Yangon Surprises with Foodie Finds – Bangkok Foodies Tours Myanmar
Bangkok Foodies Tours Yangon, Myanmar
When you think of Yangon or Myanmar, cuisine and gastronomy aren’t the first thing that came to mind. But unbeknownst to the rest of the foodie forward world, Yangon is plotting a quiet but definite movement.
Without getting into complicated historical references, the past has seen Myanmar (also known as Burma) and Yangon (formerly known as Rangoon) left behind from the Southeast Asia tourism boom. While Bangkok, Thailand and Bali, Indonesia were enjoying an influx of Europeans, Australians and Americans looking for sun, spice and satisfaction, Yangon’s tourism remained undermined today.
But there is much to be said about a country which has maintained its “authenticity”, and as the Myanmar borders become more receptive, Yangon’s choices, diversity and quality of cuisine blossomed. Italian pizzerias, contemporary tea houses, artisanal deli/bakery, eclectic bars and even fine dining establishments are sprouting on main streets and side alleys like wild mushrooms.
To reach Yangon is simple, Nok Air, Air Asia and Thai Airways offer direct routes. There is only one airport, which they’ve extended with a new International Terminal building beside the old one, so expect shiney counters and fast-moving cues, along with free WiFi internet on arrival.
At the airport exit, we were warmly welcomed by our English-speaking Khiri Travel tour guide who expertly handled our tour in Yangon. It may be the “new” Asia but when one has no other local contacts, and only a short week to cram a plethora of activities, we put our trust in the hands of the professionals.
It took about an hour to reach the city center and you may be surprised at how orderly the city is. Wide clean streets, well-kept local buses driving in straight lines and motorbike-free zones. Even motor vehicle plates are color coded. Red for taxis, blue for tour buses, and white is reserved for diplomats. What’s most beautiful and astounding is the “Sule Pagoda” which radiates its golden orb and the “umbrella” tip that can be seen from miles away. It acts as the city’s main roundabout and the most iconic central landmark in Yangon.
EAT & DRINK
RANGOON TEA HOUSE:
You would be mad not to visit the Rangoon Tea House. It has become ‘the’ institution for modern Burmese cuisine. Founded by a young entrepreneur, Htet Myet Oo, the two-story building is split into two completely different design settings. Downstairs is a bustling, bright and rowdy contemporary tea house, upstairs is a dimly lit, colonial-style speakeasy with low ceilings, velvet sofas and barman in suit vests. Here, we encountered our first Burmese Fermented Tea Salad.
“Lahpet Thoke”, the Myanmar’s national dish. an exotic combination of bitterness from the fermented tea, softness of cabbage and tomato, and a whole lot of texture from beans and chickpeas was absolutely explosive. Actually, all the dishes at Rangoon Tea House had their merits. The grilled aubergine salad, the vegetable is so incredibly fresh and the pop of fried onions and sesame seeds made a unique combination.
Website: Rangoon Tea House
Address: 2nd Floor, 77-79 Pansodan St (Lower Middle Block)
between Mahabandoola and Merchant Road – Yangon, Myanmar, 11182
Opening Hours: Daily from 8am – 10pm
TUK TUK THAI CAFE:
Another establishment that took us by surprise was a quaint and unassuming cafe. Tuk Tuk Thai Cafe is set in a narrow two-townhouse building on Bogalazay Street, a popular street full of funky eateries, art galleries and gift shops. Inside, visitors find a cosy and colourfully kitsch. You simply must try their version of Thai “Nam Dtock” (grilled beef neck salad), which appeared to be dry and not bathing in fish sauce as we’re accustomed to but bursting with rich flavours nonetheless.
The difference we spotted were more fresh mint, coriander and large chunks of crispy garlic which they use to dress the delectably sinewy but succulent beef. Another mouth-watering dish was the curry leaf sea bass which we found to be at fine dining standard. Cooked sous vide with salted egg yolk cream sauce, this dish had a multitude of complex dimensions. They also had the best latte we’ve tasted in Yangon which is typically an indication of the restaurant’s overall standards.
Website: Tin Tin Yangon
Address: 114 Bogalazay Street, middle block, Yangon, Myanmar (Burma)
Opening Hours: Daily from 11am – 11pm
SEEDS is one of a handful fine dining establishments in Yangon, and a new one at that. The restaurant’s concept is like the marriage between Swiss Chef Felix Eppisser and his wife Lucia. The results is a fabulous multifaceted dining space that is absolutely breathtaking. The restaurant boasts an expansive grassy yard with a wooden boardwalk that stretches out onto Inya Lake. The end of the boardwalk sits a charming gazebo and pod couches to watch the glorious sun set over the lake. The couple also constructed a single tree pod, cocooned by bamboo.
The ultimate location for a fairytale dinner proposal. Chef Felix’s dishes are not confined to one continent as he explores recipes from Spain to Japan, and all over the globe. Our favourites were the salmon and cream cheese mousse with dill and the Parma ham with butter and herbs with deliciously rich glaze and a chocolatey finish. But be aware, the prices are also opulent. Do spare a budget for this rare treat because it’s absolutely worth it. Also, don’t expect the standards of Bangkok fine dining just yet. Unique, specialty and imported produce is still hard to come by here.
Website: Seeds Yangon
Address: No.63 (A), U Htun Nyein Street, Ward (10), Mayangone Township, Yangon, Myanmar.
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, lunch 11:30am to 1:30pm (last order), dinner 6pm to 9:30pm (last order), Sunset Lounge (dry season only): 11:30am to 11pm
TAING YIN THAR:
A renowned restaurant in Yangon, given that it is the only one that represents dishes from all regions of Myanmar, from Yangon to Mon and Shan state and beyond. It’s commonly a place where visitors, expats and diplomats alike come to dine to experience the comfort while indulging in the authentic and high-quality local taste at a fair price. Don’t let all the international diners throw you off, the food is excellent and it’s the perfect foodies playground for someone with little time to reach all corners of Myanmar.
We suggest you order the silver mullet fish curry which hails from the Yangon region. The fish is wonderfully rich in gelatinous fat that compliment the sharp citrus, herbs and spices of the curry. Pair this with a plate of potatoes with mustard leaves from Shan state, the combination of carb, coriander and the bitterness from the mustard leaves is highly addictive. Lastly, we recommend you order the Pennywort salad. The dish was floral and refreshing, and to our personal delight, the soft shell crab served was the size of a lady’s fist with a punch to match.
Website: Taing Yin Thar
Address: No.(2/A), Kanbae Road, (6)Quarter, Yankin Township, Yangon, Myanmar.