My first interaction with this Burmese hot-pot dish was at friend's place for a potluck lunch around 8 years back. The fact that i gobbled bowl after bowl of this curry and rice combination didn't go down well with my girlfriend cause of the fact that i was relishing a dish that her friend had bought to the lunch ! Guys, Never ever do that ! There are some serious repercussion (no pun but it's your buns that are going to get the spanking). I could not stop myself from digging into spoonful of that rich creamy golden curry with rice and a garnish of barista (caramelized onions). Many years later i was reunited with that dish in 2012, Chef Nikhil Chib who opened Busaba in the 2000's now opened a full blown outlet 'Busago' that was dedicated to just Burmese cuisine. It had to battle the trends of Pastas & Dim Sums and it did quite graciously that they now have 3 outlets in the city.
Talking about meal in a bowl, i can compare it to another wholesome affair - Khichda. This rather dense paste is made from lentils, pulses & lamb and garnished with barista, chopped coriander and mint leaves. Both are equally filling and sustaining plus the garnish / accompaniments work exactly the same way and cut through the rich texture and bring a zest into your bite.
Busago's version spelled 'Kaukswe' is the closest you can get to the original Burmese flavours. Mildly spiced coconut curry with Chicken / Veggies has to be combined with Rice Noodles and an array of accompaniments. As you can see in the picture below, I've combined my portion of noodles with curry and made a heap by adding caramelized garlic & onions, loads of chopped celery, chopped spring onions, slices of boiled eggs, chilli flakes and coarsely crushed peanuts. The base curry itself is so creamy and mellow on the palate that one can enjoy it as a rich creamy soup. It boost of flavours from cumin, turmeric, poppy seeds and more. As you take a spoonful of it, You'll start to experience the different textures and layers of the accompaniments trying to make it's way through the cream curry base. Especially the caramelized garlic that leaves a sticky sensation between the teeth and the celery which shines as the freshest and greenest element. Usually i do not prefer adding any crunchy elements as a garnish in any curry or rice, especially nuts. But every time i'm here i make an exception by garnishing my kaukswe bowl with a teaspoon of the crushed peanuts.
While you're here do try their signature Bahn Mi sandwiches (especially the Strong man's) and their curries with either Jasmine or Sticky Rice.
Outlet Locations :
- 11, Gasper Enclave, Opp Golds Gym, Pali Hill, Bandra.
- FIFC Building, Ground Floor, BKC
- Opp. Blue Frog, Mathuradas Mills Compound, Lower Parel.