It is seemingly impossible to keep up with all the new restaurant openings (and closings) in the Yawmingyi area of Yangon, but when I saw that a new Shan restaurant, Shan Kitchen, had opened, I knew I would have to visit sooner rather than later!
The restaurant is simply decorated, with just a few back lit paper umbrellas, an oversized hat, and a couple of shelves of knick knacks on display, but the simple decor suits its purpose well. All in all it’s a good casual neighbourhood restaurant that I can imagine visiting frequently if I lived in Yawmingyi.
Whilst there are no surprises menu wise, there was a nice selection of both familiar (Shan Noodles, Htamin Chin, Mee Shay etc) and unfamiliar (Mala Curry, Si Chak) dishes on offer and we decided to order a couple of each in order to see how good the kitchen really was.
The Lahphet Thohk, pickled tea leaf salad (2,000 kyats) was one of the best I have tried, with lovely yellow and green tomatoes and a nice balance of the tea leaves and all the fried toppings, combining to make a salad that was both fresh and satisfying. The Shan Noodles (2,000 kyats) were pretty different to other versions I have tried in town but had a good flavour, even if they were a little over cooked.
Next up was the Sticky Rice & Pork (2,500 kyats) a dish that I hadn’t seen on menus before and was looking forward to trying. The sticky rice came topped with cooked peas that helped add texture and flavour to the otherwise simple rice and we were encouraged to use the hefty portion of cracked black pepper it was served with to season accordingly. The pork was slightly sweet and had the appearance of having been sun dried, as opposed to fried and although it was simply done, the overall dish worked well I thought.
Our final dish was the Fried Dumplings (2,500 Kyats) which was a far bigger portion than we had been expecting for the price, although needless to say we polished them off all the same! Perfectly fried so as to be crisp and not oily, if I were being picky, I would have preferred a spicier dipping sauce , but otherwise these were pretty hard to fault!
They have a great selection of fresh juices available, with fruits including damsons, dragonfruit, passionfruit and strawberries. Beer is not listed on the menu, however they do serve large bottles of Myanmar beer as well.
All in all, the food at Shan Kitchen whilst simple, is satisfying, and we had a very enjoyable dinner indeed. Service is friendly and attentive, and the staff all seemed to speak a good level of English making it a cheap, safe and reliable choice for curious tourists and expats alike to explore Shan cuisine in a bit more detail.