WHAT IT IS – Amongst the hustle and bustle in the heart of downtown Yangon, Mangalam sits unpretentiously on the corner of Bogalay Zay Street and Merchant Road. Mangalam, which means Mingalarbar in Tamil, opens a warm welcome to all of its diners. This four-month- old South Indian eatery has long been a regular luncheonette among the neighboring locals and expats working nearby. They serve healthy, fresh South Indian cuisines at reasonable price and a good variety of choices, ranging from breakfast Puri to heavy lunch rice sets.
ATMOSPHERE – It’s a tiny hub that hides behind all the crowding street vendors. The ambience is simple yet the seating fits just right with its economical 12.5ft frontage width. The pink walls adorned with Indian artworks and the faint traditional background music playing in a not-too- cold atmosphere gives the exact Bollywood vibe. What’s more? The sight of two native Indian chefs bobbling their heads to each other as they assemble the Idlis (savory cake) I’ve ordered is enough to work up my appetite.
RECOMMENDATIONS – To start off, we picked Hot Idlis (2500Ks) to silence the growling stomach. The Idlis are lightly battered and steamed to just the right softness. Almost a perfect appetizer for a bread lover like me.
Robin, the friendly manager of the place, recommended that we try their signature Uttapam (thick pancake) with tomato stuffing (2000Ks). They both came with three healthy doses of mixed Vegetable Samber, Coconut Chutney and Red Chili Chutney. This cleverly seasoned minced vegetable inside the soft and fluffy texture of Uttapam, perhaps, receives the most number of thumbs up at the table. It’s almost like an Indian version of pizza—Plain, Masala, Onion and Tomato are just a few toppings you can choose from.
The best part of the meal is the moment I poke my thumb into the crispy fried sphere Puri (gravy and puffed whole wheat bread), scooping up with Aloo, enlivened with the usual spices (2000Ks).
I ordered Hama Mangalam Vege Set (4000Ks) for the mains just not to feel so bloated after all the excessive starters. It’s quite frankly your choice when it comes to picking the sets because all of them (Eggplant, Chicken, Mutton) are favorable among its customers. My Vege set arrived in style: an elegant bronze moon-shaped tray was topped with three wonderfully arranged vegetable dishes accompanied by Dal&Samber. We find ourselves dunking into the Peas dish, using the chewy Chapati to sop up every last bit. Don’t forget to cool off a bit with mini cup of sweet Lassi (1500Ks) to complete with a flawless ending.
FINAL THOUGHTS – How often do we pass by this eatery on the Merchant road, without thinking of popping in for a bite? Way too many times. Well, it’s time to go this affordable and vegetarian-friendly place when you’re sick of noisy Chit Tee restaurants. What you’ll get is authenticity at its best.
Address – Coner of Merchant Road & Bogalayzay Street, Botahtaung Township
Phone – 09 773 909010
Opening Hours : 7:00 AM – 10:00 PM