Silken chickpea tofu envelops rice noodles in the Burmese dish tohu nway. Janey Wong

Rangoon Bistro commenced spreading the gospel of Burmese avenue food stuff as a result of pop-up dinners. It later grew to become a fixture of the King Farmers Marketplace, and shifted to a takeout-only principle working out of the Gotham Constructing, through the peak of the pandemic. That evolution has now culminated in a brick and mortar restaurant in Southeast Portland’s Breathe Making.


“The way we have completed every little thing is slow but deliberate,” co-owner Nick Sherbo informed the Mercury. “Alex and I started off speaking about this idea more than 5 yrs in the past, [saying] we’ll know it is time to open a position when we’re regularly listening to ‘when are you going to open up a cafe?!’”

Chef Alex Saw has expended about fifty percent his life span absent from his homeland, but he states that, in a sense, he’s returned household by means of his restaurant. In 2010, Observed arrived to the US by way of Malaysia, which he’d fled to as a teenager to keep away from arrest for masking political protests in Myanmar.

As he labored his way up in the kitchen area of the Michelin-starred chef Andrea Zanella, he achieved fellow Burmese expatriate David Sai. The pair honed their capabilities in wonderful Italian dining, and upon reuniting in Portland in the beginning planned to open up an Italian cafe. On the other hand Sherbo—whom they satisfied whilst functioning at Bollywood Theater—suggested they cook dinner Burmese cuisine as a substitute.

The trio resolved to focus on Burmese food, in part mainly because it would give them the prospect to signify their country. The restaurant’s social media is largely devoted to scrumptious-looking foods, but the homeowners usually are not shy about exhibiting their lively participation in regional protests and sharing fundraising efforts—especially in reaction to the military junta that overthrew and deposed the Myanmar’s democratically elected authorities in 2021.

Myanmar (which is also known as Burma) cuisine attracts affect from its many bordering countries—spins on Indian curries and biryanis, diversifications of Chinese noodle dishes, and other details of reference from Bangladesh, Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand. Rangoon Bistro normally takes its identify from the country’s cash metropolis, now known as Yangon.

The restaurant’s menu—a compilation of attempted-and-true dishes that had been to start with examined through the bistro’s previous iterations—is divided into 4 sections: noodles, crispy merchandise, rice dishes, and thokes (salads). Going with a team is the finest solution, so you can get a bunch of dishes and attempt a little of everything.

Just one of the menu’s staples is residence-produced chickpea tofu, which originated from the Shan folks of japanese Myanmar. To make it, the staff soaks chickpea flour right away until finally it sorts a paste which then cooks on small warmth for a few to four several hours. Right after including turmeric for shade and subtle flavor, the mixtures involves continuous stirring to sustain the tofu’s clean regularity. In its silken variety, Rangoon Bistro’s tofu is poured more than Umi Organic and natural rice noodles, acting as a gravy. The organization contemporary tofu has a starring purpose in its own salad, or you can buy it crispy, with tamarind chutney and vegan ranch for dipping.

Lahpet (pickled tea leaves), seen here mixed into a thoke (salad), is a Burmese national delicacy and traditionally served as a gesture of hospitality.

Lahpet (pickled tea leaves), found listed here combined into a thoke (salad), is a Burmese countrywide delicacy and usually served as a gesture of hospitality. Janey Wong

Another salad, the lahpet thoke, is Sai and Saw’s satisfaction and joy. It is made up of crispy nuts and seeds, tomato, garlic oil, and cabbage, but the essential ingredient is lahpet: pickled eco-friendly tea leaves. The dish has a tangy and earthy flavor, but it is an unconventional taste for quite a few palates.

Lahpet is rather distinctive to Burmese culture, as Myanmar is 1 of a few countries that eat tea in addition to drinking it. The bistro’s variation sources environmentally friendly tea from Minto Island Tea Company down in Salem, then provides fish sauce, ginger, garlic, and dried shrimp to give the leaves an rigorous umami flavor.

As Rangoon Bistro tailored to its new incarnations, Sai wonderful-tuned the procedures for these beloved Burmese specialties. But he also drives to innovate, which he says stems from his experience in distinct bars and dining places, and observing how critical it is to constantly talk to what is new. His philosophy is to preserve the flavor of an present dish although incorporating his very own methods. One of Sai’s creations is the restaurant’s sweet coconut milk consume, which brings together the ubiquitous Southeast Asian component with condensed milk and toasted salt for an completely sweet, savory, creamy, and refreshing beverage that serves as a great mood to the daring flavors of the meals. Talking of, lots of of the restaurant’s dishes are mildly to reasonably spicy, but if you are hunting to kick items up a notch or two, you can request some contemporary Thai chilis.

Even though Rangoon Bistro is now in the procedure of acquiring a liquor license, Sai—true to form—already has a sticky rice martini waiting around in the wings.

Rangoon Bistro, 2311 SE 50th, (503) 953-5385,