We are (carefullly) planning a trip to Burma next month (Feb-March 2007). Does anyone have any recs for restaurants that are not government-controlled? We want to be sure our money goes straight into the proprietors' pockets, not the government's. And, of course, the food needs to be good!
Alice, I was in Yangon and Bagan in December. Contrary to popular belief there are a lot of privately owned restaurants and stores. In fact there is more street and commercial life there than I saw in the entire Soviet Union back in '82.
Back to the chow, in Yangon we had shan noodles @ Aung Mingalar @ 341 Bo yar Nyunt Rd, around the corner from the Grand Plaza Park Roral Hotel. A nice little corner place. Nothing great but tasty.
Also ate @ Thiek Di Shin @ 331 Anawrahta St. A little more upscale than most, but not upscale by Western ideals. This was recommened to us but nothing we had here was memorable.
Aung Thukha @ 17A 1 Street West, north of downtown and not far from the Shwedagon Pagada (which is a must). It's on a side road (if the roads there can be called roads) by the Savoy Hotel. Walking in it looks a bit funky but was packed for lunch w/locals (no tourists). There is a version of a steam table w/cauldrons, where you go and pick out your dishes. This place is very crowded and seemed to be loved by the locals.
Sandy's Myanmar, north of downtown, on the lake next door tothe Kandewgyi Palace hotel. Had a great beef salad (listed under the beef dishes as beef w/chilli, not the salads). Spicy, fragrent and zingy. Everything I expected in a trad dish, unlike most food I had when there. The tea leaf salad was a dissapointment, I had a much better one @ the 50 Street Expat Bar where you can also change $ for a good rate. The pork w/pickeled mango was also really good. Great flavors and unique too. The mutton rib w/yellow pea was fine as well and I don;t liek mutton! Beef curry w/roselle was another decent dish. They have some ok foreign wines but I wanted to try the local rose but there were out that night. Another night @ sandy's we had beef jerky which was a bit flavorless,The hill country soup was a nice red consomme w/veggies, mmmm good.
Don't eat @ Mr Guitar bar and restaurant, not worth a detour.
All of these places take hard currency only, and most will take dollars. Things are very cheap there. Most meals cost way under $10.00 pp. The big splurge @ Sandy's which has a tourist trade w/wine and mutliple main dishes for 2 was maybe $40.00 us.
Hope this helps.
Morekasha - Thanks for the detailed review! If you are so inclined, my BF and I would love to hear more about your trip off-board. Let me know if you interested in continuing this chat. If not, that's cool, too. See my profile for my email address.
I worked in Burma a number of years ago, for several years, and all over the country. As MOREKASHA says, there is no need to worry about your money going to the SLORC. There are multitudes of good small restaurants and lots of great road and street food. I like the Tandoori style food in Manadalay and elsewhere. You can recognize them by their tandoor out front. The trash that goes into them in the morning is a prt of the fuel supply. You used to be able to recognize state enterprises by the Soviet architecture. Supposedly not so any more: the state joints are the fancy places (?).
Sam, between you and Morekasha, I am feeling better about making the decision to go visit this beautiful place. Of course, we will remain vigilant and as responsible as possible. Thanks for your informative post. I extend the invitation to you to email me if you wish to discuss Burma a bit more off-board.
I've been to two Burmese restaurants in the US, Burmese Star in SF and one in Washington D.C. (can't recall the name). I enjoyed both immensely and I am looking forward to having the real deal!
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