Owensboro High School graduate Hser Wah is preparing to open the first Burmese restaurant in Owensboro this Friday.
Owensboro Karen (pronounced Kah-REN) Restaurant, located at 7040 KY 56, has been a year in the making. Wah, who is 25 years old, said it is a family restaurant that couldn’t have opened without the help and support of friends, family and the Burmese community.
While the Burmese population has grown in Owensboro, Wah said there wasn’t a Burmese restaurant so she decided to open one herself.
“The reason why we opened the restaurant is that we want people to try our food,” Wah said. “We’re going to cook Asian food such as Burmese food and Thai food because we come from two different countries.”
Wah said the menu includes wheat noodles in a curried chicken and coconut milk broth thickened with gram flour — which is one of the most popular Burmese dishes — as well as a Thai version of Pho, spring rolls and egg rolls.
Another unique menu item is bubble tea, which is an iced, tea-based drink that’s combined with milk or fruit flavoring and then poured over dark pearls called boba.
Wah, who’s originally from Karen State — a state of Myanmar — moved to a refugee camp in Thailand where she lived for 10 years before moving to Owensboro in 2010. She graduated from OHS in 2014.
“The Karen people here, they told me to open the restaurant,” she said. “They all support me.”