Burmese food, from the country of Myanmar, is a cuisine not pervasive in Dallas. While you can easily find food from many Asian countries in Dallas-Fort Worth, Burmese food is seemingly underrepresented. Myanmar is in Southeast Asia, bordered by Thailand, Laos, India, China and Bangladesh. The flavors of its food are a hybrid of its neighbors, primarily Indian, Thai and Chinese.
The number of Burmese restaurants in our area increased by 100% in late 2019 with the opening of Inlay Burmese Kitchen in a strip mall in Lewisville, off I-35.
The only other Burmese restaurant in the area is Dingdi Myanmar Restaurant, less than three miles from Inlay, also in Lewisville. A Burmese restaurant in East Plano, Vakok Burmese Cuisine, closed its doors in early 2018.
This family-owned restaurant is small and modestly decorated, with colorful umbrellas hanging from the ceiling, paintings of bright landscapes and potted plants adorning the walls.
We arrived for an early dinner at 5 p.m. on a Saturday, and by the time we left an hour later, the restaurant was nearly full.
Service was pleasant and staff provided recommendations when we asked for them.
Inlay’s menu is extensive, with sections of appetizers, soups, salads, vegetables, chicken, beef, lamb, pork and noodles.
Burmese food is well known for its salads, including lephet, or tea leaf salad. Inlay’s version is shredded cabbage, tomato, jalapeño, beans, peanuts, yellow split peas, garlic chips, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds, seasoned with garlic, fish sauce, red chili and lime ($9.99).
This is a dish unlike anything we’ve eaten. It’s an incredible combination of deep, rich flavors punctuated by textural complexity (chew carefully!) and fresh bites from raw vegetables.
Other salads on the menu include rainbow salad with tamarind vinaigrette ($10.99), papaya salad ($9), mango salad ($9), ginger salad ($9.99) and pennywort salad ($10), which includes pennywort — a leafy green whose flavor is a cross between chard and grass — dried shrimp, red onion, bean flour, sesame seeds, cherry tomatoes and a garlic-lime dressing.
We also tried the wok-tossed pork belly with pickled mustard greens ($12) and Burmese lamb curry ($16), a comforting, slightly spicy stew with chunks of lamb and potatoes.
Inlay also offers moe hin ga, or mohinga, considered to be a national dish of Myanmar, often eaten at breakfast ($8). It’s a rice noodle and fish soup flavored with garlic, ginger, lemongrass, coriander and turmeric.
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There are six noodle dishes on the menu, including rangoon pan-fried noodles ($9.99), garlic noodles ($10.99) and nan gyi thoke ($9.99), made with thick, round rice noodles in a coconut chicken sauce.
Oh noh kauswe ($8), in the soup section, is touted as one of the most popular soups in Myanmar, found throughout the country. It consists of wheat noodles in a curried chicken-coconut milk broth, flavored with turmeric, paprika and coriander and garnished with boiled egg, red onion, chili and lime.
With only one other restaurant dedicated solely to Burmese food in Dallas-Fort Worth, Inlay helps to open up Dallasites to this flavorful and complex cuisine.
Inlay Burmese Kitchen, 500 E. Round Grove Road, Suite 315, Lewisville. 214-513-9695. Open 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday; closed Sunday.