Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Jasmine Market: Third Time’s a Charm


Yes, another trip to Manhattan. The flight is booked, the hotel is reserved. I’m already planning my long morning walks through Central Park and dodging traffic to grab a plate of eggs and lox. And while I’m at it, I’m also devising my plan to net me a New York Jew. Yes, the Jewish men of NYC better watch out come March 24th.

So, that was the positive news – the N
Y-going. But there’s a downside…I’m horribly poor as a result of that (AND Phantom of the Opera, AND all my eating out, AND the shopping, AND…) Though I’ve made a resolution to stay in for dinner and eat canned tuna, I couldn’t possibly have passed up a chance to eat with Theresa. Still, economizing was the key word and, with that in mind, I suggested a visit to Jasmine Market in Culver City.

Jasmine Market and I go way back. Brian and I heard about this place served Burmese food and, after falling in love with the Burmese tea leaf salad back in San Fran, B insisted that we had to check this place out. Of all the days we decided to go, we went on the only day of the week that they were closed (Monday). The second time, we went on a non-Monday weekday, only to realize that the Burmese menu
was offered only during the weekend. Well, we threw in the towel and took a forty minute drive out to Whittier instead to eat at Golden Triangle (review to come later).

So I have eaten at Jasmine Market before – albeit from their Indian menu. And it was good. Very good. But what’s better than very good food? Very good CHEAP food. I had the aloo puri for only $2.99 and that was enough to keep me full for the rest of the

Having said that though, I was still itching to try the Burmese menu.
The Burmese menu is still fairly limited (five items as opposed to Golden Triangle’s sixty-three page menu) so I ended up getting the same thing I had at GT – the Moh Hin Nga/Catfish Chowder with Noodles ($3.49). On top of that, I ordered a side of naan ($0.99) and a can of coconut juice ($2.25). I LOVE all the complex flavors in Moh Hin Nga (English spellings vary) and the Jasmine Market version – which was about four dollars cheaper – was in no way inferior to the one at Golden Triangle. My favorite part is the fried split beans :) I could them like chips out of a bag. I also love all the bread from Jasmine Market. Yes, be warned, it’s greasier than most other places – the naan comes to the tables with a glistening film of grease…it sounds disgusting but that becomes a moot point given the soft, fluffy goodness of the bread. It was amazing paired with the catfish chowder but I really didn’t need to order it – the rice noodles in the chowder was more than enough carbs and I was full before I had finished half my order of naan. But, I always hate to waste good food (that’s a euphemism for “I’m a bottomless pit”) so I finished everything. I took a bite of rice from Theresa’s Chicken Biryani ($5.99) and fell in love. Too bad they only serve their biryanis with meat…I guess I could order a biryani dish and leave the meat. Yes, it was that good.

(Moh Hin Nga: Catfish, Banana Root, Fried Split Bean, Rice Noodle, Cilantro, Egg, Oh My!)

In terms of the restaurant itself, it’s a completely no-frills, B-grade place (yes, they serve their food in polyester dishes. Not very eco-friendly at all). It’s half ethnic market half eatery. That should already give you a picture of what kind of place it is. It just so happens that I like those kinds of places. On top of that, the owner is super friendly – he puts a giant smile on my face :D If you're looking for BURMESE food, hop on the 605 and go to Golden Triangle instead. But if you want simple ethnic Asian fare that costs less than a Starbucks coffee, there's a place in Culver City that requires your patronage!

FOOD: 4/5

ATMOSPHERE: 1.5/5 (objective) 4/5 (personal)

4135 1/2 Sepulveda Blvd

Culver City, CA 90230
(310) 313-3767

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