I prepared for a recent weekend in the wilds of suburban northern Virginia by consulting with D.C Chowhound Jim Zurer (father of LTH’s Seth) and reading the Washington D.C. & Baltimore Area Chowhound board. I got some excellent tips, among them Myanmar, a Falls Church Burmese restaurant that’s the object of cultlike affection in those environs, the way, say, Spoon Thai is here. Was it worth the three-and-a-half-hour round-trip crawl through holiday weekend Beltway gridlock? Hell yes, and I’d do it again.

The tiny strip-mall storefront, with eerie bug-whacker blue lighting, was crowded at lunchtime. Burmese and non-Burmese alike quietly awaited their orders while a Burmese cover of “Rock You like a Hurricane” played auspiciously in the background. First up, pickled green-tea-leaf salad, a mishmash of shredded cabbage and toasted legumes tossed in an ever-so-slightly bitter green-tea dressing. Next was pumpkin curry, big sweet chunks of acorn squash in a vivid orange sauce. Then gram fritter salad—chunks of fried chickpea meal, not unlike falafel, in a soupy white gravy with cabbage, potato, and tomato—followed by an impossibly bright and tender goat curry with meat on the bone and, finally, sour-mustard tofu, a soupy dish of pickled mustard leaf and tofu, easily the spiciest dish on the table (click the “images” link below for pics of all).

Burmese food is typically described as a sovereign expression of Chinese, Thai, and Indian influences, and that was easy enough to see. Everything was delicious, though nothing, except perhaps the sour mustard tofu, was particularly aggressive. What’s harder to figure out is why we don’t have a Burmese restaurant in Chicago.

Anyone headed east: Myanmar Restaurant’s at 7810-C Lee Highway, Falls Church, VA, 703-289-0013.