Finding halal highlights of Burmese and Malaysian cooking in Inglewood for the L.A. Times:
PHOTO by ANNE CUSACK / L.A. TIMES
The Koranic art at Mutiara Food & Market is rattling against the wall, its filigreed details shaken by the groans of a jet passing overhead. When the plane travels out of sight, Mutiara fills with a consuming quiet. The Inglewood restaurant and market is a subdued place, but its unassuming setting belies its rich and varied Burmese and Malaysian cooking.
Mutiara concentrates mostly on the halal highlights of Islamic Burmese cuisine, a hearty cast of curries and kebabs more closely resembling those of India and Pakistan than Myanmar. They’re the dishes of owner Myo Aung’s personal history. His recipes re-create his Myanmar, paeans to the Islamic traditions of both his family and home. (Outside the kitchen, Aung performs a similar service as an imam, leading prayers and instructing the teachings of the Koran.)
Mutiara isn’t his first restaurant venture. Aung used to own Jasmine Market in Culver City but sold it about two years ago and opened Mutiara. Similarities to the former restaurant remain, but Mutiara has a deeper, more complex menu.
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