Alas, I’ve on embarked on my Canberra food journey…
The first place I stumbled upon was the Burmese Curry Place, which was fortunate because I was craving something cheap, Asian, and of course, delicious.
I moved to town a few days ago and haven’t found a source of cash flow yet, so it’s a time to be stingy. My objective is to dine-out cheaply until I get back on my feet, which hopefully will be soon because I’ve seen some tempting pricier venues. I really shouldn’t be eating out at all, opting instead for canned food, bread and butter, but old habits die hard.
The Burmese Curry Place has a stark and spartan set-up—I would have missed it, but the colorful, straightforward restaurant sign pointed me in the right direction. The dining area is void of décor and atmosphere, but it doesn’t matter because no one eats here to look around or feel comfortable–it’s all about the food. I was so engrossed with my meal that I forgot where I was. Seriously, I didn’t look up from my plate once until I had scarfed down my meal, in time to notice I had dribbled some rice onto my shirt during the eating frenzy.
Before entering the restaurant, I’d recommend studying the menu and deciding exactly what you want before approaching the counter (Tip: tell the cashier the numbers you want, as in, “I’ll have 2 and 7.” I ordered the actual food and this threw the woman off..oops) . This jam-packed place isn’t for the indecisive–during lunch time there’s a queue, but it moves quickly, so be prepared–you’re entering a get-in-and-get-out environment. The food is served cafeteria-style–it’s already been prepared, but don’t be put off by this–the turnover ensures that you’re meal will be fresh and piping hot. You can choose two of the nine items over white rice, and I know the menu seems limited, but it’s still a hard choice. I don’t know what I would have done had there been more options.
During my first visit (yeah, I came back the next day), I went for the fish curry and beef with potatoes. I’m used to the spicy, coconut-milk based curries of Thailand, so I found the taste to be underwhelming at first, but I added some chilli in fish oil as well as brown chilli flakes, and this complimented the meal well. The fish was white and moist; the beef tender and savory. Sometimes I order chicken or beef at cheap Asian restaurants and honestly can’t identify it, half-suspecting that I’m eating someone’s family pet. Here, quality ingredients are used despite feeding you for a low price ($8 dine-in, $7 take-away). The portion is generous–enough to leave you full but not in a disgusting, roll-me-outta-here way.
When I came back the next day, I went with the sweet pork and chicken with potatoes. Whatever flavor my first meal lacked, the sweet pork definitely compensated for. The chicken and potatoes were nice ( a lot like the beef and potatoes, really) but the sweet pork stole the show. The pork was juicy with just a bit of spice to accentuate its sweetness. I want to try all the menu items, but it’s going to be hard steering away from the pork every visit. Had I known…
The Burmese Curry Place has charm in its simplicity and efficiency, and manages to offer something to most palates, so if you’re passing through City Walk, don’t be put off by what’s on the surface. You’ll thank yourself (or me, perhaps) later.