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Yangon, Myanmar reviews

Let me first say I love Burmese food. Or what I'd had of it back home in California. So I was very excited to chow down in Myanmar on a quick weekend trip. What I found was that it was a little bit harder to dive in than I expected, and what I found wasn't quite what I was expecting. At home I love that it seems like a blend of Thai, Indian, and Chinese (apologies if this is overly simplistic or totally ignorant), but in person I found things seemed rather Chinese or Thai alone in inspiration. We didn't go to any just Indian places. I didn't try the iconic mohinga fish stew, so something to look out for next trip!

999 Shan Noodle House -- this place is fantastic, probably the best noodles I've had (and I live in Singapore, where we have plenty of noodles around). Everyone who goes to Yangon should go here at least once. We went for breakfast a bit late on Saturday, maybe 10am. There were a couple of tables eating, which were all done leaving us as the last diners when we finished. I asked for recommendations and the waiter suggested the Shan Noodle Soup and the Sticky Shan Noodles, so that's what the bf and I had. Loved my sticky shan noodles -- rice noodles with a peanuty gravy, and little bits of chicken on top. The bf gobbled up his soup at rapid speed and loved it. They also served some spicy pickled vegetables and a bowl of chicken broth with mine as my noodles were "dry" -- but not at all actually dry, just not soup. With coffees and juice, the bill was around $5. This place is clean, orderly, and very friendly. The menu has English translations, the adult waiter spoke good English and quite friendly, and the aunty was a gem. They've had a write up in NYTimes 26 hrs in Rangoon and also have a #4 ranking on tripadvisor, so definitely foreigner-friendly. The best part, we asked the aunty who runs the shop for some other food recommendations after a long chat and then I inquired where to find tea leaf salad, because it's a favorite at the California restuarants I've been to. She explained they usually it eat as a dessert after any meal, and sent one of the waiter boys to fetch some from her house for us! She added the dried shrimps and garlic to it, and oh man it was wonderful.

Le Planteur - I was worried weather we should both splashing out an expensive restaurant when we had only a few days in BUrma and so much eating to be done. I wanted something special for my bf's birthday so decided to go for it. It's a very pretty colonial old home, but we forgot to nose around the inside much. They placed out on the balcony in a very romantic and isolated spot (I asked for a romantic spot for the bday). The food was good but not what I think of as coming from a Michelin chef, to be honest. I had a nice starter of scallops, squid, and mango salad. There were a couple scallops on the side, no sear which was a shame. The dressing and combo of the salad was spot on though. For the main, I had their supposedly famous spicy seafood pasta. It was a good value based on the rest of the menu ($28) and chock full of seafood, but only one bit of the lobster, which they are supposed to be known for. This was ok, but could have been a dish at any decent Italian place in the world. The wait staff were sweet and brought out a surprise bday dessert with sparkler, much to the embarrassment of my fella. He ended up mistakenly with a wagyu strip at a pricy $64 when he tried to order a lamb stew! But the bite of meat I stole was excellent. As a kitschy side, they will pick you up or take you home in one of their vintage cars -- the bf loved that part.

19th Street in Chinatown -- We came to this area two nights for beers and food. It is where to go after dark for food and there street is lined with restaurants, tables, food carts, and BBQs for satay and all sorts of skewers. We preferred our meal at a place called Win Restaurant where we had a fresh grilled fish ($4), chicken satay, and some very good fried rice. We had drinks at Kosan, as mentioned in the NYTimes article. Nothing special there! We did have an 80 cent mojito, but then quickly went to the less touristy places for a local Myanmar beer, which is only about $1.50 for 660ml.

Feel Restaurant - there are a few outposts of this place, and I was wary because it has a website and screams tourist to me. But we went for a late Sunday lunch around 2:30pm and were the only white folks there. The wait staff were helpful in English though, but no English menu. They walked us up to a bar up front with lots of the curries and rices and explained what they were and we just pointed and ordered that way. Had a delicious catfish dish that seemed like dried then shredded catfish, so-so sweet and sour tofu (the tofu was good but the sauce seemed sickly to me), garlicky kailan, and a couple of things. Overall, I would recommend it for a way to try a lot of dishes quickly.

about 9 hours ago
selectiveomnivore in China & Southeast Asia

Mussels

Plouf on Belden Lane has several mussel varieties and can be a lively lunchtime spot, with outdoor seating.

Maybe Bar Crudo?

Apr 06, 2014
selectiveomnivore in San Francisco Bay Area

Mother's Day brunch - Oakland/East Bay

Mom and I love Bocanova for afternoon happy hour. It's a nice spot for a chat and a south american-y cocktail and nibbles. The outside big tables is a good call for a group like ours. Will keep this one in the mix.

Apr 06, 2014
selectiveomnivore in San Francisco Bay Area

Mother's Day brunch - Oakland/East Bay

great idea - leading contender I think...

Apr 06, 2014
selectiveomnivore in San Francisco Bay Area

Mother's Day brunch - Oakland/East Bay

I gave Haven a call, and they're only doing their family style brunch. No options, one set meal. While the current one posted sounds great, I don't think I can subject 7 people to it and might be a bit dull for a group that size.

Apr 06, 2014
selectiveomnivore in San Francisco Bay Area

Mother's Day brunch - Oakland/East Bay

Any feedback on brunch at Haven?

Apr 03, 2014
selectiveomnivore in San Francisco Bay Area

Mother's Day brunch - Oakland/East Bay

Hi - I've been out of the Bay Area a few years now, and a bit out of touch on happening food and especially brunch spots. I'm looking for a place that i can book for 7 adults (and one baby) for Mother's Day brunch. Most of the brunch places I would fall back on are walk in only. Hoping for something more on the side of interesting rather than standard fare. Something like Camino would be good, only not Camino as the family is already there a lot. Looking for something slightly special for the two moms in our crowd. Any help and ideas appreciated!

Apr 03, 2014
selectiveomnivore in San Francisco Bay Area

Sydney and Queenstown advice

Hi there - I'm a SF, Californian living in Sydney for shy of two years now. I haven't done all the eating i'd like to here yet, but I've had an OK run and also spent some time in Queenstown last year.

Quay -- I do have to say I had a super disappointing meal at Quay on my one visit. They subbed ingredients out of the truffle dish and tried to pass it off, there was a failure of a beef dish, etc. However, the wine service was great (we did two bottles, not the pairing).

Bentley -- My brother who was visiting commented our dinner at Bentley the next night was way better than Quay and at have the price.

Aria -- If you're staying near the Rocks you might consider a quicker dinner from Aria's pre-theatre menu (not a casual dinner, but not a serious commitment, beautiful dining room, and view of the Opera House) [editing to say I just saw the comments below now that you're looking for a longer dinner near the Opera House - can't comment on Aria vs Guillaume, but can say I found the pre-theatre menu at Aria to be quite good. Decent portion sizes for a 3 course meal, which was appreciated by my hearty-stomached dad who was being forced to go see a show in the first place. But the food was interesting and refined enough to please the rest of us.]

For Queenstown, we had a few good meals for sure.
- The Bunker - tasty, hearty, solid, but refined meals and a decentish wine list (not extravagant but some interesting options). This place was also just super cool vibe inside, sort of like hunting lodge meets university club. The Bunker was a pleasant surprise and we actually went twice in our visit
-Amisfield winery - some interesting dishes and a lovely place to sit outside, but it didn't wow me.
- True South - at our hotel (The Rees) but very good
- in Wanaka (45 mins from Queenstown) our favorite meal was at the White House. They have a great by the glass wine list that is ever-changing and fun, interesting food that felt very fresh. I was surprised how tasty my smoked mackerel salad was, and the service was very pleasant.

Do you like cocktails? In Sydney Eau de Vie (Darlinghurst) is my favorite and in Queenstown we had some surprisingly good cocktails at a fun place called The Naughty Penguin. Be warned cocktails over here are way pricier than their counterparts in North America and Europe.

Jul 11, 2013
selectiveomnivore in Australia/New Zealand

Sydney and Queenstown advice

I really second the rec to visit Australian Wine Centre in Circular Quay. I avoided it for a while assuming it was a tourist trap (situated next to shops selling fake Uggs and a Starbucks), but they know their stuff and will talk through with you. Just let them know what you like and are a bit serious, because they do get a lot of people coming in asking for "you know something white from New Zealand, do you have anything?" And as for getting the tourist refund scheme, there are a couple corrections. I think the amount is $300 from one store and you actually get back more than just the 10% on wine. You get back that 10% GST but also a 14.5% WET tax, so nearly a quarter of your bottle price gets refunded. At least that was my experience in June 2013. You do need to stop by customs before checking your bag so they can "sight' the goods and confirm they are leaving the country.

Jul 11, 2013
selectiveomnivore in Australia/New Zealand

cajun ingredients in Sydney

I should have updated this. I found file powder after doing some phone calls. They sell it at Herbie's Spices in Rozelle, where they also have a bundle of other spices and mixes that may make an American happy and help a bit of homesickness.

Jul 01, 2013
selectiveomnivore in Australia/New Zealand

New Zealand brewpubs/breweries

In Rotorua there is a beer place downtown called BREW that has a variety of their own beers on tap and makes a fun stop.

In Wellington, I was really impressed by the variety and range of craft brews at Hashigo Zake, a fun dark bar only a couple blocks from the Te Papa museum. We were there at after work time on Thursday and they had free nibbles at the bar, too. Sushi, duck breast on crackers, etc. I'm from California, living in Sydney and haven't seen so many craft beers from my beloved West Coast in a while. I didn't try them as I was more interested in the NZ beers, but the breadth of coverage they had was amazing.

Dec 09, 2012
selectiveomnivore in Australia/New Zealand

Sydney - birthday dinner spots, mid-range

great, thanks PhilD!

May 28, 2012
selectiveomnivore in Australia/New Zealand

Sydney - birthday dinner spots, mid-range

I am interested in Fix St James, especially with the wine program. Is there any feedback on their "let them decide for you" menu? I like the less formal tasting menu approaches (don't really enjoy the fine dining degustation with stuffy, stiff service and structured eating) and tend to enjoy places wehre you can easily share food and try lots of things.

What's the atmosphere like at Felix and Pendolino? My flatemate took a first date to Pendolino but I never heard of a second one ;).

May 28, 2012
selectiveomnivore in Australia/New Zealand

Sydney - birthday dinner spots, mid-range

Hi all - I've gotten such good tips here, I thought I'd come with my latest query. My birthday is in about a month, and still being somewhat new to Sydney, I am not sure where I'd like to go. I am thinking for 2 (me and my fella) on a Friday night. A few preferences/guiding thoughts:

- accepts bookings for tables of 2
- I live in the lower north shore and he's a bit farther north, so somewhere not too much of a hassle to get home from after a few drinks and dinner (so city, or accessible city suburbs, or lower north shore I guess?)
- prefer a fun or intimate but not stuffy or uptight atmosphere, something cozy but not in-your-face romantic maybe?
- mains in the $30s
- decent wine list or cocktails or BYO
- bonus points if you can recommend a good bar beforehand for drinks; definitely easier in some suburbs than others, I know
- for type of cuisine, I am open to most things, but my least favorites being Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. I will have just spent time back home in California, so should have had my fill of good Mexican and latin foods.

May 27, 2012
selectiveomnivore in Australia/New Zealand

cajun ingredients in Sydney

Thanks, I will look into these options. Sounds like Fiji Market is worth a visit for all sorts of fun ingredients.

May 07, 2012
selectiveomnivore in Australia/New Zealand

cajun ingredients in Sydney

I'd like to make some gumbo, and could use some help in finding the right ingredients. In particular, I would like to get my hands on some file powder and some andouille sausage. Any helpful suggestions?

Apr 29, 2012
selectiveomnivore in Australia/New Zealand

Melbourne - mid range dinner

Wow - fast response! Thanks. I meant to mention Cumulus looked like a good option, and I was surprised it fit the price based on recs here. Good news, I guess. What is the wait like on Sunday evenings?

Also - how is the food at the Little Creatures brew pub? Nothing to write home about? I like their beers and so does guy coworker.

Mar 21, 2012
selectiveomnivore in Australia/New Zealand

Melbourne - mid range dinner

I'm trying to figure out a good spot for a Sunday night dinner with two coworkers in Melbourne (we'll be down from Sydney). While we're on a business trip, it isn't really an all out expense account sort of company culture, and we won't have clients - just ourselves and no bosses - so don't want to go all out. However, I've been tasked with finding a "nice" restaurant in Melbourne. I think mains in the $30s would be a comfortable range. There's just 3 of us:

- one woman who I think is generally not very adventurous in eating habits but is impressed by "fancy" places (e.g. before a client lunch at Quay, she said "we're going to one of those places where I can't pronounce anything on the menu...should be great...as long I don't get something too weird")
- one guy who will eat anything and everything, not into fussy
- me, a San Francisco transplant into good food and smart use of quality ingredients and still in sticker shock at Australian restaurant prices

When i was in Melbourne a few months ago, I dined solo at Movida Next Door, and thought most of the food was quitegood but did have a hard time swallowing the price for some of the items. $5 for a croqueta (approx) feels steep when you compare to Spain!

I am struggling to see where to go since so many Melbourne standouts seem to be just degustations, and I don't think that's the way to go for us. Any help would be much appreciated!

Mar 21, 2012
selectiveomnivore in Australia/New Zealand

New Oakland food truck spot - Grand Ave

that's a different location - that is 21st and Webster

Feb 14, 2012
selectiveomnivore in San Francisco Bay Area

Planning a honeymoon in San Francisco and need some help...

Waterbar and Epic Roasthouse are neighboring restaurants, so I wouldn't do both in one trip for the sake of diversity. Waterbar is perfect for a lunch or afternoon of cocktails and raw seafood (it's a favorite for my mom and I to do drinks and oyters and waste a couple hours). If you sit outside on the patio you can watch people go rollerblading, biking, and walking past on the Embarcadero. Combine with a stroll to/from the Ferry Building, where you could have that drink at the Slanted Door if you're still keen,

Restaurants with views in SF are pretty focused on the Embarcadero, in my opinion. There are also other great places that are more of a people watching view scattered around the city. La Mar is a peruvian restaurant on the Embarcadero that also has good water views, particularly if you sit outside. They have a decent cocktail list, obviously with a South American slant. Lots of seafood options.

Boulevard is another good restaurant where a window seat could give impressive views. Not sure on their cocktails, though.

Jan 14, 2012
selectiveomnivore in San Francisco Bay Area

New Oakland food truck spot - Grand Ave

Yes, it's still happening in 2012. A family member works in the office building there that's coordinating. Reportedly all the trucks are pleased with their numbers so far and intending to continue, although the Wednesdays will be every other Wednesday unless another truck comes in. The lot was empty over the holidays for most of a couple weeks though.

There will also be limited parking available in the lot - you won't get towed if you park next to the truck just while you wait for food.

You can always check Roaming Hunger (though not 100% accurate) or the individual trucks pages and twitter feeds to see if they will be there before you head over.

Also, there is an Ike's Lair opening right in Uptown, next to Plum. Should be a nice lunch addition to the neighborhood.

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Plum
2214 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612

Ike's Lair
2655 Broadway St, Redwood City, CA 94063

Jan 10, 2012
selectiveomnivore in San Francisco Bay Area

New Oakland food truck spot - Grand Ave

It is still happening. The Tuesday vendor didn't get thier Alameda permit/license in time. Rest of this week and next should be on as scheduled.

And yes, it is next to Trueburger. I think the truck will be in the parking lot each day, not on Grand.

Dec 07, 2011
selectiveomnivore in San Francisco Bay Area

New Oakland food truck spot - Grand Ave

They're testing out a new lunch spot for food trucks in Oakland at 150 Grand (between Harrison and Webster). There is a set line up for the next two weeks:

Monday, 12/5 Curry Up Now
Tuesday, 12/6 Rib Whip
Wednesday Pending
Thursday, 12/8 Seoul on Wheels
Friday, 12/9 Chairman (formerly Chairman Bao)

Monday, 12/12 Curry Up Now
Tuesday, 12/13 Roli Roti
Wednesday, 12/14 Hapa SF
Thursday, 12/15 Seoul on Wheels
Friday, 12/16 Chairman (formerly Chairman Bao)

Check it out. If there's enough traffic and business, it could become a regular thing.

Dec 05, 2011
selectiveomnivore in San Francisco Bay Area

10 days in Buenos Aires

Thanks for claring on the double El Federales. My brother declared he'd be a regular at Bar El Federal if he lived there. And don't order a sandwich with blue cheese. They must have given me a half pound on my sandwich (good value, but had to take 90% of it off to make it eatable!).

Yes, La Biela is a nice stop and good for people watching. Pairs very well with a stroll through the Recoleta cemetary.

Nov 11, 2011
selectiveomnivore in Latin America & Caribbean

10 days in Buenos Aires

Also from San Francisco and spent a week in Buenos Aires in June. I neglected to do a follow up report, and my memory is starting to go fuzzy on specifics. Sorry this will be sort of a haphazard response.

Is Restaurante El Federal different from Bar El Federal in San Telmo? We went to Bar El Federal (very old, comfy, local vibe) and enjoyed it. Good value on casual food and decent beer. Lots of people hanging out for a while, using wifi, etc. Probably not a destination spot, but good if you're in the area.

We did go to Cluny and had a nice meal. Very different from everywhere else we ate in Argentina (closest to Azafran in Mendoza, I guess). Service was good. We had dinner there, and it's a good aesthetic and setting. A bit formal though at dinner, maybe not so much in the patio areas during the day.

If you like cocktails, a must is 878.

And I must say, I was really hesitant to go to Cabana Las Lilas. I thought it would be touristy, overpriced, and overrated. I only went when my travel companion got stranded an extra day in BsAs due to airport closure. Well it certainly was not overrated. Best steak of my life - straight ojo de bife, jugoso. It was so good I went back to days later alone (stayed on for a conference).

Second best parrilla experience was La Miranda (hip, felt sort of like an LA vibe to a parrilla with SF style servers, complete with tattoos and small flannel shirts). They had one of the better wine lists for our tastes. (Older vintages of Carmelo Patti, amazing.)

Parrillas we found to be overrated or just so-so: La Cabrera (overrated), La Brigada (so-so), had the special cut that they literally cut with a spoon, which was super tender but the service was HORRIBLE, very rude.

And something very fun if you like tasting menus is La Vineria de Gualterio Bolivar in San Telmo. The chef combines some molecular techniques in ways I didn't see anywhere else in the country. Great value.

Nov 11, 2011
selectiveomnivore in Latin America & Caribbean

Yarra Valley or Mornington Pennisula?

I should note Yarra is still not as commercial and super touristy as parts of Napa can get, and there were a fair number of Shiraz and Pinots there.

We hired a car and drove. It was my first time driving in Australia, and I didn't have too much trouble of it, and Melbourne city traffic was fine. Not worse than driving through SF really. Also, Australia has pretty strick "drink driving" laws and I think the limit reaches down to .05 for one category and .08 for another. However, unlike the States you can get pulled over without reason - they have random breath test spots every now and then, so you can get tested without showing signs in your driving. Something to keep in mind if your whole party will be tasting (hello, spit bucket).

Have fun on your trip. Tassie has some great pinots! I like them lower alochol and Tassie seems to comply more often.

Nov 07, 2011
selectiveomnivore in Australia/New Zealand

Yarra Valley or Mornington Pennisula?

I'm an American from same part of the states as you (bay area), and would suggest Mornington over Yarra based on your post. Mornington felt a bit more "sonoma" and Yarra a bit more "napa" if you get my drift on the differences there in scale, commercialism, family/boutique winery approaches. I prefer Sonoma, and preferred Mornington. We did one day for MP with I think 4 or 5 wineries, a great fish and chips lunch looking out on the water, and all at a pretty leisurely pace in one day with a rental care from Melbourne as a base. My absolute favorite from my trip last year was Main Ridge Estate. Beautiful setting, great wines, but expensive ones. I'm also still getting my head around Australian wine regions after just moving recently, but Mornington is more known for Pinots than Yarra would be, and I don't think either is particularly known for Shiraz or SB though you can find some.

Scenery in both areas is very nice. Mornington has more windy roads glimpses of vistas. Yarra has more wide open pastoral sort of scenes.

Nov 06, 2011
selectiveomnivore in Australia/New Zealand

foodie, mid-priced & great atmosphere dinner recommendations in city?

second La Ciccia or maybe Nopa. I guess it depends on what you mean by interesting. For Lower Nob Hill maybe walk over to Lers Ros (though I would say this is cheaper than mid-priced) and use the extra budget for drinks at Bourbon & Branch afterward.

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La Ciccia
291 30th Street, San Francisco, CA 94131

Nopa
560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

Bourbon & Branch
501 Jones St, San Francisco, CA

Oct 09, 2011
selectiveomnivore in San Francisco Bay Area

20-something going away party restaurant ideas

We did stick with Suppenkuche. They handled a party of 14 well, and the atmosphere was great for our group. Food was good, beer was better. Headed to Smuggler's Cove afterwards, which was slow as always, but fun and delicious.

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Suppenkuche
525 Laguna St, San Francisco, CA 94102

Smuggler's Cove
650 Gough St, San Francisco, CA 94102

Sep 11, 2011
selectiveomnivore in San Francisco Bay Area

Lers Ros Venison, Quail??

I found the quail hard to eat, and not all that exciting compared to other dishes. It tied with the frog legs for least tasty and interesting (prepared in the same style apparently) in my last visit with about 7 people ordering and sharing.

Sep 06, 2011
selectiveomnivore in San Francisco Bay Area