Saturday, April 4, 2015

Amay's House Burmese and Asian Cuisine

Amay's House Burmese and Asian Cuisine on Urbanspoon Everything on the menu is under $10! Just one main at Amay's House can see you pretty full. It's a mom-and-pop restaurant in a clean restaurant in a somewhat dingy looking older neighborhood. Not posh, but good dine-outs can lurk anywhere, so be careful about judging a place solely by the decor.

I have no idea what Burmese food is supposed to be like, so this won't be a post about what's authentic, only what's tasty. And although Burmese food is the draw here, there are other items that look familiar from elsewhere in South East Asia, such as laksa and mee goreng.

Also, "curry" is a tricky word with as many variants as cultures that have their own variants, so any comparison of Burmese curry to any other curry you may have had is a fallacious one. You can say "I prefer Indian curry", but that's really comparing apples to oranges. The various curries we tried (Beef Lemon Grass, Mutton, and Lamb) were more like stews and there was basically no spicy heat to them at all. There is a small pot of curry flakes at the table which you could carefully sprinkle on for heat if you really want it.
So when you go to Amay's House, try to resist setting your expectations with things you have had before with the same name.

I'm a sucker for roti, so I obviously had to have an order of that. For my main, I consulted the server for what is unusual or what is hard to find elsewhere, and I was recommended three items, including two Burmese curries for being a different style of "curry": #29 Beef Lemon Grass Curry, #32 Lamb Curry, and #34 Burmese Style Biryani.

The Rice & Curry dishes come with steamed rice, but you can substitute the rice for prata or the same biryani rice used in #34 Burmese Style Biryani (at extra cost, though they forgot to disclose this up front).

Free tea!

Burmese Style Samosas ($5) Samosas stuffed with diced potatoes, onions, traditional spices
  • Triangular deep-fried samosas each about the volume of a ping pong ball.
  • Wrap has the same thin and crispy appearance as spring rolls.
  • Filling looks like Indian style potato, and is curried, but has no spicy heat to it at all.
  • Comes with a weak-heat chili sauce on the side.
Prata with creamy egg spread ($5)
  • A folded-into-a-rectangle prata, very similar to the roti prata I had growing up in Singapore.
  • Here, its is pan fried with sweet scrambled egg (?).
  • Because of the egg, it comes across as not very oily.
  • For $5 you get quite a large piece of prata, sized at about two slices of bread.
Prata with steamed yellow peas ($5)
  • Same type of folded-into-a-rectangle prata as above, but no egg. Rather oily on the outside.
  • The yellow peas have a bit of crispy fried shallots.
Prata served with Curry Chicken ($5 for 1 piece of prata, $6.50 for 2 pieces)
  • Two baseball sized balls of prata for $6.50.
    • The exterior and interior look very, very, much like the style of roti prata I had in Singapore -- the inside is almost fluffy and easily ripped apart.
    • Never had it like a ball before, though.
    • Piping hot, so obviously freshly prepared.
    • Quite a good sized portion as far as price for volume goes.
  • About one cup worth of chicken curry, with not that much chicken meat.
    • No spicy heat to the curry.
    • The curry here looks like a Singaporean curry (that you really need to stir because of a layer of reddish oil on top), not the stew-like curry we got later.
  • Basically looks like a serving of Singaporean roti prata, 
Pickled Mango Salad ($7.50) Burmese pickled mango, onion, fresh cilantro, and roasted sesame seeds
  • Smallish salad so a bit steep for the price.
  • Mainly you taste the rather sharp pickled mango, and onions.
  • Felt rather slimy for some reason. That, combined with maybe too much onion turned me off from this salad.
Beef Lemon Grass Curry ($9.50) Marinated beef slow cooked, lemon grass, traditional spices, steamed rice
Mutton Curry ($9.50) Marinated mutton slow cooked, traditional spices, steamed rice
Lamb Curry ($9.50) Marinated boneless lamb slow cooked, traditional spices, steamed rice
  • I've put these three together because they appeared to have the same curry base, just a different type of meat.
  • Overall the meats seemed a bit tough/dry, so something you can do at the very start is mash them to separate the fibres and mix those into the "curry".
  • Almost-black, dark, savoury stew with no spicy heat at all.
  • Rice can be substituted.
    • Someone substituted Biryani rice and I think she was charged $4 more. Also, she was not told up front about the extra cost.
    • I substituted mine for prata and got the same two huge balls of prata as with the curry chicken. I recommend doing this if you don't want too much rice, then take one of the balls home for later.
  • You get about 1 cup worth of curry. Doesn't seem like much, but after the rice / prata, it's quite filling, especially if you've had a bit of an appetizer before.
Best part of Amay's House, based on what I've tried, is the prata. Get the ones with the dip on the side to experience the prata all on its own.

If you are light eater, three larger appetizers for two persons could be a light dinner right there, with the two-piece Prata with Curry Chicken being a good portion all on its own. If you choose the right appetizers at Amay's House, you can put together a really decent dinner because of the portions.

Also read Vanbrosia and Food in YVR for other reviews of Amay's House (with pictures!).

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