Mexican restaurants sprung up across the city a few years ago but have since been in dire decline with both Gringo Chilangos and Tin Tin vacating downtown Yangon. Mañana—a eatery serving up authentic Oaxaca dishes and ranking highly on Trip Advisor—managed to survive this downturn and I was thrilled last week to see it was opening a new location downtown.
Mañana has chosen a fantastic spot on Maha Bandoola and adds itself as another option to the growing nebulas of restaurants and bars around Bo Myat Htun Tower and the Urban Asia Center. I went to try its offerings on its first week of opening to see if it would worm its way into my list of downtown staples.
The restaurant is compact but brightly dressed with greens, yellows and reds and the walls are adorned with Mexican photos and works of art. This branch bills itself as Mañana “Express”—the setting and menu are tailored to delivering a speedy business lunch for nearby office workers. As I myself was on a lunch break, I put this promise to the test by ordering six varieties of tacos (2,000 kyats each) and a burrito (6,500 kyats). They did come remarkably quickly.
The menu is fairly simple once you grasp the concept: on the front choose one of ten fillings to have in a burrito, quesadilla, tacos etc and on the back are set dishes: rice bowls, nachos, guacamole, and a crème caramel dessert. Everything I ordered was fine, but a few dishes lacked the flavor punch I was expecting from a Mexican meal.
The chicken tinga burrito lacked enthusiasm. The texture of the pulled tomato-ey chicken was great, as was the squidgy rice and the chewy tortilla, but the flavor void left me slathering it in tomato salsa and still yearning for more.
Of the tacos, three stood out: The Myanmex Meda (brilliant bold flavours of garlic, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric with juicy beef and crunchy onion), Myeik style vegetables (finely chopped cauliflower, green beans, cabbage, and onions in spices and black sesame), and chorizo (simple spicy smoky sausage).
The spicy curry mutton delivered on large chunks of mutton but lacked any curry heat. The Viva Veggie was a great healthy option but wasn’t packed with flavour. The onion in the Yucatan pork swamped what was supposed to be an orange and achiote flavoured pork.
I will definitely return to sate my Mexican cravings and check if the restaurant’s misses have been transformed in to hits. Particularly since the manager promised us a 3pm to 6pm happy hour on tacos and margaritas starting soon.
Address: Bo Myat Htun Tower, Maha Bandoola Road, Yangon
Phone: +95 9 255 833 706
Hours: 11am to 10pm
Photos by Edmond Sailland.