Isabella Sway Tin and Htet Myet Oo were up against stiff competition in the prestigious KBZ Entrepreneur of the Year Award sponsored for the third time by KBZ Bank. Sisters Phyone Pong Yon and Ipkaw Pang who are behind the successful Root Kitchen, and Chef of the Year Chef Orng were the runners up. Isabella told Myanmore, “It’s a testament to our team that because of their relentless effort and trials to always succeed in whatever they do we really owe it to all of our employees, our staff and management team, and their support throughout the year and vision.”
Htet and Isabella were only 23 and 24 when they opened their first venue The Rangoon Tea House in late 2014. Within a short space of time the restaurant was named one of CNN’s Best Tea Houses in the World. They haven’t rested on their laurels though and after relocating the restaurant and opening the hidden Toddy Bar upstairs, they have recently launched the massively popular Mr Wok. Now the restaurant group RTH employs over 150 people, 70% of whom are female.
With three restaurant concepts in five establishments, RTH is a great example of how drive, determination and a positive approach to providing a quality product can result in great success. The founders of RTH have made an impact in the industry through their commitment, vision and values to achieving excellence. They have demonstrated a great ability to articulate their dreams, goals and ambitions into concrete successes. The members of the Myanmore awards judging panel were unanimous in the agreement to present the Entrepreneur of the year award to Isabella Sway Tin and Htet Myet Oo.
The Rangoon Tea House fast became an institution in Yangon, and visitors from all over the world deliberately seek it out to sample their innovative and unique modern takes on traditional Myanmar cuisine. Their extensive tea selection is still one of their key menu items and they sell in excess of 10,000 glasses of tea every month. Many of the visitors to the Rangoon Tea House never even realise that secreted away upstairs is a cosy and exotic Burmese cocktail bar that combines small street-side dishes and tapas with an international cocktail list.
Mr. Wok expanded quickly from its initial venue in Pearl Condo to four new branches within 15 months. They offer over 1,260 combinations of noodles and provide customers with a unique opportunity to enjoy a dramatic and theatrical cooking demonstration.
Whether the rumors about a second Rangoon Tea House are true is anybody’s guess, but one thing is for sure – Watch this space. Htet and Isabella are actively looking for new and exciting opportunities to expand their offering and we wish them every success in their endeavors.
Phyone Pong Yon and Ipkaw Pang
Sisters Phyone Pong Yon and Ipkaw Pang set up Root Kitchen in Yangon in 2016 with the intention of sharing not only the traditional ethnic foods from their home state of Wa, but also to share some of their culture and history to a wider audience who mainly will have not had the opportunity to travel there. It’s a simple concept that has built a good following and stood the test of time, this alone is testament to their passion, drive and hard work.
Chef Orng (ORNG Kitchen)
Chef Orng’s philosophy of love, passion and dedication is reflected in the high-quality food and excellent service his little restaurant is becoming famous for. Affordable fine dining food is a great concept, and has proven to be extremely popular in Yangon. Chef Orng has demonstrated that regardless of location, quality of product and service and attention to detail are very much the driving force behind success.