In a world awash with signals telling you to buy meat, Jack Porcari takes the easier path for the planet, sticking to vegetables, cheese and eggs. He details his finds for readers in Kind Cuisine, posted every Thursday.
From Riverside Park, Lin Restaurant is a Burmese eatery. A look inside reveals much more: real photographs from the Nopo refugee camp, an inspiring story and ambience that transports you as many miles as the food will. Owner Khin Muang Soe explained in an interview that he senses a calling to cook authentic cuisine for the 8,000+ members of the Burmese refugee community in Buffalo. A refugee himself, Soe started his cooking career in 1989 when he left Burma and learned how to cook at a restaurant in Thailand. From there, he came to America where he briefly lived in Brooklyn and then settled in Buffalo in 2008. The Burmese dishes on the menu go back to his everyday life in Burma.
The samosas ($5) came out firm and hot. Steam erupted out with each bite into the
crisp, potato ravioli. I found it difficult to stop myself from grabbing more as the seasoned filling had the perfect amount of curry spices. I also liked how the onions create a savory, yet addicting contrast with the sweet dipping sauce.
The shan tofu ($6) is made using Burmese tofu: a process that does not involve soymilk. Instead, yellow tofu is made from a mix of water, turmeric, yellow split peas and besan flour, a Burmese chickpea flour. It arrived golden in perfect snackable slivers. Order this if you want to share a side with a friend or to try the chef’s special peanut sauce — it will not disappoint.
Nobody wants a floppy salad. Lin Restaurant heard this message loud and clear with
these two salads. The ginger salad ($9) has a piquant peppery kick that compliments the crispy peas and fried garlic with a sweet aftertaste. The tea leaf salad ($9) was slightly less crunchy, and the tomato slices gave it a rawer taste. Side by side, I enjoyed the ginger salad more because the pungent flavors grabbed my attention and offered a crackling sensation rarely seen in western salads.
In addition to the restaurant, Khin Muang Soe also owns an Asian market conveniently located right next door. Fresh greens fill an aisle of fridges along with a whole produce section in the back of the store. Whether you are stopping by for a whole meal or just to pick up some ingredients for a salad, the Lin experience is as authentic as it gets.
Hours: 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Address: 927 Tonawanda Street, Buffalo, NY 14207
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
Orders: Dine-in, takeout and delivery
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Jack Porcari is a senior news/features editor at The Spectrum. He is a political science major with a minor in journalism. Aside from writing and editing, he enjoys playing piano, flow arts, reptiles and activism.