By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Jul 10, 2024 at 2:26 PM

Another delicious concept is brewing on the ground floor of the KinetiK Apartments at 2140 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. and it promises an experience unlike any other in the city.

Ni Burmese is the name of the restaurant, which could open as soon as mid-to-late September, offering a menu of dishes that honor Myanmar's culinary heritage, its rich history and its culture.

The full-service eatery will be operated by NyoNyo Lin and her mother Ni Ni, who will draw from recipes passed down through the generations and served at their family’s restaurants in Burma.

The restaurant itself will reflect modern design elements, says Lin, with a neutral color palette. But it will be augmented with traditional Burmese art and decor.

As for its menu, it will capture the unique blend of sour, spicy, bitter and sweet flavors that reflect both the ethnic and geographic diversity of Myanmar.

Family recipes

“The menu will showcase traditional foods from my mother’s upbringing in Myanmar,” says Lin, “She has been cooking with my grandmother since she was 15 years old, so the menu will be made up of our family recipes.”

That means a slew of offerings that – unless you’ve traveled to Myanmar or are lucky enough to have a Burmese friend – you’ve likely never experienced.

Dishes will include staples like Mohinga, a popular Burmese rice noodle soup featuring fresh fish, lemongrass, ginger and banana stems, which can be customized with chilies, lemon, fish sauce and other condiments; Coconut Chicken Soup with onions and crispy noodles; and Khay Oh, a bean vermicelli soup with guests’ choice of chicken or pork.

Fried snacks will include samosas, Burmese tempura and fried pork rolls filled with cabbage, onion and Chinese five spice.

Other Burmese classics include Laphet Toke, fermented tea leaf salad flavored with crispy fried beans, dried prawns, cabbage and tomato; a Burmese take on Southeast Asian papaya salad; and a wide range of Burmese curries featuring proteins like chicken, beef, mutton, prawns and fish.

In addition to Burmese dishes, Lin says the menu will include one or two Thai dishes. 

“My mother lived in Thailand before she moved to the U.S. and she worked in a variety of Thai restaurants,” she says. “So we will have a couple of Thai dishes on the menu including Thai Boat Noodles, which are something I haven’t really seen around Milwaukee.”

Guests can also look forward to popular Burmese desserts like Shwe Yin Aye, a textural feast of sweet sticky rice, pandan jelly noodles, sago pearls and coconut milk; along with Burmese drinks (many tea-based), a selection of wines and some Asian beers.

“We’ve been looking for the right location to open a restaurant for about two years,” says Lin. “And we are very excited to introduce Burmese food and culture to Milwaukee.”

Once open, Ni Burmese will offer both lunch and dinner service Tuesday through Sunday (closed on Mondays).

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.