Bracing Burmese Food, Full of Contradictions, at Together

All this, in a few spoonfuls. Other salads are less visually kaleidoscopic but equally bracing, with one ingredient ascendant — perhaps lime, not just juice but flesh, or shredded green mango on the cusp of sweetness — but still beholden to a rabble of happily conflicting tastes. A tangle of yellow noodles and three shapes of rice noodles (skinny, broad, flat) is disarmingly fun to eat, with its snaking textures.


Here, ah sone khauswe thoke, a tangle of yellow noodles that is disarmingly fun to eat.

Danny Ghitis for The New York Times

Ngapi, fermented fish or shrimp paste, is entwined in the DNA of nearly every dish. (Before Myanmar started taking steps toward democracy, a general in the governing junta reportedly said, “We are not scared of Western sanctions; we will survive as long as we have rice, salt and ngapi.”) Mr. Myint makes his own, from a powder of pulverized shrimp the size of fingernails, simmered with tomato and chile. Half its potency lies in its reek, suggesting simultaneous ripeness and rot.

One soup, ohnot kaukswe, arrives looking like boiling gold, thickened by coconut milk and soybean powder, with half a boiled egg breaking the surface and a ravel of yellow noodles below. It is soul-deep. Mohinga is redder, glowering under a wreckage of broken chickpea fritters, with slinky coils of rice vermicelli in a fish stock fortified by fish sauce and crushed lemongrass stalks. When Mr. Myint can get it, he adds the pith of the banana stem, made up of leaves tightly rolled together; the tenderest, at the core, add crunch and a faint, grassy bitterness.

When Mr. Myint immigrated to the United States 17 years ago, he found work alongside other Burmese immigrants as a sushi chef at supermarkets around the country. For a while, he ran a sushi bar in Catskill, N.Y., occasionally sneaking Burmese…

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