QUESTION: Enough of the blood sausage, carnitas, kid and tripe. This is summer, after all, and I’m in the mood for something light and a little profound. I’m looking specifically for a restaurant that serves jin thoke, that beautifully surprising ginger salad from Burma (Myanmar). That’s a real chopped salad.
—Nedra, Los Angeles
ANSWER: I too love Burmese ginger salad, pungent shreds of the rhizome tossed with toasted garlic, peanuts and fried yellow peas, among other things, because the seven or eight different kinds of crunchiness fit together like beams of light in an Ingres portrait, and because it reminds me of the world’s most exotic cocktail snack. Also, it’s pretty delightful with a cold glass of beer on a hot summer day.
Yoma, a tiny Burmese dive in Monterey Park, has a jin thoke that is less notable for its complexity than it is for breathtaking levels of garlic and a textural bounciness not unlike the bowls of wasabi snacks you find at the better sort of karaoke bars. (Yoma’s fermented-tea salad, another Burmese specialty, is funky as an old batch of collard greens, as Snoop Dogg might say, as strong as Limburger and almost as smelly, if oddly compelling.) But my favorite Burmese ginger salad is probably still the clean, elegant version at Golden Triangle in Uptown Whittier, which is almost subtle in comparison, as strange-yet-familiar as an episode of déjà vu. Yoma, 713 E. Garvey Ave., (626) 280-8655; Golden Triangle, 7011 Greenleaf Ave., Whittier, (562) 945-6778.