Sep 1, 2022 - Food and Drink

MinGaLaBar Kitchen: Des Moines' newest Burmese restaurant


Bottom left: Wat tha doke htoe, a pork offal appetizer ($13.99), top: zakaw htamin, a plate with crispy fried beef, pork belly slices, eggplant with dried shrimp, mixed veggie salad, shrimp paste, rice and soup ($14.95); Bottom right: Laphat thoke, tea leaf salad ($11.99). Photo: Linh Ta/Axios

MinGaLaBar Burmese Kitchen is the newest restaurant to open in Urbandale.

  • It serves traditional Burmese dishes, including noodle soups, rice entrees and salads.

Why it matters: People from Myanmar have become one of the largest refugee groups to settle in Iowa — nearly 10,000 since 2008.

  • The restaurant is a way families can get a taste of home and for people from Des Moines to try some new culinary dishes.

What's on the menu: Kyah oh, a noodle soup with quail egg and pork rib ($14.95); Khauk swe jaw, a fried noodle entree with soy sauce and choice of meat and htamin jaw, a traditional Burmese fried rice topped with an egg.

  • Plus: There's lots of beverages like bubble tea and coffee.

What I tried: Laphat thoke, which is a fermented tea leaf salad with a Burmese crunch mix consisting of peanuts, yellow split peas, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and garlic chips.

  • Put your American perception about salads to the side. The main flavors and textures come from the nuts, peas and seeds in the entrée, along with a garlicky sauce.
  • It's a light, crunchy delight like nothing I've had before.

Where to find it: 11am to 3pm and 5pm-9pm Mon-Thurs; 11am to 9pm Fri-Sat; 3-8pm, Sun; 8134 Douglas Ave, Urbandale.

tea leaf salad
Laphat thoke, a tea leaf salad from MinGaLaBar Burmese Kitchen. Photo: Linh Ta/Axios

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