Forget peanut butter and jelly, fish and chips, Itchy and Scratchy, and Rupert Murdoch and sleazy journalism. Nothing in this world goes together better than barbecue and cold beer.
An Austrian-accented Conan the Barbarian once opined that what was best in life was “to crush your enemies, see dem driven before you, and to hear da lamentation of their vimmin”, but he had obviously never visited Yangon and indulged in the pleasures of chomping down on skewered chicken, mutton, pig guts, potatoes and piquant tofu, then washing it down with a frosty mug of Tiger draught.
Nor had he enjoyed grilled fish, zesty crab or marlar hinn, the latter consisting of a delicious train-wreck of spicy vegetables and noodles — all chased with another mug or three of beer.
Barbecue also lends itself to dining with a group of friends, for several reasons, some of which I shall enumerate as follows: A variety of foods can be ordered to suit everyone’s taste, it’s easy to continue requesting more grub for delivery to the table over the course of several hours, and the aforementioned consumption of beer, with which barbecue is so compatible, is more fun with more people.
Kaung Kaung’s central location on Dhammazedi Road makes it a convenient destination for the BBQ-ically inclined, although this setting can also be seen as a liability, with hordes of Yangon’s most obnoxious bus drivers passing just a few feet away, madly blaring their horns at every shadow that flits across the moon.
The dim fluorescent lighting in the dining area also doesn’t help the atmosphere. But if you’re keen to gain merit by feeding stray cats, you’ll want to order some feline-friendly chunks that you can surreptitiously drop onto the floor under your table while your animal-hating friends aren’t looking.
Another huge bonus for me was the block of ice in the urinal, particularly my feelings of accomplishment as I contributed to its slow, steady dissolution with every beer-fuelled visit to the toilet. Yep, that Conan fellow sure missed out on some of the things that really are best in life.