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The Hidden Treasure of Jasmine Market

Biryani me!

I’m not totally sure how it happened, but at some point in the last year I heard about a place called Jasmine Market in Culver City. Unfortunately, life happened and it took me until recently to finally get to pay the place a visit. Jasmine Market is unique because it is both a market and a restaurant, but even more interesting than that is that they serve Burmese food. Never heard of a Burmese restaurant? Well neither had I. In general I’ve avoided things related to Burma (Myanmar) for fear that anything I did would seem like I support the military junta there. But you don’t find a Burmese restaurant too often, so I knew I had to try it out.

The place was tiny and nondescript, but every table in there was being used. It looked quaint and awesome. I grabbed a menu at the counter and took a look. As anyone familiar with geography knows, Myanmar sits between India and Thailand, and this is totally reflected in their food. They had some great lunch specials and I decided to get their Chicken Biryani. This dish was veggie-free and was only 4 bucks! I took a seat to wait for my food and hoped that this would be well-spent.

It was. The plate was a pile of beautiful rice, which hid chunks of chicken. I slowly uncovered this chicken, which had bones, but the chicken came right off the bones and was delicious. As I had hoped, this really did taste like a mix of Thai and Indian seasonings. The rice alone was some of the best I’ve ever had, and every once in a while I would come across something fun in the rice like a grape. Almost as impressive as the taste was how quickly this meal filled me up. I only made it halfway through the rice when I threw my fork down and gave up.

This was a great stop for me and it’s actually surprising that there aren’t more Burmese restaurants. With all the Thai and Indian places around, I would think restaurants like Jasmine Market would spring up everywhere. Nonetheless, this was a little gem that I’m sure even Aung San Suu Kyi would have appreciated.