The tagline for Burma Bear — “Burmese and BBQ, together at last…” — makes it sound like it fills an obvious niche the way Reese’s Pieces did for chocolate and peanut butter. Having eaten there, I’m now inclined to think it does. The once-obscure cuisine is certainly having its moment, too, what with the long-awaited Burma Love’s debut in the Mission.
[jump] While Burma Bear is a comparatively tiny stall in the Haight’s Second Act Marketplace, it’s almost certainly a waystation on the road to bigger things for Hubert Lim’s former pop-up. The menu is slim but varied, running from tea leaf salads (with optional kale) to rice plates (with baby back ribs, chicken curry, pulled pork, salmon or portobello). And though Burma Bear is open as late as 9 p.m. on weekdays, it’s pretty much geared toward lunch. Word to the wise: You can also order online via Square and have your food within 15 minutes, or get tea leaf salad kits through Good Eggs.
This being a California-style BBQ mashup, I went with the ribs. Smoky, sweet and a little hot, they were nicely charred and perfectly tender and led me to wonder why rice isn’t more of a staple on stateside BBQ plates. Burmese BBQ suddenly felt so obvious to me. Among famous Burmese citizens, Aung San Suu Kyi tends to rack up the lion’s share of the awards; maybe someday, Hubert Lim might get some, too.
Burma Bear, inside Second Act Marketplace, 1727 Haight, 463-5592.