Yangon may not have achieved a place among global culinary capitals just yet however we wholeheartedly recommend these noteworthy establishments beginning with our own fine French-Med dining from celebrated Executive Chef Christian Martena. The Strand Restaurant offers.
The Strand guests rightly rave about House of Memories (No. 290, U Wizara Road, Kamaryut Township; +95-1-525-195 or 534-242) serving authentic Myanmar cuisine inside in an ambience-rich, hundred year old mansion set among tropical gardens. Go back in time as well at Le Planteur (80 University Avenue, Bahan Township; +95-1-514-230) in a colonial villa hidden near Shwedagon Pagoda, though here you’ll dine on contemporary interpretations of Indochine cuisine along with an extensive wine list and imported cheeses. Inside a historic shop house near The Strand, Monsoon Restaurant & Bar (85-87 Theinphyu Road; +95-1-295-224) delivers consistently popular Myanmar, Thai, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnamese dishes. We recommend requesting a table by the window to watch Yangon street life over your Thai beef curry.
For a midday revival among Yangon’s elite, we like to linger under the high ceilings and whirring fans at Rangoon Tea House (77-79 Pansodan Road; +95-9-979-078681), devouring the mohinga fish soup, spicy curries, tea leaf and pennywort salads plus around 16 varieties of Burmese tea. In need of a quicker fix? Yangon Bakehouse (Pearl Condo Training Café, Block C, Ground Floor, Kaba Aye Pagoda Road, Bahan Township) is a social enterprise which hires most of their employees from disadvantaged backgrounds, which we love at least as much as the hearty organic salads, chicken curry pies and especially the sweets like Yangon’s most luscious chocolate brownie.
At Shwe Sa Bwe (20 Malikha Road; +95-9-42100-5085) underprivileged Myanmar youth cook their way to a better life, training as chefs and for roles in the country’s burgeoning hospitality industry. Located north of Inya Lake and open only for dinner, the leafy grounds, smiling young faces and a rotating menu featuring Western dishes like pan seared scallops on squid ink rice and roasted veal tenderloin in port wine sauce never fail to impress and inspire.
When our guests say they want to “eat like locals,” we recommend Shan 999 Noodle Shop (130/B 34th Street, Kyauktada Township; +95 1 389 363) the narrow two-storey shop house where we go for Yangon’s tastiest Shàn k’auq swèh silk thread-thin noodles in fiery chicken broth, or the sticky Shan noodles and always a fresh fruit smoothie or two. The 35 year-old eatery located behind City Hall is simple but always clean, portions are generous, prices are extremely reasonable and the crowds is a nice mix of locals and in-the-know foreigners.
No one has done more to put Yangon on the culinary world map than the Myanmar born owner of Sharky's Yangon (117 Dhamazedi Road, +95 1 524 677) whose goat cheese was reportedly a diet staple of Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi during her house arrest. Born of necessity during the years Myanmar was under military rule, Sharky’s is utterly locavore and notable for its astonishingly consistent quality, from its tomatoes, spinach and arugula to its Indian Ocean sourced fleur de sel, a rightly famous grilled chicken and an especially addictive hazelnut and Swiss chocolate homemade ice cream. We are especially grateful for Sharky’s latest ‘downtown’ location in an elegant, white washed colonial building at 81 Pansodan Road, a mere five minutes’ walk from The Strand.