One of the most popular vendors at various Burmese festivals in the city has recently set up a roaming booth to attack the city's unwieldy street festival scene. These eyesores are full of bad arepas, Italian sausage, and plenty of music turned up too loud.
For this reason, it seemed that many curious folks were directing their glances, and wallets towards Burmese Bites in the short time I was around. It was definitely a little unicorn at the Broadway festival I found it at one summer Saturday. I am happy to see the main proprietor expanding his business and passion to more than just the Burmese community and the small amount of others that trickle through those events in Queens.
The most popular item is the tornado potato and is only $1. Basically it is homemade potato chips cut as a spiral on a stick, a fun way to present and eat such a treat. The booth also sells cheap snacks like spring rolls ($1) and vegetable fritters ($3), so two people can easily get one of each item and sample the range of offerings.
The cities of Myanmar have such a heavy Indian influence from the past when British colonialism did not really separate it from India, and many migrants came here in search of better opportunities. Naturally some cooking methods were adapted, and the main course cooked here is just that, and dish so common on the streets of Yangon and further afield. Available for vegetarians, the pea paratha ($4) is served with their curry and potatoes, as well as the namesakes. The owner of the stand was always the most noticeable at the Burmese festivals because you could see him preparing the dough for the paratha by twirling it up in the air and smacking it down on the table. This process still happens and all of the bread is deliciously fresh under the helpings of curry.
I ordered the meat-lover's version, the chicken paratha ($5, above) and was very satisfied with the complex flavors I always enjoy most about Burmese cuisine. The spice levels are not as high as its neighbors to the east and west, but there is so much going on here.
Various Manhattan/Queens Street Festivals