The beaches of Rakhine State (previously Arakan), located in Myanmar’s far west, have long been popular with foreign tourists due to their pristine sand, swaying palm trees and easy lifestyle, but there is one factor that appears to attract visitors. The food.
Located alongside the Bay of Bengal, the region is renowned for its vast variety of colourful and delicious seafood, which includes crabs, octopus, prawns and, the golden ticket, Lobster.
Fortunately, those in need of a Rakhine Seafood hit don’t have to endure the six-hour mostly bumpy journey to the coast, but can sample the delicious treats within Yangon’s city limits.
While there are a few restaurants that offer the food within Yangon, easily the most popular are the Minn Lan Seafood chain of restaurants – of which there are five chains within Yangon, the most popular of which is the one located in Sanchaung township (on the corner of Baho and Khittar streets and opposite Asia Royal Hospital).
Set high on a verandah that overlooks the bustling street below, this is Asian dining at its finest. The loud chatter of voices fills the air through the night and the waiters are constantly rushing between the busy tables, giving any visitor a genuine Myanmar-eating experience. But better than the lively atmosphere is the food. It is said that some of the dishes – most notably the Lobster – are flown directly in from Rakhine in order to maintain their freshness, and while this reporter cannot confirm this with certainty, anyone who tries the food will find it difficult to disagree with that assessment. For starters, the Moh-Ti – a Rakhine take on the traditional Burmese Mohinga – is highly recommended. Like Mohinga, the Moh-Ti comes densely packed with all sorts of smells and tastes that are difficult to pick out but enjoyable to taste. It is also worth adding chillies, limes and fish paste to the concoction to heighten the senses.
For the mains, it is difficult to pick out just a few dishes on such a varied menu but options beyond the aforementioned Lobster include the Soft-shelled crab, Preserved Prawns and the Bamboo Clinch Salad, all which mingle perfectly with the Seafood Fried Rice, which might well be the greatest fried rice you will try in the city.
It’s reasonably priced too, with a kilo of Lobster costing around 23,000 kyat (roughly $25), it is easy on the wallet, but great on the stomach.
Other restaurants are located in Sayar San Ward near Yankin, Inya Lake, Parami Road and Tamwe.