Today I want to talk about Yamo, one of my very favorite restaurants in San Francisco. Yamo is a long standing Burmese joint in San Francisco's mission. It's not a secret by any means and it's always got a line. And Sometimes that wait is intolerable.
What brings me back over and over again is the small seating area, which only seats about twelve, that places you right in the kitchen. This sense of immediacy is one of the more exhilarating things really. you see and hear metal utensils smack against the wok, see flames jump as oil is added, hear indecipherable words, phrases and cackles from the older ladies who work their butts off in this tiny space. There are no frills, and the atmosphere is simply the well worn kitchen and seating area. There's nothing you don't need in this place save for the food.
So, how is the food? It's pretty good! I mostly ignore the stir fry dishes, as they just seem to be retreads of well known Chinese dishes. However, a few things are worth a try. On my most recent visit, we started with the tea leaf salad.
It's a great mix of fermented, fishy, salty, and crunchy. It's small, but so is the price.
My companion tore into the ever popular house noodles. It looked and tasted nice enough.
Just about every visit though, I get the poorly named "Chicken Noodle Soup."
If it isn't obvious from the picture, it's a bowl of coconut curry noodles, topped with shallots and cilantro. For me it's an ultimate comfort food. It never ceases to excite my taste buds and satisfy a certain craving.
Don't let me overstate here dear reader. This isn't a place to take a group, or get a fancy or even exceptionally authentic Burmese meal. It's really the charm of the experience that keeps me coming back. If you were to look up 'hole in the wall' in the dictionary there would be a picture of Yamo next to the definition. For me, Yamo is one of the closest experiences in America to eating at a noodle stall in the street or in an alley somewhere in Asia. What you get is simple, fresh, and cheap food. It always puts a smile on my face.
3406 18th St
San Francisco, CA 94110