One doesn't really need a reason to celebrate – but this was a special occasion. A friend had turned 50. So friends and foes had gathered at his house to mark the day. For me, a happy occasion has to come hand in hand with good food. And ever since I heard that they were ordering khow suey for dinner, I had been looking forward to the get-together. I first had this dish at another friend's house many, many years ago. Since then, I have nurtured a soft spot for the khow suey.
I can say with some degree of confidence that after Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma is best known for its khow suey. This is a wonderful soupy dish of a meat or fish broth cooked with coconut milk and eaten with noodles and all kinds of other delicious add-ons. I've eaten it in so many houses now that I consider myself quite a khow suey expert. And the one I had at my friend's house was indeed one of the best khow sueys I'd ever eaten.
The dish came from a place called the Burmese Kitchen, about which I'd been hearing good things for a while. This is a take-away place in Gurgaon (phone number 0124-4045377). It started off as a purely khow suey place, and then over time went on adding different kinds of dishes to its menu. Now it serves, apart from Burmese food, Thai, Chinese, Moroccan, and so on.
Our friends had ordered some starters – Moroccan chicken kababs served with a yoghurt dip, pita bread with baba ganoush and hummus and corn fritters with a nice tamarind-flavoured dip. I found the dips particularly interesting, and thought the kababs were soft and flavourful, without being too spicy.
But the khow suey took the cake – or the fried garlic, I should say. The soup – wonderfully creamy and fragrant – came with nine accompanying ingredients in little bowls. You took a bowl of noodles, covered it with the broth, and then topped it with anything and everything that you liked. The add-ons consisted of sliced boiled eggs, fried garlic, peanuts, chopped spring onions, potato crisps, onion crisps, chopped green chillies, red chilli flakes and lemon wedges. The final result was a delicious and filling meal.
Burmese Kitchen serves khow suey made with shrimps, chicken, pork and lamb. The shrimp version is for Rs.250, and the others are for Rs.180. They also offer a vegetarian khow suey, with a soup of mushrooms and broccoli, and that's for Rs.150.
There are other Burmese dishes, including a fish soup for Rs.230 and a pork and pumpkin soup for Rs.90. There is something called nanji, which is a dish of dried whole wheat noodles with chicken and various other Burmese ingredients.
I am not sure if Burmese Kitchen delivers in all parts of Delhi, but if they do, I am going to try their food out on another day. The khow suey needs to be repeated, and some of the dishes on their menu sound so appetising that I have to try them out. That would be my way of voicing support for the resilient people of Burma.