Burma Superstar’s dining room in San Francisco was perpetually empty for years after the restaurant was opened on Clement Street (the “other Chinatown”) by a Chinese-Burmese couple in 1992. That changed when they sold it to husband-wife restaurant novices Desmond Tan and Joycelyn Lee in 2000. They eighty-sixed the Chinese dishes, cultivated authentic Burmese dishes and introduced their ethnic niche to one of the world’s great dining cities, which embraced it.
Now the food is legendary and the wait for a table is notoriously long at the original site and its sisters in Alameda and Oakland. The restaurants have been so successful that a cookbook just came out, “Burma Superstar: Addictive Recipes from the Crossroads of Southeast Asia” by Tan and Kate Leahy, with 90 recipes, dramatic color photos and sidebars about Burma and its cuisine.
Included are recipes for two signature dishes, rainbow salad (with more than 20 ingredients) and tea leaf salad. The coconut curry chicken ain’t bad, either.
$30 at bookstores; Ten Speed Press, 272 pages; www.burmasuperstar.com.