H Street NE Burmese restaurant Thamee will complete a costume change on Halloween by operating as a breakfast shop inspired by cuisine from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China. “Part of the world eats tortillas and toast, but there’s a big part of the world that eats rice for breakfast,” says Chef Jocelyn Law-Yone. “We’re doing rice rolls. They’re all going to be wrapped in omelet blankets that are slow-cooked in garlic-infused oil and sprinkled with scallions and black sesame seeds.”
Law-Yone has a Chinese grandfather, but called in her business partner Eric Wang, who is Taiwanese American, and her general manager, Jordan Lee, who is from Hong Kong, to bring the pop-up to fruition. Some of the most intriguing food during the pandemic has emerged from executive chefs passing the proverbial torch to their employees. “We’re like everyone else in the city, trying new things and trying to bring back food memories of some sort,” Law-Yone says.
Thamee is calling the rice rolls Toli Rolis, as a nod to the Toli Moli Burmese stall Wang, Law-Yone, and third Thamee partner, Simone Jacobson, once operated in Union Market. They come in three varieties ($7 each) that all start with sweet rice cooked in broth flavored with aromatic ginger, lemongrass, and lime leaves.
One features shiitake and other mushrooms combined with pickled mustard greens. Another is sprinkled with balachaung—a Burmese condiment made from fried shallots, fried garlic, dried shrimp, and chilies. The third is filled with pork sung. Think of it as sweet pork jerky that gets pounded flat and shredded.
Also try a curry puff inspired by a pastry shop Law-Yone visited growing up. “They made this chicken curry with assorted vegetables and lentils that are cooked in these different oils infused with indian spices,” she says. They’re making the puff pastry using ghee. Customers can choose to get a rice roll, curry puff, and Chinese sausage breakfast set for $19.
Drinks include coffee, milk tea, soy milk, and what Law-Yone calls “Cuppa-JoJo.” It’s a mixture of milk tea and coffee for those in search of maximal caffeination. If the pop-up is well received, Law-Yone says they could repeat it other weekends. “Opportunities are limitless,” she says. “We have so many ideas in our heads of what can be in these rice rolls.”
Orders can be placed online for pick-up or in-person consumption and delivery is available through Skip The Line. The pop-up runs from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. this Saturday.
Thamee, 1320 H St. NE; (202) 750-6529; thamee.com