Wham Bam Burmese at Yamo
What is it about Burmese food and long waits? Burma Superstar in the Inner Richmond is legendary for the starving throngs that gather like cicadas at the entrance, killing over an hour in the hope of obtaining a table.
Yamo isn’t nearly as popular, but it’s a fifth the size, consisting of just one long counter facing onto a small, open kitchen at which a trio of stone-faced and silent women sauté, chop and boil various food stuffs with an efficiency which belies their ponderous gaits. There isn’t any music, just the low hum of furtive conversation, the sizzle and pop of food, and the occasional impatient squawk from one of these marvels of agile rotundity. An Australian Shepherd would turn tail and flee yelping into the night with shame and inadequacy at witnessing the skill with which these women get people in and out. Questions about food, hesitation, doubt, anything not essential to getting your order taken and cooked as quickly as possible will be met by derision. It’s a good thing, though, because the wait for a foot of that sweet formica countertop would be interminable without their turn-and-burn mentality.
Most of time the wait is worth it. On the advice of a friend, I had the chicken noodle soup, which sounds pedestrian, but is thick and rich and amazingly flavorful, the chicken pieces plump and moist in a very light curry broth. I also ordered the Tea Leaf Salad, whose tactile diversity and full, picante flavor didn’t disappoint. All this for about ten bucks.
I spent a total of 25 minutes at Yamo, and most of them were well worth it, a sentiment my fellow sheep seemed to share, crouched at the counter as they were, hastily consuming their repast while occasionally arching their backs to let another patron squeeze past them on the way to their precious bit of culinary real-estate.
3406 18th Street (@ Mission)