Myanmar traditionally celebrates their New Year or “Thingyan” in April, a celebration usually heralded by the arrival of the years first rains, a welcome relief from the scorching heat we are experiencing currently.
Thingyan is celebrated with a country wide 5 day public holiday and it is common for many restaurants and bars to close (not to mention shops, markets and supermarkets) over this period in order to allow their team members to make the long journey home, in order to celebrate with their families.
Here is a brief round up of my recommendations of where to eat in Yangon this Thingyan, although as always, there will also be a huge selection of delicious street food & local food options available all over Yangon – do let me know your favourites to check out in the comments!
Mu Ai Kachin
This tiny little restaurant, hidden away in Hledan, serves traditional food from Kachin state in the very North of Myanmar, bordered by Shan state to the South, and China to the North and East.
The cuisine is notable for its heavy use of vegetables and herbs, as well as the fact it is much less oily than other traditional regional Myanmar foods.
Dishes to try include the traditional Kachin Chicken Curry (3,500 mmk) the aromatic Chanomeles Chicken Soup (3,500 mmk) “Shat Jam” Kachin Rice filled with herbs (2,000 mmk) the Steamed Lime Fish (2,500 mmk) and the Kachin Pork Curry (3,500 mmk)
Hledan 1st Street (Just across from the Hledan centre, at the far end of Hledan 1st street, on the right)
Yangons fanciest Indian restaurant, The Marina, serves a wide variety of Indian dishes, most notably their fresh seafood station which stayed remarkably well stocked during Thingyan last year.
Dishes to try include Prawn “Jhinga” Curry (13,000 mmk) a delicious South Indian coconut milk based curry, Palak Paneer (8,500 mmk) Dahl Maharaja (5,000 mmk) and their Rogan Josh (11,000 mmk) with a delicious fluffy naan (1,200 mmk)
There are cheaper Indian restaurants open during Thingyan (like Coriander Leaf) but The Marina is more than worth the little bit extra to ensure a really delicious meal.
63 Taw Win Road, Dagon Township (+95 9970550055)
Located on the first floor of the Queens Park Hotel, AJ’s is perfect for grabbing a quick beer and a burger (a steal at 9,950 mmk) but don’t be afraid to ask for their tasty local menu that is also available, just not as well publicised.
AJ’s – Queens Park Hotel, Corner of Bo Myat Htun & Anawrahta Rd, Downtown. (+95 9785422151) *** Photo From AJ’s***
With two handy locations, in both Pearl Condo near Inya Lake & Downtown, Mañana is the kind of place you can feel comfortable turning up to eat in when you are soaking wet from Thingyan games to enjoy a good meal.
The menu in Downtown is slightly smaller than the original branch, but still offers Nacho’s (12,000-14,000) Burritos (6,500) Quesadillas (7,500) and Tacos & Tostadas (2,500 per piece) in a variety of different fillings & toppings.
Meat lovers should try the “Lengua” Beef Tongue or the Yucatan Pork (Cochinita de Pibil) but my favourites are the “Baja Fish with Tamarind and Pineapple” (a classic version is also available) and the “Viva Veggie” with corn, black beans, peppers, onions and mushrooms.
Building C, Pearl Condo or Bo Myat Htun Tower, Mahabandoola Road just before Shu Tone & The Beat Bar
Located just a stones throw from the Shwedagon Pagoda and Peoples Park, the Savoy offers both a “serious” restaurant menu with everything from Salmon Tartar or Grilled Beef Tenderloin to Chicken Cordon Bleu, and what is probably Yangon’s best Caesar Salad. Sit by the pool, and you can also enjoy their great bar menu that includes classics like the Club Sandwich, a selection of Burgers & my personal favourite, their Tarte Flambé with bacon.
Expect to pay around 12,000-30,000 mmk per main course, or enjoy their famous set lunch menu from 20,000 – 25,000 mmk for 2/3 courses
The Savoy Hotel, Corner of Dhammazedi & Inya Road, Yangon (+95 1526289)
Perfect for a Pizza, Grilled Meats or French style charcuterie and cheese, Babett is probably also the best place in Yangon two head to for a glass of wine or two over Thingyan (so yes, you can expect to see me propping up the bar there one night for sure)
Expect to pay around 12,000 -17,000 mmk for a Pizza, 8,000 -10,000 mmk for a Salad and 18,000-35,000 mmk for a main course (they are currently running an extensive steak promotion if you are into that kind of thing)
Hotel G Ground Floor , 5 Alan Pya Pagoda Street +95 1243639
If you are looking for seafood during Thingyan, Min Lan is your best bet. The Parami Road branch is the closest to the festivities on Pyay Rd and is open from 11am-10pm throughout Thingyan
Try the Rakhine Monti Noodle Salad (around 2,000 mmk) the White Prawn Satay (6,500 mmk for 4) Seafood Fried Rice (4,000 mmk) and one of the numerous seafood curries or catch of the day, available in a variety of preparations (from 6,000 mmk up)
Min Lan (various outlets including 16, Parami Road & West of Maykha Road, Mayangone Township,Yangon, Myanmar)
Whilst Sharkys for town is closed, the Dhammazedi branch of Sharkys is open every day of Thingyan apart from the 17th
Open from 9am-9pm, head there for breakfast, grilled meats, cheese, charcuterie and more.
The skillet eggs with bacon is my favourite western style breakfast in Yangon, and even if you don’t fancy one of their delicious, cruelty free, hormone free rotisserie chickens or steaks, the vegetarian options (including a side order of the best tomatoes I’ve eaten in South East Asia) are plentiful.
Expect to spend 10,000-15,000 mmk for breakfast with drinks, and double that for lunch or dinner with drinks.
117 Dhammazedi Road, Yangon