Mingalaba: Blending Cultures in Burlingame

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Restaurant Sign Burlingame

Burma’s cuisine blends Indian, Chinese and Thai influences. Rangoon-born owner Sandra Tung has run Mingalaba, a Burmese restaurant in downtown Burlingame, since 2008. The name loosely translates to “hello” in Burma, and the staff was indeed warm and welcoming.

Downtown was in flux during my visit, with extensive construction out front. Still, Mingalaba offered quiet comfort beyond the glass front and red awning. Indoors, you’ll find wood tables, elephant imagery, and both yellow and mirrored walls lined with traditional Burmese art.

Flavors are fairly bold, with rich curries, pickled mango and dried shrimp all contributing to tastes that probably aren’t for people who still need to shed their culinary training wheels. Yes, some of the sauces have overlapping profiles, particularly the curry, so just be careful to vary your order. Burmese cuisine is fairly hard to come by in California, but compared to counterparts, Mingalaba delivered a pretty strong experience.


Burmese Food Silicon Valley
Many dishes are easily shareable, including Paratha ($6.95), flaky, pull-apart pancake served with a pair of dipping sauces: curry sweetened with coconut milk, and a spicier potato curry.

Burmese Food Silicon Valley
Burmese Style Curry Chicken ($10.95) featured a pool of savory curry slurry. Thankfully, Mingalaba only features “dark meat, served spicy only.” Works for me.

Burmese Food Silicon Valley
Burmese Style Curry Pork ($12.50) featured tender chunks simmered with potatoes, mildly sweet cross sections of squash, pungent red curry and tart pickled mango.

Burmese Food Silicon Valley
Blistered Burmese Style Pan Fried String Beans ($9.75) received a boost from tiny dry shrimp.

Burmese Food Silicon Valley
Burmese Style Noodle (Kaw Soi Dok) ate like a salad, with slippery noodles tossed with cucumber, potatoes, chile sauce, dried shrimp and cabbage, served room temperature.

Burmese Food Silicon Valley
Plates already pack plenty of flavor, so white rice is probably a good base to soak up the sauces, but the restaurant does offer Coconut Rice with a touch of sweetness; and Tampoi Rice: Burmese style saffron rice supercharged with cashews, peas, raisins and fried shallots.

Address: 1213 Burlingame Avenue, Burlingame, CA 94010

Mingalaba: Blending Cultures in Burlingame

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Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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