Wednesday, July 26, 2017

East glances westward at East Hotel cafe

It is a well-worn cliché to say that Burmese curries tend to be too oily for Western tastes, but it’s a cliché that happens to be true.

Lucky for those persnickety foreigners with hypersensitive gullets, there are a growing number of venues around Yangon that make Burmese food for Western tastes.

One of these is the centrally located Amber Café at East Hotel. The menu offers a range of Western and Asian dishes — from nasi goring and chicken sate, to spaghetti and grilled chicken — but I always head straight for the Myanmar set menu.

For US$6 you get curry (choice of chicken, pork, beef or butterfish), soup (choice of roselle leaf or yellow lentil), stir-fried vegetables, balachaung and steamed rice. The curries are light on oil and have a pleasantly spicy tang, and the lentil soup has a nice cumin bite to it as well.

The $6 price tag might seem a bit steep for Burmese food, but there’s more than enough to fill your stomach. Even so, I normally eat every bite (except for the balachaung), such is the deliciousness factor. And the price also includes government tax and service charge, so overall it’s a pretty good deal.

The menu also has an array of soft drinks, fruit juices, beer and hot drinks. The “fresh coffee” ($2) actually is fresh coffee, very nice to sip while sitting in the clean, air-conditioned dining room and looking through the café windows at the parade of life unfolding on Sule Pagoda Road.

Amber Café at East Hotel

234-240 Sule Pagoda Road, Kyauktada township, Yangon

Food: 8
Drink: 7
Atmosphere: 8
Service: 7
X Factor: 8
Value for money: 7

Score BOX: 8/10