One of the advantages of travelling by car in Myanmar is the freedom to dine where you like, rather than where the bus company will get the largest commission. The downside is the plethora of options makes it hard to settle on a single choice, and it’s always a bit of pot luck (see “A roll of the dice”, November 19). Happily, on a recent trip to Mawlamyine I lucked out.
Family Two opened only two months ago and is nestled on a bend in the Yangon-Mawlamyine Highway about five minutes east of the small town of Mubalin, not far from where the Sittoung River divides Bago Region and Mon State. It’s only a short way before Kyaikto, so is also a worthy refuelling site for pilgrims heading to the Golden Rock.
It has the typical roadside dining hall thing going on but the lack of walls on three sides allow the fresh breeze to swirl through. The shop is commendably clean, although you would expect no less from such a new establishment.
What it lacks in atmosphere it makes up for in service and food. The traditional Myanmar curries are delicious and cheap (most dishes K800, rice K300) and my recommendations are the mutton and chicken. Another personal favourite is the refreshing min kwar ywet thoke, or pennywort salad, which comes with a healthy serve of chopped tomato and fried garlic. There’s plenty of piping hot green tea and jaggery after your meal, of course. The drink selection lets Family Two down a little, although being Mon State the juice was deliciously fresh. And, as the name suggests, Family Two is family run, so the waiters actually exhibit some desire to assist weary diners.
But the pièce de résistance (adding exponentially to the X Factor rating) is that rarest of beasts in rural Myanmar: a clean, functioning, Western-style toilet. It even has a decent shower room. What more could you ask for?