Burmese food isn't commonly found in the U.S., so Mandalay is truly a hidden gem for flavors of the southeast Asian region. Best described as a unique mix of Thai, Indian, and Chinese food, the spices and variations on Asian cuisine are heavenly.
A humble location just off the mainstream restaurant streets in downtown Silver Spring, the independently-owned restaurant attracts a large crowd - especially on weekends.
If you're unfamiliar with the Burmese menu, the descriptions of each dish are simple and vague. You'll see a chicken in brown sauce or a salad with cabbage and tomato. But don't be fooled into thinking anything is dull and basic around here. The brown sauce is a unique, flavorful curry that comes in mild, medium, or spicy. They medium is often more than spicy unless you're really the type for fiery foods.
Salads are also much more than they seem. A cabbage and tomato salad? Sounds like it's lacking some pizzazz, but it's actuallly the most flavorful salad known to man (perhaps a biased opinion, but it's a must try regardless!). All salads come with the option for fish oil - you should say yes to this, unless you have dietary or vegetarian reasons not to.
Just be careful about the timing of your arrival. The restaurant is closed from 2:30pm-5pm, and closed for lunch on Saturdays. If you come at 2:15pm, you're still likely to be turned away.