Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Rakhine restaurant the best of coastal cuisine

For the coastal-dwelling Rakhine, seafood and fish are central to the diet. They love to eat fiery, sour curries featuring coriander, lemon grass, chillies and lemon juice. Locally, this food is served at a long-running Yangon establishment called Minn Lan Rakhine Traditional Hand-pressed Monti & Fresh Seafood Restaurant.

Serving up a bowl of piping hot seafood monti. Photos: Yu YuServing up a bowl of piping hot seafood monti. Photos: Yu Yu

The name of the restaurant derives from the street where the owners first opened, in Minn Lan, south Sayasan Ward, Bahan township. There are now five branches in Yangon. The other part of its name derives from the fact that the menu features Rakhine monti – a bowl of sour and spicy soup with fish slices, accompanied by rice noodles and seafood brought fresh from Chaungtha beach. Last week I visited the location in Thingangyun.

The restaurant is a lovely place. The tables are made of rough wood bevelled at the edges. There is also a large car park, and it is a short distance away from the main road so that the noise of traffic is hardly heard.

The restaurant’s famous dish is seashell curry (K3500), in either a spicy or sweet style. We ordered a bowl of the spicy curry, but we asked the staff to reduce the spiciness because our taste buds aren’t used to so much chilli. We also ordered sides of rice, seaweed salad (K1000) and a fried sweet vegetable (K1500).

About 10 minutes later, our seaweed salad arrived. Shrimp and fish pastes are used as condiments, as are thinly sliced onions and small dried fish. Moments later our main course came.

The curry was sour and light but very delicious, although the meat of the seafood was rather tough to eat. The seaweed itself was fresh but the sauce very spicy; it went well with rice.

There was nothing special about the fried vegetables, which in style and ingredients were what you’d find in a Chinese restaurant.

The restaurant also offers fried or roasted crabs and giant prawns, as well as a spicy crab curry. But these items are significantly more expensive, ranging from K7500 to K15,000.

Fresh juice is also available.

Rakhine foods are sour, spicy and also particularly salty, and you can find them at many food stalls in Yangon. But the quality of Minn Lan’s seafood, directly imported from the beach, makes it stand out.

Minn Lan

Seafood Restaurant

Near Aung Yadanar Clinic, Waizayandar Road, Thingangyun

Phone 01-558548, 09-30170200