I lived in San Francisco for three years before moving to New York. I am back in the Bay Area this summer interning for a legal non-profit in Oakland. Being back, I have been reminded of how great the Asian food is here. Don’t get me wrong. New York has some great food, but there are things that San Francisco does better.
One of those things is Burmese food. My introduction with Burmese food was at a restaurant called Burma Superstar on Clement St. in the Inner Richmond district of San Francisco. Burma Superstar is a reason for downtown dwellers to venture out “to the Avenues” for an evening meal. As a result, you may have to wait over an hour to be seated. I don’t know about you, but if I can get something just as good (maybe even better in some ways), I’ll go for the place without a wait.
Enter Pagan. Pagan opened a few years ago on the corner of 33rd Avenue and Clement Street in the Outer Richmond. It’s the last in a short series of restaurants and boutiques near the entrance to the Legion of Honor before Clement becomes entirely residential. They have both a Burmese menu and a Thai menu. Story has it that the owners, Burmese, stopped off in Thailand before making their way to the United States. I’ve gone only for the Burmese. When they first opened, the restaurant struggled with service, which prompted me to stay away for a while after a handful of visits. I recently went back because my sister insisted on having Burmese while visiting, and neither of us wanted to wait at Burma Superstar.