NEW RESTAURANTS ON THE MANDALAY SCENE
The start of 2020 hasn’t been a great one for Mandalay. The plummet in the number tourists due to coronavirus outbreak has led to the closure of many small businesses, fires ravaged Sky Walk Mall and the main highway bus station and horrible air pollution has choked the city for much of February. Fortunately,there are some bright spots in the first quarter of 2020, especially in the dining scene. The arrival of Jupiter in mid-January followed by the launch of The Spoon in late February have given Mandalay foodies much to be excited about.
JUPITER RESTAURANT AND BAR: The passion project of two food and music lovers, Jupiter burst on to the Mandalay dining scene in early 2020. The stylish venue is an ideal place to meet for a drink with friends or to celebrate a special occasion with an indulgent meal. The menu has something for every palate. It leans heavily toward American-style dishes, with an emphasis on grills, roasts and pastas, but also offers a selection of Asian dishes, hearty soups and healthy, fresh salads. Best sellers include pork chops (8000 ks), ‘House Style’ signature beef (8500 ks) and Platter Pordito, a massive serving of pork, chicken and seafood with side dishes (18000 ks)
The vibe is relaxed casual, with live music adding a livelier buzz at the weekends. Jupiter is centrally located near the 35th Street and 68th Street junction but tucked away in a quiet compound shared with LA Music Studio and Amaravati Massage. On your next night out in Mandalay, pop into Jupiter for a meal- you won’t be disappointed. (Open daily 11 AM – 11PM; Yay Ni Canal Street, Between 34/35 Streets and 65/66 Streets)
THE SPOON: Mexican food lovers finally have reason to celebrate! Despite several restaurants in Mandalay offering quesadillas and burritos on their menu, none have come close to authentic Mexican tastes. Enter The Spoon, a shining gem in the Mandalay food scene. Located on the northeast side of town, the owner and head chef have taken a risk in opening an international restaurant in a mostly residential area- but it’s a risk that is working! The positive reviews are piling up from both local foodies and expats. Highlights are the quesadillas (6000-8000 ks), nachos (5000-6500 ks) and fish soft tacos (6000 ks) but the pizzas are also winning praise from hungry diners.
(Open Daily 9 AM-9PM; Corner of 58th Street and 20th Street)
BAGAN’s BEST WESTERN DISHES
Bagan has no shortage of restaurants, but the menus are mostly a repetitive mix of rice, curry, salads and soups. If you are looking for a culinary change during your stay in Bagan then check out these three dishes which are sure to satisfy your craving!
Pita Pockets at Hti Bar– Homemade pita bread stuffed with meat is always a winner. And after a busy day of temple touring, the pitas at Hti Bar along with a cold beer are the perfect way to refuel. The pita is just the right texture- soft but not too chewy, with a bit of crunch- and the accompanying tzatziki-like dressing is to die for. The Chicken Pita (6000 ks) features marinated grilled chicken with salad while the veggie option consists of homemade falafel with feta cheese and salad (6000 ks). (Open daily 9.30AM-11PM; Thiripyitsaya 5 Street, Nyaung U)
Pizza at La Pizza– Nothing is worse than a bad pizza and Bagan has quite a few restaurants that miss the mark by a mile. Thankfully there is La Pizza, which serves up delicious pizzas baked in a wood-fired oven. The thin base is topped with homemade tomato sauce and a range of ingredients from imported parmesan to locally-grown mushrooms, peppery rucola to sweet basil as well as more unusual items like anchovies and (the controversial) pineapple. Prices start at 8000 kyats and delivery service is available. (Open daily 11 AM- 10 PM, Thiripyitsaya 4 Street in Nyaung U + a second branch on the main road in New Bagan)
Super Burger at Café Friends– Café Friends is not easy to find but those who make the effort will be rewarded with some of Bagan’s best western food, not to mention great coffee. The small shop is at the western end of the Nyaung U market and has enough space to seat around 10 customers at a time. The Super Burger is not only a steal at 3,500 kyats but it is also one of the tastiest in town. The thick beef patty is freshly grilled and served on a delicious bun topped with a fried egg, cheese, lettuce and tomato. The price includes a small salad and a generous portion of delicious French fries. (Open daily 8 AM – 9 PM; Nyaung U-Bagan Road, across from Mani Sitthu Market)