Unknown to most, Yangon’s food culture has exploded in the last few years offering many cannot-miss options to the visitor and local alike.
While local Burmese cuisine boasts a dazzling array of flavors rich with curries and savory relishes, it can be refreshing to get away from the jostling streets and treat yourself to a chef-cooked meal all while finding sanctuary from the heat outside. The city of Yangon, Myanmar’s capital, is home to some top-rated restaurants. Here are some of WildChina’s favorites to make your visit most memorable:
1. Le Planteur
Evolving from the back lanes of old Yangon, Le Planteur brings remodeled French décor into a historical Burmese mansion. With four distinct ambiances, the location and kitchen have space for all visitors. Guests can bring a good book and enjoy High Tea in the garden or a glass of champagne and pastries. The restaurants offers more casual bistro specialties such as boeuf Bourguignon or salad nicoise. For the evening, indulge in a favorite of both the guests and French Chef Gil Dumoulin: freshly prepared lobster and prawn ravioli served alongside homemade foie gras with truffle oil, all accompanied by the choice of 32 house wines.
You wouldn’t expect artesian Swiss cheese made from buffalo milk in Myanmar, would you? The two don’t usually go together, but for local Burmese entrepreneur “Sharky,” Yangon is the perfect location to show off and create his signature dish. Sharky’s is now the go to choice for Swiss cheese in Yangon and the demand of locals and hotels often far outstrips the supply. Besides 18 kinds of local cheese, the restaurant also produces dry-aged tenderloin, baked breads blending East and West, and thin crust fired pizzas. It’s not cheap, but where else can you get a taste of the Alps in Myanmar?
3. Green Gallery
Located on a green, leafy lane near the heart of downtown Yangon, this cozy almost hole-in-the wall venue on 52nd Street was voted as a top-three pick for dinning and nightlife in the 2016 Myanmore Awards. Owner Ma Bo’s refreshing Thai style dishes with a healthy emphasis on fresh mixed salad and customer favorites such as lemongrass soup, Penang Curry, and Tom Yum Kung paired with cooling juices take the sting out of the afternoon heat and make it the place to be for a light lunch or late night city snack. They’re open until 10pm every night but Monday. Local bought, market fresh ingredients and cheap prices for any budget fill the seats here almost every night so make sure to reserve a seat in advance if you can!
4. Shwe Sa Bwe
A one of a kind dining experience, Shwe Sa Bwe offers guests an intimate atmosphere and cuisine delicately prepared by local youth with a quality rivaling the best in Yangon. Started by social entrepreneur and French Chef Francois Stoupan, the focus is to train disadvantaged youth from around the country and equip them with the skills to succeed in Mayanmar’s growing service industry. But it’s not just a school. You’ll hardly be aware that the waiters around you are sharpening their skills as you dig into a three course meal of scallops and beetroot carpaccio, veal tenderloin with sautéed straw mushrooms and a desert of steaming chocolate fondant.
The collage of ceramic encaustic floor tiles and early 20th century style steel beams supporting the ceiling give a hint of this venue’s vivid past. Housed in a 1906 commercial building that was once the center of early Rangoon, visitors can now encounter a relaxing venue for a business lunch over Executive Chef Reuben Gould’s coveted pork gyoza or bento box special. On Friday nights, the atmosphere transforms with live music from 7-10pm and diners can find themselves in a lively mix of locals and expats while talking over popular tempura soft shell crab, signature bar cocktails, meats from Yangon’s first charcoal fired Robotayaki grill, and sushi and sashimi combos made using imported ingredients direct from Japan.
The southeast Asian cuisine served in this two story, restored colonial merchant building is a favorite for international travelers and those looking to get above the street life and refuel with an iced coffee or refreshing ltpetthoke salad. Monsoon was born from the dreams of three savvy, local women entrepreneurs and features one of the only female Myanmar head chefs in town as well as dishes served with no MSG and as little oil as possible. After a business lunch or classy evening, head upstairs to Pomelo Boutique, a fair-trade nonprofit marketing the handcrafted work of 20 Burmese artisan groups.
You’ve feasted your eyes on Yangon’s rich culinary spread, and it’s time to whet your appetite on a trip to Myanmar. Request information about our Myanmar: Into the Golden Lands trip, and begin your voyage through this exotic land.