Spaghetti Italian Kitchen

R and I are back to posting again! Since our last post over a year ago, many restaurants and cafes have opened in Yangon and it should keep us occupied for some time.

In this post, we would like to share with you a little known Italian restaurant at Myanigone. While it is in a fairly central and busy area, it is tucked in a little alley, hence not many know of its existence. There are only a handful of restaurants in Yangon that serve good quality pasta but they tend to be upscale establishments which can be slightly pricey. If you have a craving for pasta and want something more casual, Spaghetti Italian Kitchen is perfect for you. While its ambience can be much improved due to its poor lighting and decor, the food more than makes up for it and it is highly recommended by us. The owner used to manage a Italian restaurant in Singapore for many years and has recently moved by to Myanmar to open his own restaurant.

The restaurant offers mainly Italian cuisine such as pastas and pizzas but you will find other Western dishes such as steaks, buffalo wings and burgers.

We started with a Seafood Minestrone Soup (Ks 1,400). It is a hearty soup and it came with plenty to chew - vegetables, shrimp and squid. A good way to get both the stomach and mouth warmed up for what is to come.

Seafood Minestrone Soup
Next is the 9 inch Hawaiian Pizza (Ks 5,800) that we ordered to share. Do also note that you can order by slice. The pizza was served piping hot on top of a decorative wooden block. The pizza is closer to the Neapolitan style, as its base is slightly thicker, softer and chewier than the thin crust style which you will find at Sharky's and Union Bar. R liked it so much that he ate 5 of the 6 slices.

Hawaiian Pizza

I had the Seafood Marinara (Ks 4,500) which had the spaghetti pasta sauteed together with prawns, mussels, squid and tomato sauce. Hence the flavors really permeate the spaghetti as opposed to what you get by just merely serving the sauce over the cooked pasta. Even with the additional step, the pasta was al dente. The sauce was delicious and had just the right amount of spice for me. Do request for it without the spices if you are not used to it.

Seafood Marinara
R had the more interesting choice of Seafood Parmiginara (Ks 4,500). The agli olio spaghetti is served separate from the parmiginara which had sauteed seafood in spicy Neapolitan sauce topped generously with mozzarella cheese. The contrasts work together very well in this dish - the acidity and spiciness of the Neapolitan sauce against the saltiness of the cheese and garlic-ky agli olio, the chewiness of the mozzarella against the springy pasta.

We tried the Spaghetti Bolognese on our first visit and it was certainly very memorable. You can even taste the beef and vegetable stock which the fresh sauce was made from. It had the right amount of minced beef, tomatoes and herbs to make every mouthful juicy and flavorful.

Spaghetti Italian Kitchen is one of our favorite places for pasta in Yangon and we are sure you will agree with us after you try it. The food is very affordable, welcoming to the tastebuds, and has a non-pretentious and homemade taste. It is the taste of the basics being done right.

15A Yadanar Street,
Myanigone Township,
(95-1) 524903

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Latha Street Kyay-Oh

Kyay-Oh, literally translated as Copper Pot is a dish which is widely eaten by the locals. It available in restaurant chains and in the alleys of Yangon's downtown. Kyay-Oh refers to the Copper Pot in which the dish, rice vermicelli in a savory broth is traditionally cooked in. Each bowl is individually cooked upon order and is usually served with pork meatballs, various pig organs, greens and quail eggs. It is a simple comfort food and is just perfect on a cool night in Yangon.

Since our arrival to Myanmar, we have eaten a fair bit of Kyay-Oh and would like to recommend to you this unassuming roadside stall, which in our opinion is the best so far. This stall has a considerable history and has been frequented by our uncles and aunties since they were young. While the actual cooking is now done by the second generation, the parents still keep a watchful eye over the stall, helping out where they can.

Usually after a banquet or dinner in a formal setting, we will head right to this stall for our "proper" dinner. Almost always, this meal is more satisfying than whatever we have had previously. We also somehow manage to make room in our stomach for this fairly large serving of vermicelli.

So much for the prelude. This stall is situated at Latha Street, the heart of Yangon's Chinatown. A minute's walk from the junction of Latha Street and Anawratha Road, it is just in front of Zaw Photocopy Shop (137 Latha Street). It is a really simple stall which is dimly lit by a few light bulbs. Foldable tables and stools surround the pavement and the road.

Other than Kyay-Oh, you can get appetizers such as braised pig innards (tastier than it sounds) and Pig Kidney "toke". It is recommended to get appetizers as the wait for the Kyay-Oh can be long as each order is cooked individually and upon order only. We had Pig Kidney "Toke" (Ks 3,000) which poorly translates to salad. It consists of blanched pig kidneys, sliced shallots and fried garlic in garlic oil (called sichet in Burmese). The kidneys are fresh and cooked perfectly. L absolutely never fails to order this dish.

Pig Kidney "Toke"
There are 2 choices for the Kyay-Oh , in broth or without and with pork meatballs or pork meatballs & various pig organs. To order the Kyay-Oh without broth, just mention "Kyay-Oh Sichet" and it will come with a generous drizzle of sichet in place of the broth. For adventurous eaters, you may want to try the Kyay-Oh with various pig organs. It comes with minced meatballs, kidneys, liver and a quarter of a pig's brain! To order, mention "Kyay-Oh A-Soung". But if you do not have such affinity for pig organs, order "Kyay-Oh A-Thar". You will not miss much as the meatballs are amazing.

Kyay-Oh A-Soung
R had Kyay-Oh A-Soung while I had Kyay-Oh A Thar (Ks 2,500 each). The broth is clear, flavorful and you get a hint of  the charcoal has been simmering it for many hours. Meatballs are tender, juicy and made with really fresh pork. As for the organs, they are cooked perfectly again, just enough to give a nice bite. It is a unpretentious dish that relies on the freshness of the pork and perfect cooking timing to make it really special. It is also a dish that highlights the very tasty and fragrant pork that Myanmar has to offer.

Silky smooth pig brains
This stall is highly recommended by us. If you are looking for a dinner after dinner or need something warm to fill up your tummies at night, come get your fix at this simple stall.

Latha Street Kyay-Oh
In front of Zaw Photocopy Shop, 137 Latha Street
Opens daily 4.00pm to 11.00pm

(There is also a DVD shop on the same side of the street towards the direction of Anawratha Road. Has extensive collection of old and new movies. Cap off a satisfying meal with a nice movie.)

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Thai Express - Myanmar

It has been awhile since our  last post as R and I have been pretty busy with our wedding preparations. Finally we are back to bring you all the good food in Yangon.

On languid Saturday, R and I decided to head to Junction Square to do some shopping and to have a simple dinner. With many small eateries at the 3rd floor of Junction Square, this restaurant called Thai Express drew our attention. The place was very packed when we entered.

Thai Express offers a diverse menu with Thai specialties and even Western items such as burgers. The drink menu is equally complete with coffee, fraps and juices. Being us, we just dived right into their Thai menu. We ordered one Thai Style Fried Rice (Ks 3,000), Squid Salad (Ks 2,800) and a glass of refreshing Lime Juice (Ks 1,000). Before sending in the order, the waiter asked if we would like to reduce the spiciness of our dishes, and we were like do-we-look-like-those-who-can't-take-a-little-heat?!" R proudly answered, "No, serve us the normal".

Squid Salad
One would usually do no wrong ordering squid in most restaurants in Myanmar. Squid is locally caught and is usually inexpensive, very fresh and succulent .The squid salad was mixed with red capsicum, onion, and slices of very powerful chili padi. As we have expected, the squid was fresh, the texture was cooked just right. Overall quite balanced but just a slightly too sweet for us.
Thai Style Fried Rice
The Thai style fried rice is definitely the highlight of the night. Fried rice is an easy dish to cook but very difficult to cook well. The rice must not be too dry and of and it absolutely cannot be sticky. And I have to say their fried rice has achieved this balance. What makes this fried rice outstanding is that the basil leaves has given a distinct fragrance to the fried rice. However, despite being big fans for spicy food, the level of spiciness is a little too much for us, (no thanks to our refusal to take the advice of the waiter). Thus, our advice to you is to request it to be less spicy, so that you can fully appreciate the dish. But nonetheless, we found this dish to be extremely shiok! (Singaporean slang for great!).

The lime juice is also worth mentioning, it is freshly made and perfect balance between sweet and sour.

Highly recommended for your causal dine out.

For our Singaporean readers, do note that this Thai Express is not the same franchise as the one which you are used to in Singapore.

Thai Express
3rd floor of Junction Square Shopping Center

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Le Nacha

Le Nacha is a fairly new restaurant and is located just a little further down Shin Saw Pu Road from City Mart Myanigone. The place is particularly charming at night, with laterns hanging from the tree which stands at the entrance.

The interior is done in the classical style but with some Asian influences through some of the decorative fixtures and the table setting. This is probably deliberate as the restaurant serves Thai and French cuisine. The 2 distinct styles are presented not through fusion but as separate offerings. We were later explained by the waiter that the owner is from Chiang Mai.

We decided to try the restaurant's French offering as there are only 2 or 3 French restaurants in Yangon currently and it has been quite a while since we had that. There is an French extensive menu, ranging from raclette to steak.

Grilled Prawn Salad

We started with the Grilled Prawn Salad (Ks 9,000). The 3 prawns were nicely done, fresh, with a nice spring to it and coated with just enough mustard based sauce. The salad was good, except that we would have preferred a simpler vinaigrette over the thousand island dressing which was too heavy.

Snapper with Mango Sauce

L had Snapper with Mango Sauce (Ks, 13,000) while I had Lamb Chop with Mint Sauce (Ks 25,000). The fillet of snapper was well seared on the outside and was served with reduced mango sauce. The sauce was really delicious as the fragrance of the mango stood out.

Lamb Chops with mint sauce

My lamb chops came with the mint sauce in a tomato cup. The sauce was jelly like in consistency and tasted quite refreshing from a bit of acidity. The lamb chops were extremely tender and without the rubbery fat around the rinds. It was perfectly cooked and was indeed the highlight of the dinner.

We will definitely come again to try its Thai menu and their many other offerings. If you like lamb, we would like to recommend you their very tasty lamb chops.

Le Nacha
86A Shin Saw Pu Road,
Sanchaung Township,

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Minn Lane Rakhine Rice Noodles & Seafood

This is one of our favorite restaurant in Yangon and is very popular among locals and foreigners alike. We were here just a week ago and we are back for dinner again today. It has a great bustling vibe that reminds us a little bit of Newton Circus in Singapore.

The restaurant is well known for its Moh-Ti (Rice noodles in fish broth) and its fresh seafood from the Rakhine region. Some seafood items are even air-flown to ensure maximum freshness. Its prices are also very reasonable and are a great value for money. From a commercial perspective, the restaurant enjoys an all day business as Moh-Ti is also commonly consumed for breakfast. Also, while seafood is relatively expensive (though cheap compared to other restaurants), its basic dishes are very affordable and hence the restaurant is able to cater to a wide range of customers.

Moh-Ti in fish broth
First up, their specialty, the Moh-Ti (Ks 600). It is a Rakhine take on the national noodle soup, Mohinga, which is more pungent and has a thick gravy. You can either order the Moh-Ti in a soup or dry. Our preference is the soup as you can really appreciate the silky strands of the rice noodles which are made fresh on order. You can also add to your noodles its legendary green chili sauce which is made by pounding chilies, lime and fermented fish paste in a good old fashioned mortar and pestle. Please start with small amounts of the chili sauce if it is your first time or it could get real hot and sweaty real quick.

The legendary spicy green chili sauce
We like the Rakhine Style Rice Salad (Ks 900) a lot and never fail to order it. It is a salad made from rice, potatoes, sesame seed, peanuts, the same green chili sauce and given a good mix by hand. Topped with a fried egg with a runny bright orange yolk, the rice salad and the moh-ti is probably the best you can get for under a thousand Kyats in Yangon.

Rakhine Rice Salad
A visit here is never complete without ordering seafood. We had Bamboo Clinch Salad (Ks 4,000) and BBQ Crab (Ks 5,500). The bamboo clinch (while this is what it says in the menu, we do not think its a widely used term) is a shellfish that is similar to the bamboo/razor clam. However, it is meatier, more succulent and more tender than the bamboo clam. The salad was simply bamboo clinch tossed with the spicy green chili sauce. Each bite of the juicy shellfish brings about a delightful firework in the mouth.

Bamboo Clinch Salad
The BBQ crab dish was served with 2 medium sized crabs and was topped with a generous heap of fried garlic, ginger, onion and capsicum. The crab was fresh and while perfectly charred on the outside, the inside was moist and sweet. We think that the crab might have been flash fried with the medley of seasoning to lock in the aromatic flavours.

BBQ Crab
This is a highly recommended restaurant and please try it if you have not. You can also splurge here if you so wish to as it also offers live lobster and mantis prawns. Whether you are on a tight budget or are looking for top notch seafood, this place is able to accommodate you.

Minn Lane Monti & Seafood
16, Parami Road
Mayangone Township
(95-9) 5502459

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We were at Taw Win Center when we decided to have a chocolate fix at this nicely furnished outlet. Chococity specialises in, as you may guess, chocolate. They also have chocolate confectionery in various forms, from chocolate bars to truffles.

We decided to order a Dark Chocolate Smoothie (Ks 3,000). It also came with a complimentary piece of chocolate in a neat wrapper. As impressive as the decor may be, the smoothie was a real disappointment. Our main gripe is that you can hardly taste the chocolate! It was diluted and lacked the creaminess one would expect from a smoothie. The ice was also blended too roughly. Also, the complimentary chocolate was surprisingly bland and a piece of Cadbury would have been more chocolatey.

Overall, a big disappointment for a place that supposedly specialises in chocolate. It also does not do justice to its really nice decor.

Taw Win Center
Pyay Road, Yangon
Tel: (95-1) 8600111 ext 1155

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Han Kook Kwan

We had initially wanted to go to another popular joint for dinner but it was fully booked that night, hence we proceeded to try this Korean restaurant, which is just a minute away. Nestled in a small lane off 7th mile Pyay Road, we were pleasantly surprised by the nice outdoor ambience at this restaurant. At the center is a pond with a big spinning water wheel.

Almost immediately we were served a spread of typical Korean appetizers such as Kimchi and various salads. As each table had a ring to hold a charcoal stove, it seemed that BBQ is the restaurant's specialty. With that in mind, we ordered BBQ Chicken (Ks 6,500) and Pork Belly (Ks 6,000).

We had a choice of having the meat grilled at the kitchen or at the table and naturally we chose to grill it ourselves. The meats were served with a generous side of fresh lettuce and green chili which R loves a lot. The chicken was well marinated in a sweet and tangy Korean sauce while the pork belly had a soy sauce based marinate. We particularly liked the pork as the grilling had rendered the fat to a crisp and was not too greasy.

BBQ Chicken

BBQ Pork Belly
We also had some carbs in the form of a Korean Seafood Pancake (Ks 9,000). The pancake was thick, had a nice bite and the seafood fresh. The carrots and leeks provided the delightful crunch.

Seafood Pancake
To top up an already full meal, we decided to try their Cold Noodles (Ks 7,500) because R saw it mentioned on their main signboard at the entrance. It was cold potato starch noodles served with an egg and bamboo shoot. The noodles were springy and unique but the sauce was something that we were not used to. It was a little too sweet for our taste but we are certain that this is how it is served in Korea.

Cold Noodles
We definitely recommend this restaurant for its grilled meat and lovely outdoor ambience. We will want to try their hot noodles for our next visit.

Han Kook Kwan
24(B), Pyithu Lane 7th Mile,
Mayangone Township, 
Yangon, Myanmar
Tel: (95-1) 662757

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