Padonmar Restaurant / No. 105/107, Kha-yae-pin Road, Yangon, Myanmar / (95) 1 538 895
After arriving at the RGN airport in the morning and spending a couple hours hitting some of the Yangon tourist highlights, we had our first meal in Myanmar at Padonmar Restaurant. It’s located in a neighborhood that is home to many of the foreign embassies and one of the nicer residential sections of the city.
The building itself was a colonial style home in its original incarnation. We were seated at a large wooden table in a small room with a high ceiling near the front of the restaurant. The room had a lovely view of the front garden.
The menu includes mostly Thai and Myanmar dishes. We ordered lentil soup, a “rice noodle” dish that turned out to be Pad Thai, coconut milk chicken curry, rice and “butter fish” curry, a dish we would see on many menus in Myanmar. Maybe it was the fact that this was our first meal in the country and we didn’t quite know what to expect but to our taste; the food was good but not fabulous. The service was excellent. With 3 beverages, our lunch for 3 came to $26 USD. (The beverages represented close to $6 of that total.)
Feel Myanmar Food /124 Pyidaungsu Yeiktha Str., Yangon, Myanmar 09 73208132
Our first introduction to a Myanmar buffet was at the very popular Feel Myanmar Food (aka simply as “Feel”.) The days we were there, the clientele was a mix of locals and tourists from all over the world. It is a moderately sized room that has spilled out to the street front and into the side garden. Most of the available selections are plated and on display (at room temperature) towards the back of the room. There are additional food stalls out front and most of the deserts are on display as you walk to the garden.
Once you find a table, walk to the display, tell one of the order takers your table number and walk down the line pointing and describing what you want. While most of the order takers do not speak English, if (in our case; “when” is a more accurate description) things start getting confusing, they will grab someone who does speak English to help.
A large bowl of soup (lentil one day and lima bean with crispy onion the other), a large plate of blanched and pickled vegetables, steamed rice and hot tea were served complimentary. Over the 2 meals we ate there we ordered crispy roasted duck, grilled chicken, chicken curry, stir fried string beans, crispy spring rolls, onion pakoras and a dish called Thai salad that we think was banana blossom with too much mayonnaise. We were only scratching the surface of what was available. Our favorites included both of the soups, the okra from the blanched vegetable tray, crispy duck, grilled chicken and the pakoras.
We enjoyed our first meal here so much that we made a point to come back for lunch on the day we spent in Yangon making an early morning connection back to Thailand on our way out of the country.
Monsoon Restaurant / 85,87 Theinbyu Road | Botataung Tsp, Yangon, Myanmar / 943121432
Our favorite restaurant in Yangon was Monsoon Restaurant & Bar. It’s a very upscale place that had more Western tourists than most places we visited but also included a good number of local patrons as well. We always sat on the ground level but on both evenings that we ate there we noticed large groups of mostly local people walking up the stairs to what we assumed was a banquet room. While more expensive than most other Myanmar options, we considered the food we were served to be a bargain when compared to prices in the U.S.
We timed our 2nd visit to Monsoon to be able to take advantage of the 50% discount at Happy Hour. Any cocktail ordered before 7:00 pm was half off. Our waiter graciously appeared at 6:58 to warn us of last call on Happy Hour.
This particular waiter was also the only one that served us in the 2+ weeks we were in Myanmar that asked what order we wanted the various dishes served. Amazingly, we actually started our meal with the starters!
Just about everything we ordered here was good but we especially enjoyed the Lentil Soup, Tomato salad, Grilled Lemongrass Pork Ribs and Chicken Curry, And the Banana fritters served warm with vanilla ice cream was to die for.
What is known as BBQ Street in Yangon has traditionally been a place where locals could find a cheap evening meal. While it still serves that purpose, it has also now turned into a must see spot for tourist, even those not willing to eat street food. You’ll find a couple dozen or so small outdoor and slightly larger indoor restaurants up and down 19th Street in the Yangon Chinatown. There has been some spillage onto the main road (perpendicular to 19th Street) where you’ll find a few more grills and an active produce and vegetable market.
As the name implies, virtually every place on BBQ Street has a charcoal grill and a display of the evening’s offering out front. With its location in Chinatown, it’s not surprising that the flavorings tend to be Chinese style.
I have no idea what the name of the place where we ate at but we walked down the street a couple times checking out what each place offered and eventually settled in at an outdoor table at one of the smaller places. We selected this particular place because the fish looked fresh and in addition to all the meats, there were also ears of corn on display and we liked the idea of grilled corn on the cob.
We ordered chicken satay, grilled mutton skewers, grilled chicken, a grilled whole river fish and the corn. Our friendly young waiter soon brought out some very cold beer and complimentary peanuts. The meats were all well cooked and as we had hoped; the fish was extremely fresh.
The corn was the last dish served and it had been grilled, removed from the cob and made into a salad. While not what we expected it turned out to be one of the favorite dishes served that evening. The entire meal for 3 including beverages was roughly $12 USD.
On our walk back to our car and driver we stopped at one of the fruit stalls and picked up a wedge of watermelon (for $1 USD), which the vendor cut up before bagging so we could enjoy it as dessert back at the hotel,
365 Restaurant is connected to the Thamada Hotel in Yangon. A variety of coffees, cocktails and other drinks as well as Western and Asian dishes are served 24-hours a day / 7 days a week. The restaurant also offers (a relatively slow but) free Wi-Fi.
There was a selection of 3 sets for the breakfast included with the hotel room rate; scrambled eggs, fried eggs and Asian. The 2 egg options were edible (translate to OK but not great) and came with chicken sausage, toast, a juice flavored drink and mediocre coffee. I did have the occasion to order an ice coffee milk one afternoon while using the Wi-Fi and that was a far superior coffee option but not included in the hotel breakfast set.
Most breakfast guests are staying at the hotel but the restaurant does get some walk in business that time of the day. One morning we noticed an older monk having coffee and checking his email and he let out a loud comment before leaving. We weren’t sure if he was giving a blessing to the restaurant, complaining about the 3-days of non-stop rain or making some other statement.
On the day we were leaving Yangon, our flight to Bagan departed at 6:30 am so we found ourselves in 365 before 5:00 am one morning grabbing some coffee and toast and noticed a couple party girls at one table, 2 Western men (eyeing the party girls) at another table and 2 Myanmar men (also with an eye towards the girls) at a 3rd table. We found it interesting that all 3 tables were drinking (Mexican) Corona beer.
There is a display case full of Western style baked goods at the front counter and one night we managed to sample a pretty good cross section of what was available there. The cream cheese brownie was a disappointment but the caramel apple cake was possibly the best Western desert we enjoyed in all of Myanmar.