I was promising to find content for the food lovers, but haven’t been that active on this one yet, so let me give you the highlights of our first 2 months.
In South Africa and Namibia we were lucky enough to have a kitchen or BBQ (Braai) place available at most of our guest houses, so we happily benefited to cook our meals and to save some money at the same time.
2 places did stuck out though, one in Stellenbosch – “Basic Bistro” (http://www.basicbistro.co.za/) where we had a great curry with Chapati and pork with crisps and one sandwich place in Cape Town where they do the famous ‘Love Sandwich’ – Michelle Obama ‘s favourite sandwich ! The place is called “The Kitchen” and is located in Woodstock, a hipster wannabe area of CPT (http://www.lovethekitchen.co.za/). There are different versions of it but the one with Danish feta and aubergine was simply delicious and the owner is as vibrant as she is friendly .
We had some very good food in Nepal and we loved the national dish, Dal bhat – it is basically a lentil soup, a vegetable curry and some pickles with rice. We ate most of the time vegetarian in Nepal, especially during the trek as our guide told us the meat is not of great quality. We also saw sometimes little booths selling meat and indeed it didn’t look very hygienic^^
Once we were back in Pokhara we were craving something different as we had Dal Bath or fried noodles for nearly a week… the places that were really standing out were the “Hot sandwich corner and cheese shop” with the best sandwiches in Pokhara or even Nepal I dare say :). It’s a small place off the Lakeside road, very simple, unpretentious but the dwiches are tasty, warm and made with homemade bread. The Korean special is their staple sandwich and it’s reaaaalllly good.
Also we ate twice at an amazing Korean restaurant- Natssul. We were even tempted to go back the next day. We shared a Korean barbecue with our Spanish friends and on the side the bibimbap is super yummy!
Last but not least our favorite place – a vegetarian one (for the ones knowing how much Randy loves meat you know why this comes as a surprise). It looks a bit like a fast food restaurant and is located in the actual city center of Pokhara, Mahandrapul (Lakeside being only the tourists hub). The name is “Angan” and it features Nepalese and Indian dishes – their dosa’s are the bomb!
After Nepal we stopped 3 days in Bangkok and it was like heaven for food lovers like us 😅 We had lunch every day at MBK shopping centrefood court where you can have a feast for under 10€ for 2. This food court is not to be mistaken with the 5th Avenue food court, also in MBK, where you’ll find European food, I’m talking about the Asian Food Court where you’ll find all types of Asian cuisine and where you pay with a prepaid card. Be aware that the card is only valid on the day of purchase, so don’t forget to cash out or your money will be lost.
If you are in the shopping district make sure to pass by “Bake” at the Siam discovery centre, 2nd floor – the cheese tart, a mix of pastel de nata and cheese cake, might be the best sweet I had in my life! I wished I could have bought a load for a month, it’s really expensive for Thailand at 80 bahts a piece but what a delicacy!!! There’s a good reason why people queue for these Japanese pastries: it’s so damned good!
One evening we ate at Thip Samai, a place Randy discovered on his last visit to BKK and where he simply joined the queue (because you know if people are queueing it must be worth it). They make the best Pad Thai and a great show to see them make them too! It is close to the Wat Saket temple. Pad Thai is basically their only dish on the menu but it’s so popular among locals that the queue extend sometimes to the next block. Be aware of the 10 bahts extra fee if you want to sit inside and benefit from the A/C.
Now we are in Myanmar, said to have a bad cuisine…I definitely don’t agree! Well I have to admit, it’s not like in Thailand where anything you taste is good (at least that’s how I feel ;)) but you can definitely find some delicious local food.
It is true that they use a lot of oil, don’t expect Thai style creamy coconut curries here. It’s a way to preserve the food from bugs and flies so you’ll always find a layer of oil on top of the curries. So just pick out the meat or vegetables and ignore the oily sauce around. Myanmar cuisine is tasty and fresh, it features splendid crunchy salads, noodles soup or noodle salads and various curries, it’s spicy but not as much as Thai food, so again I do not understand people declaring it’s not good.
You can find loads of food stalls on every corner of the street, though be careful if the food is cooked on the spot and looks fresh. A staple are the skewers but the meat used is mainly giblets, so we skipped this. The savory and sweet pancakes are quite nice though. An important institution in Myanmar is the Teahouse, here you can find – as the name suggests- tea, coffee, snacks but often also a full meal. Teahouses are important meeting points for friends and families but were also places to carefully exchange political ideas during the military regime.
We had amazing food at the Rangoon Tea House (RTH) in downtown Yangon, an upscale bistro style teahouse, popular among tourists and expats, more expansive of course but the dishes are outstanding! It’s a modern take on the Teahouse and Myanmar’s traditional dishes, they do also great teas mixes, prepared in spectacular fashion.
The salads are delicious and the national dish ‘Tea leaf salad’ surprisingly good! We also tried the ‘Banana blossom salad with chicken’ – a great mix of tender chicken and crunchy nuts and steamed banana blossom. They also feature the national noodle breakfast dish ‘Mohinga’ ( a fish broth with vegetables, egg, spices and rice noodles ) and I can’t wait to try more of this! We actually ate there three times to sample as many dishes as possible.
In Mandalay we were a bit lazy and ate the 3 days of our stay at the same restaurant, a street restaurants called Shan Ma Ma. Here I had the impression to be at my Filipino step family 😅 you can find huge bowls of different dishes and you chose as per your liking. Topped with rice as much as you can eat, it was perfect and made us want to come back every day. The owner were very kind on top of it and made us try different things.
The same goes for Kalaw, we followed the recommendations of Marc, the owner of the guest house we stayed and went to Aung Nyein Chan Aung and ordered the traditional Myanmar style food which means you have plenty of little side dishes to taste – vegetables dishes, little fried fishes with chilly, curries, soup. Just make the gesture of showing numerous little plates on the table 😅 it ended up being very good each of the 3 times – tell them not to make it spicy though as there are dishes that really are. And it’s every day different as they cook fresh everyday from what they find in the nearby market. We paid 5500 Kyat for the 2 of us with a bottle of water – about 4€!
In Bagan and Inle we also continued tasting the traditional salads and curries and never had a bad one. You can see a few of them on the following pictures.
During our stay at Inle Lake we also took a cooking class but I will try to write a full post about this later.
I guess you are pretty hungry now, so bon appétit 😁