I made it a goal this year to try food from cultures I have never tried before. One particular cuisine I have never tried before was Burmese food. It’s not a trending cuisine like it’s other South East Asian counterpart, but like anything new and different it has the potential to make you curious. Burmese food will remind you of something mixed between Indian, Chinese and Thai food which is no surprise as they are the countries which share the border with Myanmar (Burma).
Free Burma Cafe was established after having run a successful business in catering. The restaurant in its true spirit of giving back to the community provides support and help for the Burmese refugee community in Australia, helping them find work and settle in this country.
Inside the cafe, you’ll immediately notice some photos printed on canvas along the ways for display. To one side there is shelf with books about Burma, trinkets and some food items while a white board hangs above with the specials of the day.
Le Boy and I had come back after doing the 1000 steps at Mt Dandenong and needed something comforting and hearty to fill out empty gastric souls.
The cafe offers a variety of meat and also vegetarian and even vegan options to choose from. I was determined to try something new and different, so when I laid my eyes on the green banana curry, I was sold.
Green banana curry (plantain curry) $12.00
This curry tasted really, REALLY good. It’s not your typical spicy curry or the very creamy coconut-y kind might be familiar with. Whatever was in it, it tasted amazing. The green banana had a consistently very similar to potato, while the yellow peas really reminded me of lentils. If you had no idea you would be forgiven to think that it was some sort of potato and lentil curry. What blew me away the most, was how delicious it was. There was a savoury sweetness that just makes you crave for that extra spoonful even you you’re already stuffed.
In fact, it’s made me really want to know how to make it myself because my goodness it’s just made it into my list of comfort foods.
Mohinga (Fish and noodle soup) + side plate of condiments $12.00
Mohinga, a vermicelli rice noodle dish served in a fish based broth is the national dish of Myanmar (Burma). Often served with an arrangement of side dishes to compliment the dish, mohinga is something you just got to try simply because you just have to.
Not as powerfully flavoured as the green banana curry, the mohinga has more subtle flavours but a larger range of textures. The accompaniments are there to spice up and personalize the mohinga experience.
Coconut bombs $8.00
Crispy coconut fried doughnut-like dumpling morsels served with homemade coconut ice cream, fresh banana and a sweet syrup to drizzle all over. It was both decadent and refreshing. The warmth from the coconut bombs against the cool ice cream, crispy and chew to smooth, cold and creamy. The dessert satisfied all my sweet tooth senses.
Situated on Springvale Rd in the suburb dominated by Vietnamese, Thai and Chinese food, the Free Bruma Cafe is a little hidden treasure indeed. It’s a small business with humble cause, lovely service and relaxed dining. It was just the thing we needed.