By Yuko Maskay
999 Shan Noodle House has been serving local Shan dishes since 1978. It opened a new branch at Junction Square in June 2016 with a brand new look. A family business that has its roots in home-cooked Shan dishes, the current owner Ma Le Le Win remembers enjoying these recipes as a child before introducing them at the restaurant.
What makes this place unique is that unlike other Shan noodle restaurants, the variety of noodles served here taste very different from each other. What also stands out is that despite its location in Junction Square, the prices are way cheaper than you would expect. Ma Le Le Win says this is to keep with the original idea of making food affordable for everyone.
The moment you enter this restaurant, it’s like you’ve come home. The waiters are friendly, the ambience is warm with wood furniture and decorations with hay and artistic depictions of locals to give the feeling of being in the farmlands of Shan state. Seats are a bit uncomfortable as they’re wood-based with no cushioning, but that’s a given in most Myanmar restaurants. Great for families, large gathering with friends or solo, the place just feels comfortable, welcoming and unrushed.
The Shan Noodle Salad (2,000 kyats), made with rice and Shan spices, is one of the most popular dishes. It’s a very good deal if you want to combine it with other dishes since the portion is a bit small to be considered a meal. Ma Le Le Win mentions that all the noodles have their own distinct taste and this is quite unique for a Shan restaurant.
The Shan Noodle Sweet Potato (2,000 kyats) is made with sticky rice and has a completely different taste: less spicy, more sweet with a touch of tamarind. Along with these noodles, we were served the traditional Shan beverage called Chinsaogar Juice (1,000 kyats) made from tamarind. Pungent yet the right amount of sweetness that goes very well with the noodles.
Along with these, don’t forget to try their Black Sticky Rice (2,500 kyats), which Ma Le Le Win says is the favorite of Japanese customers since it’s a bit like mochi. Basically, it’s deep fried black sticky rice that you can dip in sugar cane mixed with sesame seeds. If you want to taste a type of tofu unlike any other, try their Fried Tofu (1,500 kyats) that literally melts in your mouth after taking a bite of its crunchy outer layer. There are many other dishes available like vegetables, fish, pork, soups and salads.
Here is a type of restaurant where you feel like you’re not breaking your wallet to eat out every day. The meals feel very homey; combine that with the ambience and friendly waiters, you have a home run. Recommended for singles, couples, family and for business lunch to introduce your foreign colleagues to local delicacies, the restaurant enjoys a lot of repeat customers. The dishes feel like street food without having to worry about an upset stomach since a lot of care goes into ensuring cleanliness and hygiene. It’s easy to see why it’s still around after being in business for the last 38 years.
999 Shan Noodle House
Address: Junction Square and 34th St near Anawrahta
Opening hours: 9am – 9pm and 6am – 7pm