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.
The term “supper club” evokes a glamorous image of the 1930s, of grand Art Deco palaces offering the finest in everything, where the well-to-do enjoyed high-class dining and live jazz. Of course, supper clubs have enjoyed a revival with a slightly different meaning of late, becoming known as “underground” or “secret” restaurants in more happening parts of the world.
Food trends change with alarming speed. Often, they’re prompted by the foodie elite, influential restaurateurs or even pop culture. And while an emphasis seems to be placed on specific ingredients, it is also common for the cuisine of an entire culture or nation to be deemed trendy.
Every time I squeeze myself into the only remaining seat at the Yangon Bakehouse in Pearl Condo, I wonder why they don’t open another branch - and it seems I’m not the only one, as the zippy-minds behind this marvellous social enterprise have recently opened a new branch on Inya Road.