Kyay-Oh is a steaming noodle soup containing ground pork, tofu, quail egg, pork offal, fish cake, and mustard greens in a pork bone broth. It is one of the many unique dishes that can be found at NADI Myanmar Cafe.
Located on the corner of North 4th Street and West Main Street, NADI is one of the only authentic Burmese restaurants readily available to Alhambra residents. Only five months old, NADI, which replaces the former Indo Kitchen, grew out of owner Si Thu’s longtime dream of opening a Burmese restaurant.
“I’ve lived here for twenty years and have never really seen a Burmese restaurant,” he explains. “I always thought about opening a restaurant to give people more of an opportunity to taste Burmese cuisine. I thought why can’t I take a risk?”
In search of new experiences, Thu moved to the United States from Burma in 1997. Prior to opening NADI, Thu worked as an assistant supervisor at Chase Bank in El Segundo for 14 years. When the bank he worked at closed and relocated to Glendale, Thu and his family moved from the South Bay to Alhambra.
Thu’s love of cooking, which began at an early age, along with the lack of Burmese restaurants in Los Angeles, influenced him to open NADI. He and his wife spend most of their time in the kitchen making classic Burmese dishes using recipes passed down from Thu and his wife’s mothers.
Known for its tea leaf salad and beef and chicken curries, Burmese food is very similar to Indian, Thai and Malaysian food. However, the Burmese use a more mellow masala spice and add cilantro for a finishing touch instead of mint leaves.
In addition to its daily menu, NADI offers different specials every day from Wednesday to Sunday. For example, on Fridays, customers can try Shan noodles, which is a hot noodle dish from Burma’s northern Shan state. Some of the weekend specials include chicken biryani and noodle salad.
NADI currently attracts a wide range of people, including the Burmese, the Chinese, Indonesians, Malaysians and Americans. A nearby county building actually has 40 Burmese employees who enjoy dining at NADI. However, Thu’s goal is not only to expand to a neighboring space, but also to attract more customers who have never tried Burmese food.
“I feel so happy if people try our restaurant’s dishes, especially the specials, that they’ve never had before,” says Thu.