Well fed in Yangon
I spent a week in Burma and saw many interesting things. But, as usual, I was probably most interested by what was on the table in front of me.
The food in Burma is a welcome melting pot of flavours and spices, a bold adventure of hot, sour and sweet mixed with poppy surprises of Indian spices, chilli powder, shallots, edible tea leaves, crisp-fried garlic, roasted peanuts and tangy lime. The result is a burst of flavour balance and uniqueness in every bite.
You don't come to Burma for fancy, 5-star cuisine or trendy decor. You're here to discover the flavours of a country that's been in darkness to the outside world for a long time. Savour the journey.
Where to eat in Yangon
The outpost of Green Elephant at 33 Thirimingalar Lane (Attia Road) in Kamayut Township is housed in a colonial mansion. Sit in the garden under a canopy and order local delectables like coconut rice, pork with red curry paste, lophet thake and lentil soup.
You'll quickly note that rice (t'ămìn) is served with every meal. It's at the forefront of the national diet.
It's substance over style at seafood restaurant Min Lann in Kamayut Township, a local favourite. It serves lobster, fried soft-shell crab and tiger prawns prepared Rakhine-style on an open-flame grill.
The spicy rice is, well, spicy! Those wary of heat and those who are not adventurous eaters should beware: The fresh green chilli sauce is blazing, if easily quenched by local Myanmar suds.
The gourmet chef's special combination dinner at The Summer Palace at the Traders Hotel is a treat. Special mention goes to steamed live red grouper with superior soya sauce and wok-fried Wagyu beef cube with garlic and asparagus.
This is a perfect place to sample Burma's Red Mountain wine. Otherwise, a glass of sauvignon blanc nicely offsets the rich sauces.
A meal at the airy German-owned Monsoon is a must. Order ngar kyaw hnut (fried freshwater fish with crispy onions) and pazunhtok sebyan (king prawns in a rich tomato curry sauce). Equally awesome and refreshing is the Vietmanese dish pai nung manao' – steamed whole fish with garlic and lime sauce.
Thai and Cambodian fare are also offered, further proof that around here the influences are varied and profound. Myanmar backs up to India, Laos and Thailand, and there's a cohesive blending of cultures and cuisines in this part of the world.
While you're here, go upstairs to the well-curated, charming, fair-trade boutique Pomelo to see the work of local artists, many of whom are disadvantaged (HIV-positive, street kids, mentally and physically disabled, impoverished). Load up on souvenirs that range from adorable cloth elephants and hand-blown glass to bright handwoven scarves and ikat longyis, the national garb.
Take a lunch cruise aboard the charming, friendly Dora River Cruise to sample local food and wine, as Yangon's (Rangoon's) waterways, fishing villages and bustling landscape float by.
Western palates in need of a break from Asian cuisine should head to boisterous Trader's Cafe, which caters to all varieties of global taste, from French and Japanese to Chinese and Indian. Shout-out to the rich noodle soups and mouth-watering fresh sashimi.
50th Street Bar and Grill, located in a 100-year-old building, is where football (which is to say soccer) aficionados and expats head for bloody Marys, cold beer, pizza (yes, pizza) and darts.
Happy hour drinks
The warm, clubby Gallery Bar at Trader's is perfect for a proper cocktail or a splash of whiskey.
Unwind at the The Kipling Bar at the Governor's Residence, a relaxing, tropical milieu that serves refreshing cocktails.
Expats and locals converge at Inya 1 restaurant and bar, located slightly out of town, for congenial vibes.
The lovingly worn and authentic Strand conjures a bygone era of teak furniture, warm lighting and old ceiling fans. Pop in for Friday happy hour, when drinks are affordable. (You're in Burma but this hotel still belongs to the Leading Hotels of the World group.)
For the latest deals on travel, browse our great range of offers online or visit your local Student Flights.
Author: Kate Donnelly
This article originally appeared on Fathom.
This article was from Fathom and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
More like this
10 reasons why you need to visit Palawan right now
If you've done Potato Head Beach Club more times than you can remember, and you can pretty much get around Phuket with your eyes closed, then Palawan in the Philippines is the answer to your holiday needs. This unsung holiday gem is paradise personified in high-def natural beauty.
A first-timers' guide to Thailand
So, you’re finally headed to the land of green curry. You’ve scored a black market bargain flight deal, bought that playsuit that's going to look hot once you're tanned, and already planned the hashtags that will make your friends jelly #cocktailsalldayerryday #wishyouwerehere.