Yangon city is still very undeveloped despite it is the Myanmar’s largest city. In the heart of Yangon downtown, you see buildings rot and crumble in front of your own eyes. Many won’t believe that Yangon use to be the richest country in South East Asia once a upon a time.
After travelling on the circular train in Yangon, we get off in the Central Station and walk to the downtown of Yangon – The Chinatown Market.
Found a Japanese Language School on the way to the Chinatown Market.
Burmese Traditional Roof – Pyatthat
A book store in downtown of Yangon
Small eating stall can be seen along the street outside the shops. I did not try any street food as I have weak stomach.
Betel leaves Seller
The one thing you notice while you are in Myanmar is the green leave that can be seen almost everywhere. It is called Betel Leaf. Just like chewing gum, many Burmese chew the betel leaf as a mouth freshener and keep them awake. The price is so much affordable as compared to tabacco but it is as deadly. You also see streets pavement in Yangon full of red stains. And most Burmese men smile with red lips and red teeth.
Famous BBQ at 19th Street
19th Street is the place for grilled BBQ and beer. Pick your choice of BBQ (pork, chicken, seafood and more) and they will grill them at the spot for you. Order the local beer to go along with this BBQ would be awesome combination.
Chinatown Market at 17th Street
The Chinatown is very near Sule Pagoda and Maha Bandula Park in the downtown of Yangon. There are plenty of roadside stalls serving local snacks and street food when you approach Chinatown 19th Street. And the local wet market is located at the 17th Street. When I was here it was evening so the crowd is very little as compared to the morning. This is the fresh market and if you wanted to see how local live their life here, this is the place to come. Fresh chicken, fish, seafood and vegetable lay on the floor for local customer to pick them home to cook.
An old building under restoration in Chinatown.
Fresh seafood stall
Men & women in Longyi
Yellow Painted Face – Thanaka
Most women’s faces are painted with Thanaka Powder, the yellow powder on their cheeks. This is one of the traditional make up in Myanmar and they believe it bring down heat and smoothen the skin. Usually wear by Burmese women and young children. Some men too apply Thanaka powder on their face too.
Fruit stalls with the king of fruit – durian
Interesting to learn that men are behind the sewing machine at the tailor shop.
Padonmar Restaurant Review
Our lunch took place in a restaurant mainly for tourists as I only see tourists and expats, such as Japanese, Korean and westerners in this restaurant.
Padonmar restaurant is located in a local Burmese home. Upon entering the restaurant, you see the wall of fame. One of the proudest picture they have there is with Aung San Suu Kyi.
Pork Mince with long beans
Burmese Beef Curry
Pad Thai Noodles
Our driver guide brought us here as I think this restaurant suit the foreigners’ taste bud and the clean ambient. The price is not that pricey, 3 dishes and couple of soft drinks and coffee, cost us less than USD 20.00
Final thoughts :
If you happen to stroll around in heart of Yangon, the wet market & 19th Street BBQ Heaven are a must to check them out. It is filthy, smoky and uncomfortable but that is part of the travel experience while in Yangon City. Yangon has always been a mix of British, Burmese, Chinese, and Indian influences. You get to see it all here. The rundown alley, the yellow thanaka painted faces, men in longyi/sarong and chewing betel leaves making this place very exotic to visit.