Let me first say I love Burmese food. Or what I'd had of it back home in California. So I was very excited to chow down in Myanmar on a quick weekend trip. What I found was that it was a little bit harder to dive in than I expected, and what I found wasn't quite what I was expecting. At home I love that it seems like a blend of Thai, Indian, and Chinese (apologies if this is overly simplistic or totally ignorant), but in person I found things seemed rather Chinese or Thai alone in inspiration. We didn't go to any just Indian places. I didn't try the iconic mohinga fish stew, so something to look out for next trip!
999 Shan Noodle House -- this place is fantastic, probably the best noodles I've had (and I live in Singapore, where we have plenty of noodles around). Everyone who goes to Yangon should go here at least once. We went for breakfast a bit late on Saturday, maybe 10am. There were a couple of tables eating, which were all done leaving us as the last diners when we finished. I asked for recommendations and the waiter suggested the Shan Noodle Soup and the Sticky Shan Noodles, so that's what the bf and I had. Loved my sticky shan noodles -- rice noodles with a peanuty gravy, and little bits of chicken on top. The bf gobbled up his soup at rapid speed and loved it. They also served some spicy pickled vegetables and a bowl of chicken broth with mine as my noodles were "dry" -- but not at all actually dry, just not soup. With coffees and juice, the bill was around $5. This place is clean, orderly, and very friendly. The menu has English translations, the adult waiter spoke good English and quite friendly, and the aunty was a gem. They've had a write up in NYTimes 26 hrs in Rangoon and also have a #4 ranking on tripadvisor, so definitely foreigner-friendly. The best part, we asked the aunty who runs the shop for some other food recommendations after a long chat and then I inquired where to find tea leaf salad, because it's a favorite at the California restuarants I've been to. She explained they usually it eat as a dessert after any meal, and sent one of the waiter boys to fetch some from her house for us! She added the dried shrimps and garlic to it, and oh man it was wonderful.
Le Planteur - I was worried weather we should both splashing out an expensive restaurant when we had only a few days in BUrma and so much eating to be done. I wanted something special for my bf's birthday so decided to go for it. It's a very pretty colonial old home, but we forgot to nose around the inside much. They placed out on the balcony in a very romantic and isolated spot (I asked for a romantic spot for the bday). The food was good but not what I think of as coming from a Michelin chef, to be honest. I had a nice starter of scallops, squid, and mango salad. There were a couple scallops on the side, no sear which was a shame. The dressing and combo of the salad was spot on though. For the main, I had their supposedly famous spicy seafood pasta. It was a good value based on the rest of the menu ($28) and chock full of seafood, but only one bit of the lobster, which they are supposed to be known for. This was ok, but could have been a dish at any decent Italian place in the world. The wait staff were sweet and brought out a surprise bday dessert with sparkler, much to the embarrassment of my fella. He ended up mistakenly with a wagyu strip at a pricy $64 when he tried to order a lamb stew! But the bite of meat I stole was excellent. As a kitschy side, they will pick you up or take you home in one of their vintage cars -- the bf loved that part.
19th Street in Chinatown -- We came to this area two nights for beers and food. It is where to go after dark for food and there street is lined with restaurants, tables, food carts, and BBQs for satay and all sorts of skewers. We preferred our meal at a place called Win Restaurant where we had a fresh grilled fish ($4), chicken satay, and some very good fried rice. We had drinks at Kosan, as mentioned in the NYTimes article. Nothing special there! We did have an 80 cent mojito, but then quickly went to the less touristy places for a local Myanmar beer, which is only about $1.50 for 660ml.
Feel Restaurant - there are a few outposts of this place, and I was wary because it has a website and screams tourist to me. But we went for a late Sunday lunch around 2:30pm and were the only white folks there. The wait staff were helpful in English though, but no English menu. They walked us up to a bar up front with lots of the curries and rices and explained what they were and we just pointed and ordered that way. Had a delicious catfish dish that seemed like dried then shredded catfish, so-so sweet and sour tofu (the tofu was good but the sauce seemed sickly to me), garlicky kailan, and a couple of things. Overall, I would recommend it for a way to try a lot of dishes quickly.
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