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Where to eat in Burma?

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Sep 16th, 2012, 05:29 PM
  #1
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Where to eat in Burma?

Gearing up for our December trip and had a thought today about starting to jot down places we should look at for dining.

Will be visiting Yangon, Bagan and Inle and wondering if you all have suggestions on where the best places are (or at least better places are, given all the 'meh' type reviews I've heard about Burmese food in general.)

We'll be staying at the Strand in Yangon, Tharabar Gate in Bagan and at the Inle Princess in Inle. I've heard the food at Tharabar Gate in particular is pretty bad. So I guess any reccos we can get for near the hotel would be appreciated.

We're definitely foodies and have most likely been spoiled on our recent jaunts to Thailand, Vietnam and China as far as food goes. I'm fully expecting to not be wowed after reading some of the TRs on here. And, of course, that's fine--not every trip can provide amazing food. This trip is really all about experiencing the country and the culture. But, that said, looking for some diamonds on the rough...or, at the very least, the most passable meals we can find.

Thanks in advance!
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Sep 16th, 2012, 05:36 PM
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By the time you go there should be a brand new Water Library in Yangon. Judging from their restaurants in Bangkok you guys would like it there!
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Sep 16th, 2012, 06:00 PM
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Therre is a GREAT vegetarian in Bagan called be kind to animals- The Moon. ( or something like that) it's firmly on the tourist stop but the vegetable chipaties ( sp) I had were delicious. When I get home I wil check out the correct one as there is a copy cat one ( if you are having a guide he will likely take you there anyway)
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Sep 16th, 2012, 06:47 PM
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We had decent food at the Savoy in Yangon and there are a couple of other notable restaurants which we did not bother to try. In Bagan, we ate at mostly tourist places that weren't great,

At Inle, there are really no options other than dining at the Inle Princess. I suppose you could venture to one of the other hotels but I don't see much point in doing that.

Try to just go with the flow - that is what we plan to do as we head to Bhutan next month. Not looking forward to meals consisting of rice, chiles and cheese but willing to deal with it for the experience of visiting this unique Himalayan kingdom. As a consolation, we expect to have a couple of decent meals while there and to experience Gaggan in Bangkok before we leave Asia.

That being said, with Burma changing rapidly I hope you can find something to your liking. Perhaps the Nicky's and Pook's suggestions will work out for you...
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Sep 16th, 2012, 08:00 PM
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The Green Elephant in Yangon is good. You can google it online and find more information. And it may have a branch in another city - but I'm not sure about that.
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Sep 16th, 2012, 08:15 PM
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I don't have a lot of good news for you.

The Inle princess is supposed to have good food. Hanuman, can you comment? The Tharbar Gate has a prix fixe menu every evening that is guaranteed to be pretty awful. But we found a number of dishes on their a la carte menu that were good.

In Yangon, we had both good and not good food at the Strand. We did have a really lovely lunch in Yangon, at a place recommended by Hanuman http://www.travelindependently.com/a...unch-in-yangon.
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Sep 16th, 2012, 08:47 PM
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It has been a few years but the food then was OK with a good selection of Western and local dishes. I would not recommend going out at night in a boat for a meal as it was cold and "spooky". Hate to think what would happen if the boat capsize at night!
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Sep 17th, 2012, 06:04 AM
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We stayed at Tharbar gate for 4 nights and did not eat dinner there as we too were warned about the food, although breakfasts were pretty good. There are 2 very good vegetarian restaurants within walking distance, Be Kind to Animals and a restaurant directly across the road from it. Also, there is a restaurant next door to Tharbar gate that serves passable Chinese food, and has a marionette show some nights. For incredibly good Chinese food, in a local restaurant near Schwedegon Pagoda, try the Chinese restaurant near the Summit Parkview restaurant. I can't remember the name of it, but I mentioned the name in my TR on Burma. The sights in Burma will more than make up for the mediocre food experience. Have a great time.
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Sep 17th, 2012, 06:07 AM
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Meant to say near the Summit Parkview Hotel, not restaurant.
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Sep 17th, 2012, 03:29 PM
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More detail in my trip report, but here is our summary.
Yangon, really liked Pandomar and Singapore Kitchen. Monsoon restaurant wasn't bad either, walking distance from the Strand. The bar food at The Strand was so so
Bagan, really liked Be Kind to Animals, across the road from Tharabar. We ate there twice. Liked Sarabar II better of the 2 next door. We never ate at the hotel and as far as we could tell no one else did except for a large group that had a buffet set up one night.
We liked the food at Inle Lake View, but I don't know if you could get there in the evening for dinner.

We had relatively low expectations about food based on everything we read but were pleasantly surprised for the most part. Nothing really outstanding but some excellent meals. Ate lunch at different places, depending on where we were taken by guides and mostly they were just fine.

Have a great trip.
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Sep 17th, 2012, 03:35 PM
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A few more places: We had a lovely lunch at the Savoy. One year we had a wonderful lunch at the Governor's residence, another we had a good but not great lunch. You probably do want to go there just to see the place. I think that restaurants in places such as Burma are remarkably inconsistent. Many people like Monsoon, but the food we had was poor. We ate at an Indian place, Ashoka, that is very well regarded. The food was good, but not as great as we'd been led to believe. We did have Italian food at L'Opera that was good.

At Inle, you will need to eat at the Princess. It isn't safe to be out on the lake at night.
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Sep 17th, 2012, 05:05 PM
  #12
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Thanks so far -- and keep 'em coming!! -- but do have some more questions re: Tharabar in particular.

Definitely getting the message from you all loud and clear (and from TA reviews) to stay the bleep away from their food. But do see a few notes about their breakfast being anywhere from "acceptable" to "atrocious."

Anyone who's stayed there care to elaborate? I have this image stuck in my head from one particular TA review about dead bugs on the fruit platter in the morning that's left a particularly unsettling and unappetizing image burned into my brain.

Are there other breakfast options near the hotel?
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Sep 17th, 2012, 05:46 PM
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I thought the breakfast was acceptable. Didn't see any dead bugs. They usually keep screen covers over the platters to keep bugs out. The breakfast was better than at the other place we stared in Bagan. (I know, that isn't saying much.)

As I mentioned, we were able to find some Burmese dishes on the a la carte menu that were in the good to acceptable range. The prix fixe menus were awful.

One you are in Bagan, ask MinThu to recommend places to you.
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Sep 17th, 2012, 06:21 PM
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When we were there in July, the breakfast was ok. Didn't see any dead bugs. The breakfasts were definitely not as good as most other places we stayed but it was certainly acceptable The first day we were there, the selection was small. The next day it was significantly larger probably because a large group had arrived. The breads and pastries were not especially good, the fruit selection much smaller than you would expect but there were a few choices. Good coffee, though, and that's important to us. Bottom line, nothing to complain about and nothing to rave about.

Even though the breakfasts weren't great, we really liked the hotel. Loved the location, the rooms were spacious and nicely furnished and the staff was friendly.
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Sep 18th, 2012, 06:18 AM
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FromDC's experience was well below ours. Could be that they had a greater variety of food during high season in Jan. or we were just lucky. The breakfasts were very good with an omlette and pancake station, a large selection of fresh fruit and a lovely outdoor setting around the swimming pool. The service could have been more attentive, but other than that we had no complaints. I'd say give it a try your first day.
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Sep 18th, 2012, 12:26 PM
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I didn't mean to come off as too negative about the breakfasts at Tharabar. We had no complaints but there were certainly differences day by day depending on how many people were staying at the hotel. One day, there was an omelet station, another day there wasn't. One day the pancakes were very good, another they were OK, etc. And I agree, the setting is really lovely. I don't think there are any alternatives for breakfast and it is included in the price. It was a nice way to start the day. Also, there is a pot in the room where you can boil water so we started every morning with a cup of Starbuck's VIA, outdoors on our patio.
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Oct 3rd, 2012, 08:25 PM
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We stayed at Tharabar Gate Hotel in Bagan and you have some good options that are walking distance.
Our favorite, which we returned to twice, was Star Bean. It's right next to Be kind to animals.
Star Bean is rather new and not written up in any guidebooks yet. The tomato salad is yummy and they pride themselves on their homemade bread. The fish was also excellent. Actually, everything was very tasty. We also ate at Be kind to animals. It was very good but the quality and seasoning were better at Starbean.
In Yangon we stayed at The Strand. The food was good, not exciting, but I love the atmosphere there. We also ate at Monsoon which is walking distance from the hotel. It was good, not great. But far more reasonably priced than the Strand.

To sum it all up the best food we had in Burma were at StarBean in Bagan and at Inle Lake View Hotel.
Enjoy!
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Oct 18th, 2012, 10:05 AM
  #18
 
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I've recently acquired a new book about Burma, "Burma rivers of Flavor" by Naomi Duguid. Part food, part travel and culture, very good as an all-round look at Burma.

The only other writer I've encountered who understands and translates Burmese food is Charmaine Solomon.

(Pardon my wording of "Burmese food," as "Myanmarese food" seems way too clumsy.)
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Oct 26th, 2012, 09:44 PM
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There is a great recent article in AFAR magazine about Burmese food and lots of cultural insights : http://www.afar.com/afar/burma-blossoms

Naomi Duguid's book is also mentioned in it.
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