In “Burma Blossoms” (October 2012), Matt Gross visits a recently reopened Burma to experience its cuisine—before the hordes of tourists get there. Here are six restaurants he recommends.
Danuphyu Daw Saw Yee The uncharming décor—fluorescent lighting, concrete walls—belies this restaurant’s high-quality Burmese cuisine, focused on curries and seafood. 175/177 29th Street, Yangon, +95-1-248-977
Taing Yin Thar Myanmar’s 135 “races” (ethnic groups) span dozens of different geographical subregions, from Himalayan mountains to tropical coastlines, and each has its own cuisine. Sample many of them here, in a semi-open-air restaurant. 5A, corner of May Kha Road and Parami Road, Yangon, +95-1-660792, taingyinthar.com
Sharky’s Founded by a Myanmar man who lived in Europe for years, Sharky’s sells locally produced cured meats and cheeses. Stop by for excellent gelato (passionfruit and durian are standouts), and bring home a bag of fleur de sel harvested from the Ngapali Coast. 117 Dhamazedi Rd., Yangon, +95-1-524-677
19th Street Grill Restaurants When the sun sets, the restaurants fill 19th Street with tables for hungry diners seeking all manner of point-to-order grillables, from mushrooms and chicken to pork ribs and fish, plus plenty of beer to wash it down. Most seem nearly identical, but several people suggested the one called Win as the best. 19th Street, Yangon
Golden Myanmar Buffet Bagan is famous for its prix-fixe all-you-can-eat “buffets,” where the hosts bring dish after dish—chicken, mutton, and beef curries, steamed cauliflower and stir-fried bitter melon, bean sprouts and fried fish—until you cry uncle. Of the many buffets here, Golden Myanmar (shown above) was recommended by Ma Thanegi. Near the Hotel at Tharabar Gate, Old Bagan, +95-61-60291
Pa Daeng Apart from the noodle shops at Kengtung’s central market, Pa Daeng and its neighboring lunch counters are the only places to eat Shan food outside of private homes. Expect tart stir-fried greens, complex pickles, and rich ground pork dishes with lots of herbs. Near Wat Hor, Kengtung