Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Food & Drinks
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Published on February 28, 2024
San Francisco's Mandalay Honored with Prestigious James Beard America’s Classics AwardSource: Google Street View

The famous James Beard Foundation has honored an esteemed local Burmese restaurant, Mandalay, with the America’s Classics Award – a tribute to timeless, community-defining eateries. Situated in the Richmond District, Mandalay stands out not only for its authentic cuisine but also for being the city's oldest Burmese restaurant, still serving customers since 1984, according to an Eater SF report.

Cementing itself in the culinary fabric of the area, Mandalay has been commended for its "high-caliber" Burmese dishes, notably the traditional tea leaf salad that remains a popular choice among patrons. As the James Beard Foundation underscored, the dish's loyalty to traditional methods sets it apart from the city's other inventive interpretations. Additionally, the sour samusa soup earns its place as a must-try with its unique blend of flavors. Joining Mandalay in this year's recognition are restaurants across the United States. However, the Richmond District gem shines with its time-proven commitment to quality and cultural representation.

Kevin Chen, the current owner of Mandalay, revealed in an interview with the James Beard Foundation that the legacy began with his family's ambition to introduce Burmese food to an American audience. This cuisine had been scarcely represented in the States. Drawing on the diverse influences from neighboring India, China, and Thailand, Mandalay offers a range of flavors that have captivated the local community and now received national acknowledgment.

Other distinguished dishes at Mandalay include the Mandalay special noodle, a concoction served in coconut broth with onion, and a variety of textures from chicken to fried thin noodles. Mandalay and the other America’s Classics Award winners will be celebrated on June 10 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, marking the recognition of over 100 restaurants since the award’s inception in 1998. Despite the competitive culinary landscape of San Francisco, it's clear that timeless flavors and a dedication to authenticity prevail in Mandalay's esteemed Burmese offerings.