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Burma Social restaurant brings the essence of 6 Asian kingdoms to Tras Street

Burma Social restaurant brings the essence of 6 Asian kingdoms to Tras Street
PHOTO: Burma Social

Like Singapore, Myanmar (formerly Burma) is a melting pot of cultures, boasting a rich tapestry of culinary influences from its 135 ethnic groups.

Together with their terroir and traditions, Burmese cuisine brims with heritage and history, anchored by the harmonious blending of flavours.

Food is more than sustenance; it reflects a communal experience and an expression of love and connection. Good thing for us, a taste of Myanmar is easily within reach with the newly-opened Burma Social that has set foot in Tanjong Pagar.

Presenting a "Feast of Six Kingdoms", the restaurant elevates traditional Burmese recipes with a vibrant infusion of its neighbouring countries like China, Thailand, India, Bangladesh and Laos. 

The space

Situated along Tras Street, Burma Social spotlights facets of Myanmar in its three-storey shophouse.

The first floor opens to a lush outdoor verandah, great for gathering with friends, which leads to an open bar flanked by an impressive mural capturing the beauty of Myanmar's landscape with tiles.

A cosy indoor dining space for intimate meals sits opposite the stairway dressed in traditional Burmese art and woodcraft. And as you get to the second floor, a set of intricately designed Buddhist Wishing Bells welcomes you to the main dining area.  

The ascend to the third floor is adorned with colourful umbrellas, a vibrant sight for guests making their way to the private room. 

Soup and salads

We started our night of Burmese hospitality with the Raw Coconut Milk & Broccolini Adorned with Flying Fish Roe ($22), a light and flavourful soup that warms the stomach. And a different rendition of the Thai mango salad, the Papaya & Mango Thoke (Ye Thu Kyun) ($22), a sweet and tart salad that whet our appetite.

The standout dish not-to-be-missed is the Laphet Nay Wai Thoke ($18). Laphet is a well-loved fermented tea leaf salad that has evolved from a symbol of peace in ancient times to an expression of Burmese hospitality.

Here, the salad dish is tossed with green tomatoes, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, topped with Burmese nuts and a spritz of lemon, leading to a harmonious blend of earthy, sweet, sour, spicy, and umami flavours, all in one bite. 

Starters and main

Not being a tofu lover, the Crispy Tohu Jaw ($20) was a surprising delight with a flavourful and slightly firmer texture. The dish carries hints of the Indian culture, with the tofu made from ground Indian chickpeas and drizzled over with Burmese black jaggery sauce - a concoction of Burmese gula melaka and Indian sugarcane.

The tofu is tasty on its own, and if you decide to spice it up, reach for the delectable homemade chilli sauce served as a trio of condiments on the table.

Resembling a flower, the next starter, Hnin Si's Steam Puzon ($32), is a blend of prawn and mudfish, sous vide, ground, steamed, and shaped into firm petal-like cakes. The dish is then held together by a blanket of rice paper and homemade chilli sauce in the middle.

Although some effort is needed to slice the rice paper and wrap the cakes, it is a worthwhile endeavour when the smooth flavours of the sea come together.

We tried one of the signature mains, the Ohn-no Kyaukswe ($32), featuring the humble rice noodles served with a bowl of vegetable soup. At first glance, this dish reminded us of a deconstructed laksa.

But different from laksa's rich gravy, the soup here is light and sweetened with the umami of the prawns and barramundi fish cakes served on the side. The noodles can be enjoyed in two ways; dry with the salad and a spritz of lime or drenched in the soup.

We love the additional crisp that comes with Burmese nuts toppings and recommend adding the mixture of fried garlic, onions, and nuts from the trio of condiments for the perfect finish. 

Cocktails and mocktails

The journey continues to their drinks menu centred around fresh fruits and aromatic, inspired by the countries of the Six Kingdoms.

Laos, the silky smooth cocktail in an intricately designed glassware, sees vodka and rice wine stirred with clarified Laotian milk and House Rambutan reduction. Pair the drink with the rambutans and kiwi slice served on the side for a fruitier infusion. 

Thailand features a ginger seduction with spiced rum, fresh lime and calamansi and house ginger juice. Mocktails include a China, a tea-inspired concoction with fresh Mandarin orange juice, Oolong tea reduction, and egg white.

Cocktails run $25 each, and mocktails $14 each.

When the night falls, watch the graceful fire and water-fan dance performance that enlivens the outdoor verandah-check in with friendly staff for performance details. 

Burma Social is located at 34 Tras Street, Singapore 079026, p.+65 6016 9140. Open Mon to Fri 11.30am-2.30pm, 6pm-12am, Sat 6pm-12am. Closed on Sun.

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This article was first published in City Nomads.

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