Yangon’s F&B scene has become interesting lately with hopeful newcomers making waves and established names upping their games. Sure, it is still a far cry from that of 2019 but you can smell the air of optimism these days.
Rangoon Tea House is not a stranger to Yangon diners. Although it has relocated from downtown to Golden Valley, it still managed to retain many of its customers. More than a year after its relocation, a second RTH branch opened its doors at Crystal Tower.
While RTH Golden Valley has an appeal of an elegant vintage house, its younger sister takes up a more modern look, sitting on a stylish sidewalk in the embrace of a bustling shopping centre.
It was a Sunday afternoon and the place was packed. Fortunately, there was a spot outdoors. Although it was a sunny afternoon, the place was unexpectedly comfortable thanks to the last breezes of the outgoing cold season.
Reservation is highly recommended especially on the weekends. If you want to sit outdoors, aim for the late evening since the weather gets only hotter from this point.
When asked if there were any new menu items, the staff replied no. So, the Prawn Puri from the lunch menu’s small plate section was picked to kick-start the lunch.
The inside was air-conditioned, dimly lit and quieter while the outdoor seats offered a view of lively shoppers. With the passers-by enjoying their weekend afternoon, a decorated walkway and fancy cars parked outside, you might think you were in a Thai rom-com.
After 15 mins, the first meal arrived. At Ks19,000 for a small plate, you would be forgiven for thinking it was expensive. But after seeing six scrumptious tiger prawns, you might start doubting your judgment. After the first bite, you would agree it was totally worth it.
The well-spiced prawns were placed on puri chips and covered in coriander and mayonnaise. Two out of the six puris were not crispy enough and a bit hard to chew. But it was not to the point that would ruin the whole experience. Those who do not like mayonnaise would prefer more traditional Indian curry prawns with puri. Still, it was a good starter.
Then, the undersigned moved on to the main dish: Mine Thar Pork Belly Grill (Ks14,500). Since it was early afternoon and the sun was high in the sky, a non-alcoholic drink would be a wiser option. So, the Honey Trap (Ks6,000).
Both took around 10 mins. The pork was quite nice. The succulent meat melted as it touched the floor of the tongue! It was written on the menu: “[the meat was] marinated in fresh chili, garlic, and ginger and cold-smoked to perfection”.
Whatever. You could see the time and effort poured into this meal just by the first bite and it was very appreciated. Mine Thar is an ethnic minority in Shan State, so perhaps it is how they prepare their grills. Just a guess.
The sour dip was good but its tanginess kind of overwhelmed the delicate flavours of pork and spices. Do try it with just a squeeze of lemon and the accompanying mint leaves and parsley. You could taste more of the pork and spices this way.
The drink Honey Trap was a great combo with the pork. The refreshing flavours of ginger tea and citrus juice were complemented by the sweet aroma of jasmine. Tip: stab the ginger in the mug with the metal straw a few times to enhance the taste.
Filled and satisfied, the undersigned was hoping to finish the feast with a pandan creme brulee. Unfortunately, the staff explained that only cheesecake in the dessert section was available for the time being. So, the lunch ended abruptly.
Despite some mishaps, the whole experience was memorable. The grilled pork is highly recommended and the drink is quite a thirst quencher. The prawns are a bit cloying but it depends on each person’s taste. And, hopefully, the dessert menu is ready next time. Looking forward to the third outlet!
Ground Floor, Crystal Tower, Junction Square, (next to Ippudo Ramen), Yangon
09 776 4366 53
7am – 10pm