Wahh Tee Burmese Restaurant
We are blessed with a huge variety of southeast Asian restaurants in Greater Vancouver. There’s a phở joint seemingly around every corner. Excellent Thai food can be a had with a short drive. There are several good Malaysian, Singaporean and Indonesian choices as well. One cuisine we haven’t seen much of is Burmese. It doesn’t even appear on Urbanspoon’s cuisine list! Perhaps it just wasn’t offered as a choice. It’s time to put it on the list!
Wahh Tee is a tiny, four table, sixteen seat resto on Joyce St. in East Van. A few years back, just two doors down, Burmese restaurateur Bo Han staked his original claim to fame, Bo Laksa King. He then moved on to a bigger shop on Hastings. But that, unfortunately, is no more. *big sigh*
Today I got together with über-foodie Lotusrapper and Uncle Ben from Chowtimes to see what Wahh Tee has on offer.
One big letdown was that Burmese Fermented Tea Salad (Lahpet Thoke) wasn’t available. I was so hoping to try the highly-caffienated appetizer I’ve heard many rave about. Instead, we opted for Pennywort Salad (Min Kwa Yuet).
Apparently pennywort is an extremely healthy herb. Regardless of the “healthy” aspect, mixed with lime, garlic, shrimp and bean powder, this is quite a delicious way to get your vitamins. Our friendly server stated that you’ll feel healthy just thinking about it!
Uncle Ben’s first choice, Myanmar Biryani Rice, was available but the chicken curry was not. Fortunately, Ben knew that pork was a better version.
Burmese Curried Pork Biryani (Kaeng hung leh). Not too spicy but layered with flavor. Juicy pork belly and shoulder simmered to perfection. This was given a very proper treatment. A long stew in spices and aromatics…a nice slow chile-burn resulting in mouth-melting goodness. A perfect meat to fat ratio.
Alongside came some nice crunch.
A nice light slaw of cabbage, red onion and cucumber slathered in a thin chile-garlic dressing. A good balance to the richness of the belly. It comes as a complimentary side with the curries and rice dishes.
Wahh Tee has three soups on offer. They come in two sizes. $3.50 for a small serving and $5 for a meal-size version. We opted for all three, sampler-sized. Unfortunately, the Coconut Milk Noodle Soup was snapped up before it’s modeling session.
Fish Noodle Soup. Fairly decent stuff. I was expecting a more pungent broth and a heartier noodle. In the end, though, a nice level of heat came through. Good seafood flavor brightened up nicely with cilantro and chewy fish cake.
Spicy Fish Noodle Soup. Similarly delicious but crunchified with yellow bean crisped in rice flour. A solid soup, spiked with pungent shrimp paste but still mediocre on the heat scale.
The Beef Fried Noodles hit most marks as well. A great portion for eight bucks. A good amount of tender beef and crunchy veg slathered in a delicious, garlicky sauce. The wheat noodles, as in the soup, could of been sturdier, but a great plate, nonetheless.
As the Pork Biryani was such a hit we had the Pork Curry as well. The only difference was plain rice on the side and a dish of this wondrous concoction.
This, I believe, is called Balachaung. Except from all my reading, Balachaung is mainly dried shrimp. The chef here told us it was dried fish similar to these they had on sale.
Whatever the case may be, this hearty paste is seriously addictive! At this point in the meal, I was stuffed but I just couldn’t stop nibbling on the leftover rice and tiny hits of Balachaung. Naomi Duguid (an excellent writer on Asian cuisine) wrote “Burma – Rivers of Flavors”. Think I’ll give her recipe a whirl.
To top off a lengthy, interesting and delicious meal, we shared a simple Coconut Sticky Rice.
Chewy, moist, rich and very satisfying. A perfect note to end a great meal.
I really have to hand it to the folk at Wahh Tee. They are the epitome of a solid, family-run operation. Delicious, honest fare at rock-bottom prices with excellent, friendly service. Do yourself a favor and discover another wonderful Asian cuisine!