For good food, and it seems I’m in the right place. After packing up and heading to the MK Hotel t’other side of town in the east of Central Yangon, where they out-serviced themselves with juice, early check in and lots of smiles. I’m pretty sure if they could have carried me up to the room themselves they would have done. To be fair, every hotel in Myanmar has been amazing with the service, cannot fault it.
Admiring the view straight into someone’s kitchen window from my room, I then left my bag and was soon walking back the way I came (amazingly, because then twice later I headed out in the completely wrong direction), before veering north once more for a nose around and then lunch at ‘Feel’ Burmese restaurant in the embassy area of town.
First up it was time for a bit of history, courtesy of the tomb of Dargah Bahadur Shan Zafar, who died in November 1862. He was the last Mughal emperor of India and had been exiled to Rangoon along with his family by the British 4 years before in 1858. He had been buried in an unmarked grave that was only discovered in 1991. I had read about him and his story in a book that titled exactly what it’s about , namely ‘ The Last Mughal’, by William Dalrymple. I wanted to see Shan Zafar’s final resting place. Resting being the right word as the tomb, and his wife’s are covered with a very nice silk bedspread, which are then covered with rose petals. It all smelt very nice, courtesy of the air freshener hidden round the back of Mrs Zafar’s own silk bedspread.
A slightly circuitous (of course) route took me to Feel, for an early lunch. Just as well that I got there when I had, as it was heaving and I ended up table sharing with a group of non-talking Chinese (to each other, I wasn’t expecting idle chit-chat and sharing pleasantries with me) with their Myanmar guide.
The waiter hustled me to the back of the restaurant where the curries were laid out in trays behind a glass counter and started to list all the different options, so I panicked and went all British and didn’t want to be getting in everyone’s way so ordered the meatballs at the front, ‘oh, you like spicy?’ said the waiter. We’ll see, I guess, and then we moved onto the piles of salads on small plates (the salads are called ‘thoke’ ) so I chose two salads – one ginger (Gin Thoke) and one tomato. Didn’t seem too much…..famous last words, which I’d have eaten, if I wasn’t soon to be so full.
Back at the table, I was delivered a mahoosive plate of steamed and raw greens with a chilli dip – that was a meal for 2 in itself. Then came the soup, which you seem to get with most Burmese food – a clear soup, often with noodles in and some chicken floating in it.
I was starting to get a bit overwhelmed by the amount of plates and bowls on the table, and the main order hadn’t even turned up at this point. Also squeezed on the table was a thermos of jasmine tea, three types of chillies – in vinegar, crushed or as a sauce, and then napkins and a small bin. Then my drink turned up followed by the mains, each on a plate and two plates of rice – one plate went back.
The meatballs were delicious, probably beef, possibly mutton – either way – the spices really brought out the flavour and they weren’t as spicy as I’d thought they’d be, well they weren’t until toward the end of the meal when I bit into one of those chillies that numbs your tongue, lips and roof of your mouth, as well as makes the hairs on your arms stand on end. Thankfully that didn’t last too long and the free dessert came in handy at that point to take away the pain. Anyhow, back to the main meal, everything was full of flavour and texture, no wonder the Chinese next to me were silent – they were just tucking into it all, savouring everything. The salads were something else, with the crunch of the peanut and sesame giving them really interesting texture and the lime and fish sauce coming through, as well as the ginger. My mouth just waters at the thought of them. Clearly there was way too much food and when the free dessert turned up – a kind of tapioca with jaggery I nearly despaired, till the moment I found that one evil chilli.
I took my time working through everything, like a dog with two tails, not sure where to go first. I was so very happy and so very full by the end of it, and was looking forward to a wander around the National Museum to walk off the food baby.
The National Museum was shut, what with it being a Monday and all, so waddled back to the hotel and then got lost wandering around nearby as my sense of direction completely failed me and I turned the wrong way coming back out of it. Took me a few blocks to realise that I was heading out of Yangon and not into it, however having course corrected I found myself back on track.
Having had my fill at Feel, I thought that a light dinner was in order. Rather than have Myanmar again and possible feel let down, it was time for European at Sharky’s, where I ordered the chicken salad. Should have read the reviews perhaps, as when it came it came there was enough for 3 as it was in a 12” tray, completely covering the base and was almost as high! The egg on the top looked at me mockingly, wondering how I was going to stuff all that down my throat.
Buying a new wardrobe was not on the agenda for coming away, but at this rate was looking increasingly likely. No amount of walking was going to resolve this!