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Skip the Line for Burma Superstar’s Tea Leaf Salad

First step: Find fermented tea leaves

Burma Superstar, the perpetually packed Inner Richmond restaurant, is known equally for its flavorful Burmese dishes, and the long waits that accumulate each night. Now fans of the Southeast Asian cuisine will have the opportunity to skip the line and make some of their favorites at home, with recipes from the restaurant’s new book, coming out in March 2017.

Burma Superstar: Addictive Recipes from the Crossroads of Southeast Asia , which was cowritten by owner Desmond Tan and cookbook author Kate Leahy, is a selection of some of the restaurant’s most popular dishes, from curries to samusas. It also tells the story of Tan’s immigration to the United States from Burma (now Myanmar) as a child in the late 70s, and eventual purchase of Burma Superstar from the Wu family in 2002.

Over the years, Tan and his ex-partner Joycelyn Lee expanded the concept to include three locations of Burma Superstar, plus Burma Love, B*Star, and a sixth unnamed restaurant headed for mid-Market. The book is filled with recipes from the restaurants, including classic Mohinga, samusa soup, garlic noodles, plus recipes from trips to Myanmar, and eclectic dishes from the kitchens of home cooks in San Francisco and beyond.

While intrepid cooks may have to look a bit further than the shelves of Safeway for the laphet (fermented tea leaves) used in the famous tea leaf salad, most of the dishes have great possibility for recreation at home. (Meanwhile Tan buys his tea leaves from Myanbar in massive quantities.) Check out the video below for a little glimpse at the assembly of a tea leaf salad, plus a demonstration of some high-quality mixing skills.

Burma Superstar: Addictive Recipes from the Crossroads of Southeast Asia is available for pre-order, and will be released March 28, 2017 from Ten Speed Press.

Making of the tea leaf salad

Note: News of a lawsuit against Burma Superstar’s owners recently broke, with allegations of wage theft, which they deny. As of publication, Tan and Lee have not been served with legal papers by the plaintiffs’ attorneys.

Burma Superstar Restaurant

309 Clement Street, San Francisco, CA 94118 415 387 2147

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