In doing a little research for my recent trip to Yangon I saw that there were only a couple of new bar and restaurant openings of much note since my last trip in 2014, with Port Autonomy being one of them.
Originally located (you guessed it) down near the docks in downtown Yangon, they were apparently forced to close due to not having the correct planning permission and have since relocated to Kabar Aye Pagoda Road on the outskirts of town, making it a convenient spot for drinks and dinner after watching the sunset at the Shewedagon pagoda.
I started with a Gowanus Negroni with burnt orange at 7,000 Ks ($6 USD) which was well made and ticked all the boxes, as I tried to narrow down what to eat from the eclectic menu that listed everything from Kimchi Quesadillas ($10USD) to a Porchetta Banh Mi ($11 USD) and Hot Fried Chicken with a Gochujang glaze ($11 USD)
In the end I decided to try 2 of their specials; a Saigon Taco ($3USD) with Vietnamese pork meatballs, nam pla pickles and fresh herbs and the Gagnam Style Samosas ($10USD) filled with Gochujang pulled pork, kimchi and an avocado cream.
I loved all of the fresh herbs in the Saigon taco and the fact that the Vietnamese sausages inside had also been prepared with a lot of herbs helped to make for a nice light starter. I would have liked a bit of spice in there (oooh imagine a Thai style Sai Oua Taco!) but I suppose that would have taken away from all the different herb flavours and freshness.
Samosas are something you see on every street corner in Yangon and so to see them prepared in such a contemporary way was a bit unexpected, but a lot of fun! The pulled pork had excellent flavour owing to the use of the Gochujang paste in the cooking process and they weren’t at all oily as I had been worried they might be. Really, really delicious!
I finished with a Watermelon Pickleback, a shot of tequila with a watermelon chaser, which whilst refreshing had nothing on a classic pickleback with whisky and pickle juice. I think I maybe would have preferred a chaser of sangrita or something similar but it was interesting to try something different all the same.
Dinner with 2 cocktails came to just over $25 which although very expensive for Myanmar (a bowl of outstanding Shan noodles will cost you under $1 at most local restaurants in the City and street food can cost as little as 20 cents) was definitely money well spent and as someone who lives in Asia, I certainly appreciate having different options available to try in addition to enjoying all the wonderful local cuisine.
Port Autonomy (open daily 11am-11pm)
22 Kabar Aye Pagoda Road
+95 9 253 710 651