Last week, Urban Burma became the first Burmese restaurant to open in the metro area, and the fourth food counter inside the Mango House space. Owner Siri Tan says he has lived in Aurora for the past five years and worked for Project Worthmore (which helps refugees build community and become self-sufficient) before launching his own eatery.
Urban Burma serves three noodle bowls and three curries (beef, chicken and vegetable), plus samosas, fried rice, coffee, tea and fruit shakes. While some of the flavors will be familiar to fans of Thai cuisine, Tan's Burmese specialties come with ingredients you won't find anywhere else. The nan gyi dok bowl, for example, is a nest of thick rice noodles topped with chicken curry, a hard-boiled egg, crunchy rice puffs, fried garlic and toasted chickpea flour. A side of broth comes with the noodles; Tan says its best to mix everything together and taste it before pouring in the broth to your liking. A condiment cart provides fish sauce and searing-hot chili oil for extra flavor.
Along with Urban Burma, Mango House's food offerings include Ayny's Kitchen (a Somali bakery cafe), Jasmine Syrian Food and Taste of Sudan. Golden Sky Sushi and Nepali Mountain Kitchen are also scheduled to open this spring.
The vendors are all recent immigrants new to the food-service business in Colorado, but a little patience will be rewarded with complex Burmese curries; wonderful kanafeh pastries from Jasmine made with soft cheese, shredded phylo and honey; and golden fritters called bajiyo and nafaqo (each containing a whole hard-boiled egg) from Ayny's.
Hours for the individual counters vary. Jasmine and Urban Burma are open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day but Sunday; Taste of Sudan is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays; and Ayny's is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.