Jon mentioned this little restaurant a long time ago and then it fell off our radar for years until tonight. His dad is in town and we wanted to try something new. Ma Hnin is located at South Calhoun and Pontiac in a former gas/service station. The interior isn’t fancy, but it’s comfortable and appropriate for the type of food served. We arrived a little after 7 and had the restaurant to ourselves, which allowed us to bend our server’s ear about her recommendations. The menu is fairly small, with a handful of appetizers, noodle dishes, and thai special dishes, but offers a nice variety.
We started with Samosas, a wonton filled with potatoes, onions, lentils, coriander, and spices, and they were delicious. I loved the thin and crunchy pastry shell. And talk about savory spices! So much yum packed into these little triangles. A word of advice: let them cool. Those suckers are hotter than molten lava when first served.
Jon chose Koa Pad Kra Prao, which is stir fried basil with choice of meat (he chose pork), served over rice with 2 eggs over easy. He ordered it medium spicy, which was plenty hot for his taste. Be sure to use the peanuts on the table with this dish- they temper the spices nicely and bring out the flavors of the ground pork and fresh basil.
Jon’s dad opted for a two dishes: Rice Noodle and Fried Noodle. Fried Noodle is stir fried noodles with seafood and served Burmese Style (which means SPICY!). We were floored with the amount and variety of seafood included with this dish; shrimp, oysters, and calamari to name a few. It also contained bok choy, red peppers and water chestnuts. It came with a small bowl of broth and a spicy salad. Yummy. I am ordering this the next time we go back. The Rice Noodle is one of the traditional Burmese dishes on the menu and is served in a large bowl in broth. It contains rice noodles, cabbage, fried beans and spices. I had only a bite of this dish, but I can’t wait to go back and order it for myself. It’s like a traditional Thai Soup I’ve had at other places, but with spices I couldn’t identify. A bit sweet, a little salty, but definitely tasty.
I ordered the Yum Talay, a hot and spicy seafood salad mixed with green onion, lime juice, and fish sauce. It wasn’t quite what I expected, but it was good. It’s a cold dish loaded with shrimp, squid, oysters, and mushrooms. I don’t care for mushrooms, so I picked those out, but the seafood was great. You can’t get that much seafood for the price anywhere in town. The tangy combination of lime juice and fish sauce was just perfect.
The portion sizes are HUGE, so we were all full when we left and took quite a bit home with us too, but I am really looking forward to our next trip.