. This dish, typically made with “Coccinia grandis”, aka gourd leaf, is named after the fried greens. At the Burmese festival, it seemed “cha-om”, another piquant plant associated with Thai cuisine, is utilized. Cha-om, often stringy if not well cooked, brings so much herbal funk to the dish, and the chickpea countered with a solid crunch. This dish is all kinds of exotic. Never seen it before on a Burmese menu, and it’d prove to be 1 of many firsts during this food fest.

Burmese Food Festival Nibban Zay Festival Kulfi Ice Cream

Kulfi ice cream, made by the Dr. Swe family. $3. It’s not scooped, but each individually frozen. The technique by which the vendor forced the ice cream out of the cold shell reminds me a bit of Chikalicious. It’s a painful process, and well worth the price tag just to see them in action. Many South Asian shops have kulfi ice cream, but again, this is a rare treat as the only other “Burmese” restaurant to carry kulfi ice cream is Jasmine Market. This dish symbolized the entire Indian-Burma borderline, call it geography lesson on a plate, if you will. Per Dr. Julie Swe, they filled over 300 servings of kulfi ice cream, this is purely for charity, and they don’t sell commercially anywhere in Los Angeles.

Burmese Food Festival Nibban Zay Festival Stir Fried Vermicelli

Burmese Chinese style stir fry rice sticks. This was the BOMB. Really, it’s just a plate of stir fried rice stick noodles, commonly served in Taiwanese noodle soups and Fuzhou dishes as 麵線, but this had a sweet soy kicked up with a huge infusion of spiciness. The fact it was topped with various pork intestine and liver chunks brought this home for me.

Burmese Food Festival Nibban Zay Festival Mohinga 1 Burmese Food Festival Nibban Zay Festival Mohinga 2

Monhinga. (1) and (2). Look at the various mohinga lines to determine which one is better. One was watery, one had more chili powder, fish pulp, fish paste, turmeric, etc. The difference even in home-cooked goodness is apparently. Caveat emptor, booth number changes, and I don’t know which family is cooking what.

Burmese Food Festival Nibban Zay Chickpea Tofu

Chickpea tofu. We didn’t try this. But the tofu is formed in blocks, and hand sliced into the salad. People love this stuff. Good luck finding it in Los Angeles.

Overall, there are awesome food festivals, then there is this Burmese celebration. Duarte Inn’s weekend Indonesian feast is great, but you only get the Burmese festival twice a year(ish).

Other interesting food items: fried sweet pastries, oyster pancake!!!! (looked iffy, the cook didn’t know what he was doing, butchered most of pancake), sour leaf salad, noodle salad, etc.

Burmese Food Festival Nibban Zay Festival Tea Leaf SaladBurmese Food Festival Nibban Zay Festival Fried PastryBurmese Food Festival Nibban Zay Festival Oyster PancakeBurmese Food Festival Nibban Zay Festival Noodle Salad

Myanmar Progressive Buddhist Association
Nibban Zay Festival Details (in Burmese)



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  • FML!

    Sucks that the Mexico game had to be on the exact same time slot that day! I was really planning to go but mourning over shoddy referee’ing said otherwise that day 🙁

    There is always next time! Thanks for recapping man, means a lot!
    .-= Teenage Glutster´s last blog ..Manila Good-Ha- My First Filipino Breakfast =-.

  • Trisha

    The kulfi looks awesome! What was in it?

  • TonyC

    Kulfi ice cream is egg-less, and it was simply topped by some crushed pistachios. There’s often nutmeg, and sometimes there’s saffron.

  • How interesting! I want everything from the Kulfi to the Chickpea tofu. When is the next fest? Maybe they have one in the Pac NW.
    .-= Anna A´s last blog ..Oatmeal Wheat Germ Bran Chocolate Chip Cookies- to name a few- Specialtys Cafe -amp Bakery- Westwood =-.

  • wow this is awesome, esp. that ice cream. i’ve never had burmese food before…any recs?

  • I didn’t think you would actually go. Thought it was some place grandparents go. Not that there’s anything wrong with grandpop’s hangout spot. just saying..
    The food actually looks pretty good. Me miss Yoma Myanmar!
    .-= Cynthia´s last blog ..Blue Plate Oysterette – American Classic =-.

  • TonyC

    Hello! Someone else got the PR release too! Of course I’d go again; it’s my sincerest believe Burmese cuisine is the culmination of all that went right with the Silk Road. Next time, yah? It was a fabulous good grubbin times.

  • oh this looked really good. i love festivals and eating out of styrofoam.
    .-= bagnatic´s last blog ..i picked a dud at little doms deli =-.

  • Hmm. Perhaps I should give Burmese food another try….
    .-= weezermonkey´s last blog ..Pretty Pretty Petrossian =-.

  • I still have yet to try Burmese food, but it looks good. I love the similarities to chinese food dishes.

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