Where to Eat in Mandalay

Below is a list of places that I’ve eaten at so far in Mandalay and would recommend to anyone who comes here. When first moving to a foreign country, or when traveling and touring, it can be hard to find places to eat at that you feel comfortable with whether you like trying out local cuisines or sticking with what you know.

This page will be updated regularly. Last update: 11/17/2014

 

Foreign Dining

 

Central Park

Central Park Restaurant and Bar as seen from 27th street. Photo courtesy of: http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/06/68/49/92/central-park.jpg

Central Park is a small restaurant and bar. It serves Western style food such as pizza, burgers, burritos, nachos, sandwiches, and tortilla wraps. Most of the staff speaks basic English while the owner and his wife are fluent.  Central Park offers delivery service.

The food at Central Park is quality food for a good price. Portion sizes are large and you can expect to be full when you leave. Pizza is made-to-order and oven-fired–some of the best pizza I’ve ever eaten in a restaurant. Central Park usually gets busy around 7 p.m. so head there early if you want to get a seat inside; otherwise, they have patio seating out on the street. During the day, you might find a couple of people sitting around having a beer or two but it isn’t very busy. It’s a nice place to relax under an open restaurant with a cool fan blowing on you in the shade. 27th street gets a lot of foot and motor traffic (there is also a pre-school across the street that lets out around 15:30) so you should visit for a while if you enjoy people watching or observing the everyday life of Mandalay. At night, expats frequent the bar here and the ambiance of the restaurant is mellow although at times it can get boisterous. I often eat at this restaurant since it is located next to my apartment in Mandalay, the prices are reasonable, and the food is good.

Hours:
9:00-10:00 to 24:00 every day of the week.

Prices:
The price for dishes ranges from 3,000K to 5,000K depending on sides. Pizza prices range from 5,000K to 10,000K depending on toppings and size.

Address:
Myamandalar Hotel
27 St., between 68th and 69th
Mandalay,
 Myanmar 05072

Phone #:
991013500

Inside Central Park. Photo courtesy of: http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/05/b4/a7/00/central-park.jpg

 

Koffee Korner

The front of Koffee Korner as seen from 27th street. Photo courtesy of: http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/03/7e/3c/94/koffee-korner-from-the.jpg

This restaurant aims for trendy ambiance and offers the customer an alternative style dining experience. During the day, customers may feel like Koffee Korner is a normal eatery; however, at night, the blue-hued lights turn on and this restaurant is transformed. Combine this atmosphere with the aquarium inside and you get a dining experience rarely found in Mandalay. The restaurant is furnished with contemporary art, Turkish-styled seating (although there is space in the floors  to put your legs down) along the walls, and chair-table combos that allow you to dine and relax. Wi-fi service is free and passwords are provided on the place-mats where you eat. Air conditioning is also provided indoors.

The dishes at Koffee Korner cater to a wide range of tastes. It may be compared to American style dining in which food from multiple demographics is offered but with a hint of processed, sweetened, fried, or fatty undertones. However, the restaurant does batter all food in-house which is contrary to most chain eateries. Most dishes fall into the categories of American, English, Thai, Myanmar, Chinese, or Italian. The food quality is average for the price but portion sizes can be small depending on the dish you purchase (such as the burgers or sandwiches). The drink menu is as thick as the food menu and includes many types of coffees, juices, shakes, teas, alcohol (wine, mixed drinks, beer or liquor), soda, and smoothies. The down side to having such a big drink menu is availability–many times I have been told that a particular type of drink is not “in-stock.”

Hours:
Open from 9:00-23:00 every day of the week.

Prices:
Prices are wide-ranging with dishes starting at 2,500K and going up to 16,000K. Be aware, government taxes and service fees are applied to the final bill.

Address:
On the corner of 27th St. and 70th St.
Mandalay, Myanmar

Phone #:
09 40044 5357


 

Local Dining

My first piece of advice is don’t be afraid to try something new or local. It can be daunting–whether it be the language barrier, the way the food looks, or the condition of the restaurant–but you are usually rewarded with the discovery of the new use of a common ingredient found in your own recipes, a new way to combine old ingredients, or simply the delight of something your taste buds have never experienced before. My second piece of advice is this: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it! Most street dishes in Asia are steeped in oil–this is not done with the intention of clogging your arteries or causing strange bowel movements. It is done in order to protect the customer from the growth of bacteria. My third piece of advice for eating locally: if people are lining up and filling the restaurant to eat, it is safe. While the conditions of the restaurant may seem abyssal to foreigners by Western standards, it is ironic that the only times I have been poisoned by food is when I have eaten at a Western style restaurant.

Some points about traditions and customs in Myanmar related to cuisine:

– You eat mohinga for breakfast. There is a wide variety of preparation styles and spicy additions, but the main ingredients are rice vermicelli, fish sauce, ginger, onions, garlic, banana stem, and lemongrass mixed into a soup.

– You may cross your legs while sitting in a chair and eating.

– If you’ve eaten, you must have tea.

– White rice is served with all dishes unless you are getting soup with rice vermicelli or rice noodles.

– At buffets, you pay for what you want.  At formal parties, you are over-served.

 

68th Street between 28th and 30th

This street is the first place that Danielle and I ever ate at in Myanmar. It contains a multitude of shops and open-air restaurants for locals–it isn’t meant for tourists or foreigners but this shouldn’t prohibit you from going. The food and prices are worth the stares you get when you walk in; moreover, you will get a chance to see how the everyday Myanmar citizen eats. At the corner of 68th and 30th street there is a popular Western bakery.

Marie – Min

IMG_0521
The view of the entrance of Marie – Min as seen from the alleyway.

Marie – Min Vegetarian Restaurant is a great place to munch down even if you are a meat-only eater. I have eaten there many times and have come away completely satisfied and full. It is an open-air restaurant located on the second floor of a modest concrete building. It can be only found by walking down an alleyway–there is a sign that marks the entrance to the alleyway, along with another sign that advertises for Thai cuisine below it, on the north side of the street. The restaurant has been open since 1979 which attests to its competitiveness and quality of food.

Most of the dishes offered at Marie – Min are variations of different Indian cuisines: curries, salads, egg, pancakes, unleavened breads, and rice. Marie – Min also offers juices, milkshakes, lassis, tea, coffee, and desserts. I always order the Egg Curry (3000K) with Chapatti (500K per) and have no wish or need to try anything else. It makes my heart sing, my mind sublime, and my stomach distend. I can’t ask for much more from a dish.

Hours: 10:00-22:00

Prices: Most of the dishes range in price from 500K to 4000K.

Address:
On the North side of 27th St., between 74th and 75th Street
Mandalay, Myanmar

Phone #:
09-402540371

 

Namkham Shan Noodle – More info to come in the future

Hours:

Prices:

Address:
No. 49
66th St., between 30th and 31st
Nan Shwe Htay
Mandalay, Myanmar

Phone #:
09-402540371

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