Thursday, January 1, 2015

Noodle Salads - Mandalay and Bagan Food Guide

The main purpose of traveling to Mandalay is to see the Bagan temples specially during sunrise. 

But after coming back from the trip, I realize another highlight of our trip was the delicious local dishes we have tasted.  A wonderful scenery combined with delicious food, makes us a happy and healthy travelers!

During the trip planning, our Burmese friend gave us a very shortlist of must try dishes in Mandalay - Bagan, namely - Mee Shei and Mont Tee, both were Noodle Dishes.  So during our trip, we were looking for these two noodles, but we end up actually eating more variety of noodles / salad dishes.  

One common characteristic about their noodles are the rich thick tasty sauces! and often there is a crunchy meat included in it, which makes the dining experience enjoyable with various textures, colors and tastes!

Day 1 - Lunch at Mandalay

Before commencing our trip, we had a Lunch stop at YKKO restaurant (located at 30th street , between 64 and 65 street )  this was recommended by our friend who have tried it before in Yangon.  

YKKO at Mandalay

We learned that this branch was newly opened within the year 2014 only.  So not too many locals are aware of the direction.

We ordered - 

Seafood Noodle (dry)

Prawn Noodle (dry)

Pork Ribs Noodle Soup

All dishes were tasty! and is highly recommended for anyone.
Total costs (including a mango shake and a coffee) was 19,900 kts roughly around 27 SGD.

Day 1 - Dinner in Mandalay -

After coming back from Mingun, and Ubein Bridge, we have to catch the Bagan bus. Hence we only took the roadside eatery around the Mandalay Bus Station

Mixture of vegetables, and curries, we didn't get the names of these dishes, but all tasted not bad at all.

Day 2 - Bagan Breakfast

Arriving Bagan at 3 am, we were fortunate to have early checked-in at Manisanda Hotel, thus we were able to sleep for almost 2 hours.  Upon waking up, we want to catch the sunrise view, but at the same time we are already hungry.  So the best solution was to go up to the Roof top!  There we saw the wonderful skyline of Bagan for the first time, while having our breakfast.

Their breakfast set consisted -

Fruit Platter

Choice of either rice or vermicelli platter -

Rice platter - 

Rice Platter with Fritters

Stir Fried Vermicelli Noodle

Classic Egg and Toast with coffee, tea or orange juice was also included.  Their breakfast costs us only 2,000 Kts (3 SGD) per pax, those food are really worth it.

Day 2 - Bagan Lunch 

After 4 hours of temple tour around Ngyaung U, and Old Bagan, we had lunch stop at Moe Moe Win.

We tried the following dishes - 

Shan Noodle

Mon Tee Salad

Mont Hin Gha Noodle Soup

Mont Hin Gha Salad,  despite of the name this dish is still warm, and same texture as stir fried noodles.

Mont Hin Gha Salad

Total cost of only 5,000 Kts (less than 8 SGD), driver food was also included.

Day 2 - Bagan Dinner -  
After full day of Bagan temple tours, we decide to take a good dinner in a comfortable restaurant, walking distance from our hotel.

Marlar Thein Gyi

We learned that they have buffet for 35,000 kts per pax (46 SGD).  For health reasons, we decided to order their ala carte menu.

Pennywort Salad (Myin Kwa Yuet Thote)

Tart and delicious, my palate delighted at the combination of flavors in Pennyworth salad. The dish combines the bright green pennywort plant, lime, toasted sesame, turmeric oil, garlic, tomato…the list goes on, once again, according to local flavor preference. This is a favorite of mine–please seek it out and give it a taste. If you haven’t tried pennywort before, you owe yourself a taste!

12 Veggies Soup

Chicken Cashew (front plate) and Chayote (back plate)

Fish Curry

Fresh Mango Juice

The complimentary desert they gave us are these Bananas and native pretzels.  Surprisingly the green bananas were ripe inside.

Day 3 - Bagan Breakfast -

After our sunrise trip from Buledi, we return to Manisanda Hotel for their complimentary breakfast, they served us almost the same as the first day, but the vermicelli dish was replaced by a thicker noodle, almost like Pancit Canton in the Philippines.

Day 3 - Snack on the way to Mt Popa

We had a quick stop at one of the souvenir shops (palm tree products) along the way, and we were served with some tea leaf salad platter and green tea,

Tea Leaf Salad

Interesting taste of the tea leaf salad, not my favorite though, but  with green tea, I wouldn't mind having 2nd, 3rd, servings. There were also free taste of the local products - palm juice, palm wine,

Toasted Sesame seeds with Palm Candy

Palm Juice

They also provided a short educational tour on how they manufacture Palm Wine,

Palm Wine

We some bought of their local products like the Palm wine, Palm juice, Tamarind Candies and Palm Candies for pasalubong.

Day 3 - Lunch @ Popa Mountain Resort 

Late lunch at Mt Popa Resort - 

Cant find any other better spot than this! See the temple mount behind our table.  With cool weather on top of the resort, it was a perfect lunch setting.

Warm Prawn Salad

Asam Chicken Jawa

Popa Fried Rice

For our last dinner in Bagan, we had to squeezed it into our itinerary before we get picked up to bus station.  Hence, we bought take away noodles, and eat it in our hotel room, while some packs the luggage, another one takes a bath, so we didn't have proper photo of our dinner.  Overall it was still palatable, and even cheaper than our previous night's dinner. 

Day 4 - Mandalay -

After 5 hours evening bus ride from Bagan to Mandalay.  We got stuck at the toll gate to Mandalay due to the curfew which ends 3 am.  So we were able to arrive in Mandalay Bus station at around 3:30 am.  Due too hunger and exhaustion, we took a very early breakfast at 4am!

Roadside Eatery - Mandalay Bus Station

To revive our energy from almost a sleepless night, we had these chicken thighs, vegetables, and some sort of soup for breakfast.

Early Lunch - (8am)

After Mandalay City tour, we notice one dish from our checklist that was not yet satisfied - the Mee Shei!  So we stopped by a small eatery along the road -

Mee Shei

With choices of toppings, either a crunchy fried pork fat or a vegetarian crisps!  Total costs was only 5,000 kts (for 4 pax).
Crispy pork fat
Veggie crisp

Burmese salad and noodles – for me are the best dishes in Mandalay and Bagan.  These dishes are rich combination of flavors - with pickled fruits, cucumber, and toasted garlic in one version; crunchy tea leaves, roasted peanuts, plum tomatoes, jalapeƱo peppers, and crispy fried lentils in another.  It was a mission accomplished for our must try dishes in Myanmar.

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