As I mentioned before, Lao Cafe and The Shan State were high on my eat list since I've never tried Laotian food or Burmese food before and I was keen for my tastebuds to be educated.
The Shan State is located on the busy Shaftesbury Avenue and replaces the old Boba Jam bubble tea/dessert house. Interestingly, they've kept the bubble tea and dessert menu from the old owners and added Burmese food to it.
The restaurant itself still feels like a casual bubble tea/dessert house rather than a full on Burmese restaurant which feels like a confused eatery not sure who its customers are. But, and that's a big but, if you're here to try out Burmese food like I was, be assured the Burmese food is authentic and delightful.
It's a girls catch up with Charlie and Claire who I've not seen in ages and we start off with some bubble tea of course. My taro milk is pretty lame and watery. I took a sip of Charlie's classic milk tea, it's a wee better but not by much.
We've been given a selection of beans, tofu and onion. The batter is light and crunchy, made all the more addictive by that lovely tamarind dip. It's tangy, savoury, sweet, a bit spicy and works really well with the fried veggies.
So what did fermented green tea leaf taste like? It's a little tangy, the texture is like toughen tea leaves and mixed together with plum tomatoes, deep fried crunchy broad beans, dried shrimps, fresh garlic, ginger and chillies, it was just delightful.
There's saltiness from the dried shrimps, aromatics from the garlic and ginger, nuttiness and crunch from the beans and all brought together by the fresh tomatoes and tangy tea leaves. A must try.
Burmese food is so incredibly tasty with flavours that are similar to Chinese and Thai food. I cannot wait to go back and work through more of their menu. The only problem is, how do I stop myself ordering the green tea salad and Shan noodles again and still have room to try the other dishes?
Have you tried Burmese food before and will you be giving The Shan State a visit?