Myanmar Corner: Warm smiles and warming dishes | HerCanberra

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Myanmar Corner: Warm smiles and warming dishes

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One of the best things about Canberra’s culinary scene is that it offers plenty of opportunities for people to showcase food from their home countries, much to the benefit of those of us who like to try different cuisines.

Myanmar Corner in Casey is one of the best examples of this. Owned and run by wife and husband Aye Thu and Kyaw Ko, it offers delicious Burmese food and has become one of my favourite restaurants since I first tried it a few years ago. Canberrans are notorious for being reluctant to travel beyond ‘their side’/over the bridge but I assure you the food at Myanmar Corner is worth a trip.

While I usually stick with my tried-and-true favourites (Kaw Yay Kuat Sal and goat curry), on this occasion my friend and I asked Aye and Ko to choose for us, with the caveat that I can’t eat spicy (chilli hot) food and my friend is the opposite. While we waited for the first dish, I took the opportunity to ask Aye about the origins of the restaurant.

She explained that she and Ko are both Burmese and wanted to open a Burmese restaurant in Canberra as there wasn’t one (for those who were fans of the Burmese Curry Place, Myanmar Corner is a very different offering). They opened in October 2019, and we all know what happened a few months later. Aye said their ability to do takeaway and the support of locals enabled them to stay in business during lockdown.

Pickled Tea Leaf Salad.

The first dish to arrive was the Pickled tea leaf salad, a traditional Burmese salad with pickled tea leaves, crispy mixed nuts, dried shrimp, tomatoes, and shredded cabbage. This is not the kind of salad you will find anywhere else, and apart from looking pretty it was also very pleasant to eat, with a nice crunch to it.

Next was a dish neither my friend (also a frequent visitor) or I had tried before—Burmese vegetable tempura. The taste of this tempura is quite different to what you might be used to from Japanese restaurants; we found the batter to be more flavourful and really nicely balanced with the tangy tamarind sauce. The veggies in this dish were bitter gourd, zucchini, and onion and they were delightfully crispy.

Burmese Vegetable Tempura.

As the food came out, Aye and Ko also explained their menu to us and how certain dishes would be eaten in Myanmar. They said people would usually go to a tea house, where they could choose how they wanted their tea made, and where there would be a variety of snacks on offer (on Myanmar Corner’s menu these are under ‘Starters’).

Curries would be eaten at home, and noodle dishes would be eaten out. They told us that Burmese curries, unlike many other Asian cuisines, don’t use any coconut milk, and so are quite light, and the ones on their menu have been chosen to showcase the different types of Burmese curries (with adjustable levels of spiciness—my friend always asks for chilli on the side). Aye and Ko also told us the curries don’t contain vegetables as it’s traditional for veggies to come on the side, for example in a salad.

Duck Curry.

On cue, we were then presented with a duck curry and a prawn salad. The prawn salad was refreshing and healthy and the flavour reminiscent of a Thai salad but not quite as intense. My friend declared it her new favourite dish at Myanmar Corner (this is impressive given she’s tried most of the menu). The duck curry was, as we had been told it would be, quite light and mild, but the sauce was very flavoursome, and the duck was perfectly cooked.

Prawn Salad.

In addition to its regular menu, Myanmar Corner has monthly specials, and we were given the Pork belly with fermented bean paste special to try. The pork was fall-apart-tender and again the sauce was light but packed full of flavour.

You can’t go to Myanmar Corner without having at least one noodle dish, and on this occasion, we had the Mohinga, Myanmar’s national noodle dish, that Ko told us is traditionally served as street food at all hours of the day, with each region having its own variation. Myanmar Corner’s version is fish soup with rice noodle, fish cakes and egg, topped with crispy pea chips and coriander. Mohinga is real comfort food, hearty, filling, and perfect on a cold Canberra day.

Mohinga.

While my friend and I were quite full by this point, there is always room for dessert, and so we shared our two favourites—Falooda (a dessert drink with rose syrup, jelly, tapioca, palm seeds, milk and ice cream) and Burmese milk tea panna cotta. The desserts were both light and—the ultimate compliment from Asian people—not too sweet. I recommend you try both if you go to Myanmar Corner.

Dessert.

Myanmar Corner is a real family affair, with Ko’s fellow chefs being Aye and Ko’s cousins (and who have also been involved in the restaurant from the very beginning). The pride and love with which food is prepared and served at the restaurant is evident in every dish and in the smiles you are greeted with when you walk in the door.

Myanmar Corner’s menu has gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian options so there is something for everyone to try. Bookings are recommended for Friday and Saturday nights, and people have been known to call ahead for the popular soft-shell crab curry, so you might like to do the same if it’s on your wishlist.

The Myanmar Corner Team. (L-R) Phoo, Min, Kyi Thar, Min, Aye, Ko.

THE ESSENTIALS

What: Myanmar Corner
Where: Unit 38/68 Dalkin Crescent, Casey (outside the shopping centre on the Casey Jones side). Parking is ample and free.
When: 11.30 am-2 pm, 5 pm-9 pm, Tuesday to Sunday. No alcohol available on-site, however, you are welcome to BYO.
Facebook: facebook.com/myanmarcornercanberra
Instagram: @myanmar_corner
Website: myanmar-corner.com

The author and her friend dined courtesy of Myanmar Corner, but all opinions are their own.

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