Note: The Myanmar Times reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals.
Four months after US President Barack Obama plonked down on a plastic stool at Bun Cha Huong Lien for a bowl of Hanoi’s signature pork noodles, the restaurant is cashing in on customers eager to taste what all the fuss is about.
Since I was recovering from a bout of flu, a healthy restaurant seemed like a good idea. Luckily, one has opened just a few minutes’ walk from my office: Healthy Me, in front of Ruby Mart on the corner of Bogyoke and Pansodan roads, proved to be exactly what I was waiting for.
Readers of Charles Dickens would be forgiven for thinking orphanages are rather joyless places, but anyone who has visited Mr Jones’ Orphanage in Bangkok will know that they can in fact be splendiferous places of extreme bliss, filled with giant teddy bears, mountains of chocolate lava cake and miniature bottles of strawberry milk. Good news for would-be orphans then, as Mr Jones recently opened a branch of his famous orphanage-inspired café on the top floor of Myanmar Plaza.
Seng Luangrath, the chef and owner of Washington’s only Lao food restaurant, had never been to the mountain-ringed Mekong River city of Luang Prabang, her home country’s top tourist attraction, and on a summertime visit she was eager to test her tongue.
Yangon restaurants, in my experience, tend to fall into one of three categories: Not bad; not bad for the price; and downright horrific. I firmly suspected The Black Hat Burmese Tapas Wine Bar and Restaurant would be in the latter grouping, if only because any restaurant that tries to be so many things at once usually fails to succeed at any of them. But it's much more, a restaurant so baffling that I’m still not sure quite what to make of it.
It’s not just about pork. Ma Ei’s Pork Stick emporium in Yangon’s Tarmwe township also offers salads with rice, tea leaves, potatoes, bean curd, corn and other non-pork ingredients, for as little as K600 to K800. But if pork is your thing, look no further than Ma Ei’s, which has become something of an institution among Yangon whet thar (pork) lovers.