On its opening in 2016 Rau Ram immediately set itself apart from the Yangon food scene with a flurry of creative Southeast Asian fusion served in an almost speakeasy setting.
Nestled in an unassuming spot on the northeastern edges of downtown, the bistro this month reminds people why it has one of the most innovative little kitchens in the city by shaking up its menu.
Myanmore was recently invited to the chic venue to sample some of the new dishes. Past the bar is the dimly lit dining room, which has space for about 30 people. Rau Ram—named for the Vietnamese coriander—has a vintage-vibe, decorated with jungle motifs and furnished with dark timber tables.
First up was the green papaya laphet thoke, a vegetarian serving that set up a night of mostly Myanmar-flavored fare. The rich and creamy avocado puree contrasted with the bite and zesty flavors of the som tam.
Another light starter came in the form of the simple but interesting tomato and watermelon caprese, a fresh and juicy plate of fruit, honey and herbs that was leveled with a creamy coconut milk ricotta.
Heaped on one of the mains was pork neck and lemongrass salad, a meaty indulgence drizzled with Thai fish sauce and kaffir lime.
The Burmese fish curry was coated in a sweet tamarind lime curry sauce and lemongrass. The seabass was tender and had good creamy notes, plus it came with handmade noodles.
Rau Ram has jumped between Thailand and Myanmar a lot with these new additions. The Thai spiced roasted duck breast is a good example. The kitchen was generous with the duck—which sat nicely with the red coconut curry and was flavored by kaffir lime leaves.
Each plate was met with excitement, especially the huge river prawns overflowing with scoops of crab stuffing. It was the side dip though, a delicious Sriracha butter, that stole the show. Unctuous and with a subtle kick, the butter was the perfect dunking pool for the soft prawn meat.
To finish was a light coconut sundae of fried banana and rum pineapple, a fitting final chord to Rau Ram’s clever new additions.
Rau Ram is located 64B Yay Kyaw Street, Pazundaung Township. The restaurant opens daily at 6pm until 11pm.