Last month The New York Times ran a piece called
"In Indianapolis, the World Comes to Eat," detailing our vibrant international
eateries on West 38th Street and beyond, including a Burmese
restaurant in Greenwood. Lest NYT
scoop NUVO, we hightailed it south, a smooth ride on I-65, to a strip mall west
of Greenwood Park Mall.
A glance at Kimu's concise menu of curries, stir-fries, and pho
indicates that Burmese food is an amalgam of Chinese, Vietnamese and Indian
influences. Our challenge was set: to taste the most Burmese items on the menu.
The first revelation:
Burmese Sweet Hot Tea ($1.50). I can't recall drinking anything this exciting.
Its hue was a sumptuous caramel and its texture milky-thick. One sip was
pleasingly bitter, the next sweet, by turns evoking chai,
chocolate and chicory. I'll return to Kimu for this
kaleidoscopic tea alone.
An appetizer called Samusa (six pieces for $2.99) was the Burmese version of
the meat pie — thankfully found in most every culture. A mixture of
shredded chicken, potatoes and onion came in a wonton-like wrapper; we dipped
them in a runny bright orange hot sauce. Tofu Kyaw
($2.99) were simply fried tofu squares served with the same sauce.
Our young server told
us that her uncle, the owner, came to Indiana circa 2002, worked as a sushi
chef, then took the leap to open Kimu four months
ago. This info inspired us to order Tuna Nigiri (2
pieces for $3.50) and Caterpillar Sushi (about 12 pieces for $7.50). The tuna
looked artificially pink, but the caterpillar sushi pleased both eye and palate
with an artful arching arrangement and a contrast of cream cheese with crunchy
We ordered a
strategic variety of entrees on the advice of our server. My Kyeoo Soup ($8.95) was an earthy pho with a motley cast of
characters: pork tongue, imitation crab, mini meatballs, quail eggs and bright bokchoy chards reaching toward
harmony in a cloudy broth with rice noodles. It was better for lunch the next
Our friend Robert's
entrée, Combo Fried Rice ($8.95), was the most innocuous of the meal. Delicate
jasmine rice, bits (and I do mean bits) of well-scrambled eggs, pork, chicken
and beef made for comfort food without much oomph.
Husband Joe's entree
won the jackpot for Most Burmese, and best overall. Pork with Pickel Mango ($8.95) was a dazzling dish of pork shards
caramelized in a honey-soy sauce, stir-fried up with green onions and
electrifying chunks of pickled mango, served with a mound of white rice.
Another instance of complex, contrasting flavors that I began to suspect as a
trademark of Burmese cuisine.
There's no dessert,
but Kimu does serve breakfast, including Pee Puri (fried pastry stuffed with ginger, anise and pea paste,
$1.50) and EiGyaKywe (a cruller, $1.50).
We can credit Kimu's existence to the roughly 8,000 Burmese nationals who
have fled ethnic persecution and now call Indy home, with assistance from
groups such as Exodus Refugee Immigration. Welcome to Indianapolis, where the
world comes to taste the wonders of Burmese sweet tea.