On arrival in Yangon I genuinely did not know what to expect from a cultural, culinary, or drinking point of view. Well it turns out that people are really friendly, they have great food and the party? The party is at 19th Street Yangon.
And overall we also found that most importantly it was indeed safe to travel to Myanmar, with the overall vibe feeling extremely good and relaxed.
What the 19th Street Yangon?
After meeting a travel agent colleague, who we are hoping to arrange tours through, on seeing my beer belly he correct told assumed I might like a drink. After explaining I also rather like street food, he suggested I go to 19 Street “after 6pm”.
Said street is located perfectly near the downtown area, as well walking distance from Yangon Railway Station, the main Buddhist Temple and most of the hotels, which included mine.
Street Food Street 19
Despite actually being quite a small street people have rammed as much stuff in as they possibly can, which includes not only a bunch of restaurants, but also some truly epic Yangon street food.
The food situation in general is that the bars serve it, there are Myanmar style restaurants inside doing noodles, hot-pot fried rice, curries samosas an the like.
Most excitingly for me at least was on the far side of the street where there were lots of restaurants doing “Myanmar Street BBQ”. Overall this was fairly classic southeast Asia style BBQ, with aa few Myanmar twists to it.
These included, but indeed not limited to Myanmar sausages, as well as “pigs blood”, which usually comes soft like like tofu in other countries such as Cambodia, but here is bonelike “blood putting” style sausage. This was really good.
I also enjoyed their take on “pong muan ang” (ពងមាន់អាំង) of Cambodia, which is an egg that has been pierced and then had stuff like pepper added. I have had this in Cambodia, as well as in Thailand and although I still rate the Khmer version the highest, it definitely held its own.
The most epic part of the street food here though is that when you are eating and drinking outside hawkers come along with a plethora of different stuff, from simple things like chicken, to lemon salads, tofu and bugs! I honestly thought Cambodia was the only place seriously into insects, but apparently that is not the case. Alas I concentrated on meat!
Drinking on 19th Street
And while the street food on 19 Street was very good, the drinking on 19 Street was even better. From the explanation of my friend I had expected it to be a bit like Vietnamese “Bia Hoi” style, but in fact there are lots of very cool and very cheap bars on 19 Street. And by the looks of things this is indeed the place to hang out.
I went to a lot of bars, but the ones that stood out included “School Girl Bar”, which is an actual bar rather than a Street 136 Style “Girly Bar”. Not only were the vodka sour’s $1.50, but they were giving out free shots and generally had a great atmosphere.
Slightly less impressive was “Cuban Bar”, although they did have live music. We duly finished the bar part of the evening at T5 19th street, which had an awesome Long Island Iced Tea, as well as a great outdoor seating area.
After this I also got to try Myanmar Beer as I enjoyed BBQ and simply watched the world go by.
Overall I think that coming to Myanmar and Yangon with very few exactions was good thing, because not knowing what to expect I ended up genuinely impressed with what I was presented with.
So, if you do end up in Yangon, Street 19 should be on your nightlife in Myanmar to do list.