Burmese dishes, aromatic with herbs and thick with chickpea flour, have all the time been onerous to seek out in Seattle. Whisper networks developed to supply fermented leaves for laphet thoke, the nation’s well-known tea-leaf salad, however no Burmese-owned eating places surfaced in Seattle regardless of the delicacies’s success in locations like Portland and the Bay Space; typically, the one locations to supply Burmese dishes had been at annual picnics organized by the local Burmese immigrant community. However in October, a small store began serving a number of of the delicacies’s best-known dishes on a quiet nook of Uptown.

Burmese meals makes up one phase of the “extra” in Kamino Sushi and More, which took over the outdated Pho Viet Anh area on Roy Road, however it’s the native delicacies of chef Myat Feil. “I didn’t like cooking a lot after I was younger,” she says. Myat nonetheless realized a bit of about the right way to do it as she earned a level in hospitality in Myanmar, but it surely was when she moved to the U.S. — and located herself lacking Burmese meals — that she actually needed to determine it out. She realized to like cooking within the course of.

A dark ceramic bowl filled with rice noodles, bean sprouts, bok choy, ground peanuts, and a brown-red paste.

Shan kauk soi, a Burmese rice noodle dish with fermented soybeans and floor peanuts.
Suzi Pratt/Eater Seattle

A salad of fermented tea leaves, salad greens, and sliced tomato and cucumber on a square white plate.

Kamino Sushi and Extra serves laphet thoke, a fermented tea leaf salad that’s ubiquitous in Myanmar.
Suzi Pratt/Eater Seattle

“Burmese meals is a bit of little bit of Indian meals, a bit of little bit of Chinese language meals,” she says, pointing to the curry and stir-fried dishes, respectively. However then there may be tea leaf salad, whose star ingredient is exclusive to and ubiquitous within the nation and its delicacies. “The very first thing when a visitor arrives to your own home, you give them tea and tea leaves,” Myat explains. “Tea leaves are all the time on the desk.”

Tea leaf salad is one among three Burmese dishes at the moment on the menu at Kamino. It had extra Burmese dishes when it opened, together with the nation’s model of samosas, fried chickpea tofu, and mohinga, a fish noodle soup, however Myat tapered the menu in the course of the slower winter months. Myat plans so as to add extra in the summertime, or, with sufficient demand, even sooner. Within the meantime, the menu focuses on the meals she spent most of her skilled profession making: sushi.

The employees of U.S. grocery retailer sushi bars tends to be closely Burmese, a quirk that speaks to immigration dynamics and the familiarity with seafood, Myat theorizes. Myat took a job at one when she immigrated to the U.S. at age 30, and higher job alternatives ultimately introduced her to the Pacific Northwest about 15 years in the past. She paid her manner via faculty rolling sushi, graduating with a level in product design. She hoped to discover a job at Boeing, but it surely by no means occurred.

Three grocery-store-style takeout boxes of sushi in a fridge, with shrimp, tuna, and salmon nigiri with wasabi and ginger in each box, with soda containers in the background.

Myat Feil spent a lot of her profession making sushi at grocery shops and casinos, and its nonetheless the main focus of her restaurant.
Suzi Pratt/Eater Seattle

As a substitute, she continued to work at sushi bars, together with one at a on line casino the place she met a co-worker from one other division, Bruce Feil. Collectively, the pair hatched a plan to open their very own wholesale sushi enterprise: Myat as chef and Bruce as proprietor, businessman, and supervisor. They began in search of a industrial kitchen in early 2021 however failed to seek out an open area. After eight months, prepared to surrender, the restaurant area on Roy Road got here onto the market. They hadn’t deliberate to purchase a restaurant, however when the kitchen area they wanted got here with a eating room, they started to strategize about the right way to broaden on their unique concept.

To become profitable on this nook of Uptown, Myat and Bruce needed to get inventive. The pair purpose to develop a stable catering enterprise among the many places of work and inns close by, they usually have a grab-and-go fridge for staff, in addition to for individuals in search of a fast chew earlier than heading throughout the road to occasions at Seattle Heart. Proper now, the menu consists of a mixture of Vietnamese and Thai noodle dishes and appetizers, poke, teriyaki, and, after all, sushi. They not too long ago added panini to the menu too, as a result of it labored effectively for company lunch enterprise.

However for these Seattleites with expertise on the Burmese eating places of Daly Metropolis, California, at Prime Burmese in Portland, and even touring in Myanmar itself, Kamino holds promise within the dishes that signify Myat’s heritage. As they deliberate their restaurant, “We figured, why not add Burmese meals,” says Myat. “I understand how to prepare dinner it.” One barrier was the issue of buying fermented tea leaves, which required tapping into their community again dwelling and having them air-shipped over; the endeavor, whereas costly, is worth it as a result of it permits them to create a model of laphet thoke, or tea leaf salad, they provide. Pungent with garlic, chilies, and sesame oil, Myat’s salad consists of the normal fried dried beans, peanuts, and sesame seeds, alongside together with her personal additions of shredded cabbage and spring combine greens.

Kamino provides two Burmese noodle soups, each variations on rooster curry. Thick ohno khao soi takes its texture from chickpea paste stirred into rooster broth and coconut milk rooster curry and comes topped with a hard-boiled egg and sharp uncooked onions to chop via the richness. The thinner Shan kauk soi pulls its taste from fermented soybeans and floor peanuts and options rice noodles.

A man in a purple button-down shirt and a tie stands next to a woman with a grey dress in front of a restaurant with “Pho/Teriyaki/Sushi/Burmese Noodle Soup” written on the window.

Suzi Pratt/Eater Seattle

Regardless of operating the kitchen at Seattle’s solely Burmese restaurant, Myat stays tentative in regards to the reception to her delicacies. She is aware of she would have extra enterprise from the Burmese neighborhood if she opened in Kent or Lynnwood, the place many of the space’s Burmese immigrants reside, however she additionally hopes that from the middle of the town and thru catering, she may be capable of expose extra individuals to Burmese cooking. “The aim is to get to the most individuals potential, to the touch extra individuals,” she says.

Nevertheless it hasn’t been straightforward: within the restaurant, she will get suggestions from prospects that the Burmese dishes have too many flavors or take too lengthy to make. “Individuals come for quick meals. Burmese is sluggish,” she says. Nonetheless, Myat carries on Burmese traditions within the three dishes on the menu now and within the first query posed to any buyer that walks in: “Can I carry you some tea?”

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