While expats bemoan the scourge of capitalism and inevitable decline of humanity that will follow the arrival of KFC this week, they have failed to notice a much greater menace facing the future of Yangon’s restaurant scene: the hipsterfication of food.
Now that the weather has turned cool, the thoughts of some of us turn to the joys of hot and spicy food. For me, that meant Sichuan Dou Hua, a Chinese traditional restaurant on the first floor of Yangon’s Parkroyal Hotel. It offers the daily dishes of Sichuan Province in southwestern China, which is as cool and damp as its food is hot and spicy.
With the exception of a growing number of “exotic” street vendors – who caused outrage recently when it was discovered they were serving dog meat to labourers on a nearby construction site – Vietnamese food has yet to take off in the city. That could be about to change, however, with a trickle of new Vietnamese restaurant openings doing a roaring trade – particularly among expats thankful for their fresh, healthy offerings and minimal use of oil.
New Western restaurant openings in Yangon generally create a buzz in the expat community, helped along by the inevitable barrage of press releases, online posts and fancy launch events that tend to accompany them.
Located above Adamas Seafood Restaurant on Kanbawza Road, Shabu Boy offers an inexpensive alternative to the well-heeled bars and restaurants surrounding it – which may explain why all of the tables were full when we visited.
Hawaiian-Born chef Kevin Ching – the man behind popular Yangon restaurants Port Autonomy and La Carovana – is back as our guest chef again this week. Known for giving a unique twist to everyday comfort foods, Ching’s recipes showcase the freshest local produce in exciting combinations, with influences ranging from Mexican to Korean to Burmese.