When we decided to leave a year around the world in October, we knew that we would not be able to return for Christmas. Yet we were committed to doing something different, surprising, or even useful. And find a restaurant in Yangon to celebrate Christmas.
We were in Myanmar, an enchanted country recently opened to foreign travelers. It was already very atypical! Christmas was falling on the eve of our departure from Yangon airport so the dinner lost in the mountains in a Burmese family (which would have attracted us both so much) was excluded. But before you deliver the dessert, here is the mouthing of our 25th December 2018 in Burma.
A child’s Day: cartoons at the Mall!
The day of December 24th began to sunrise on the night bus. Left the night before the lake Inle and after 12 hours of ultra-air-conditioned bus to the sound of Asian karaoke, we needed calm and rest!
We then joined our hotel and had a good breakfast based on Burmese soup and rice, then we huddled under the duvet with a good little Christmas movie. We recommend the list of Christmas movies 2018:
- the Express pole https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCNy5JCfaOg
- Mowgli Https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13LAAzgsbMU
- Arthur Christmas – https://www.netflix.com/id/title/7020213 Christmas Mission
Despite the 30 degrees outside, we were already beginning to hear the rattling of Santa Claus’s bells.
To motivate ourselves, we started putting the traditional Christmas play-list Mariah Carey.
Neither one, nor two, we went to a huge mall, the Myanmar Plaza, looking for a shirt for Nicolas. Because in our backpacker bag, we didn’t have any expected proper attire (we’re not going to go up chic) for a upscale dinner.
And there, as if by magic, we come across a huge Christmas photo booth with optical illusions, twinkling lights, fireplace and a huge Christmas tree. North Pole atmosphere Guaranteed!
Successful shopping, scented, all beautiful and all happy with our photos, we left to prepare for the hotel.
Aperitif under the Sunset of the tropics
Just a few steps from our hotel, we had access to Lake Inya. The tour of the lake is a bit ‘ the city ‘ of Yangon. It concentrates all embassies, banks, huge hotels and business offices, 30 minutes from the historic center and downtown. In this booming neighborhood with buildings in every direction, there is a small haven of peace all around the lake. The city has built up treed banks where you can see joggers pass way “Central Park”. It’s not really typical but it was perfect for our improvised Christmas aperitif at 5.30 pm. The Prosecco came out of the cooler and we were able to borrow two drinks at the hotel. After our three day trek in the villages without electricity, we were there on a 5 star stand. We tasted these first bubbles of the Sun’s Eve in front of one of the most beautiful sunsets we have seen in Yangon. The sky burned to become orange and reflected in the lake in the manner of a fire mirror. We had chills…
French Solidarity Dinner
For dinner, after two and a half months away from France, the call of the gourmets was heard. We wanted cheese, good bread and red wine. chauvinistic? Not at all but since we are two Epicureans, a traditional French meal was for us the most of the Christmas gifts.
In Yangon, several hotels offered Christmas meals ranging from open bar to Mercure Hotelto candlelight dinner perched in a bamboo bubble at Seed restaurant (where we had strayed during our first visit to Yangon… ).
While strolling through a few blogs (including Greg and So in backpack blog’s article), I saw good ideas of chic dinners followed by midnight Mass in the famous cathedral of Yangon. And then I found the Shwe Sa Bwe. A Gourmet “school” bakery restaurantfounded by a French just out of school seven years ago. The aim of this “ restaurant training ” is to give the young Burmese people a chance to access free training.
I invite you to read the excellent article of the small newspaper which details the approach and which immediately convinced us.
A real festive menu
The Shwe Sa Bwe is located on the outskirts of the lake. You arrive and are greeted in French by the team leader. She tells you that the restaurant team has been in training for 6 months and gives you some examples of beautiful courses like their pastry chef who started 7 years ago in the restaurant without any skill in the matter.
After the second aperitif (and yes it’s Christmas) in the outdoor garden, we settled inside in a colorful and neat decor in front of about fifty portraits of their students in black and white. The success of their students is the essential part of the restaurant’s life and for us it was a great pride to be able to support this initiative. Especially since the menu didn’t spoil the evening.
Seven Dishes, more delicious than any other with special mentions for both fried fat, crème brulee with truffle, the tail of American lobster sauce, duck in the crust of parsley, the log of Buffalo cheese and the small fluted among the farandole of Desse Rt. This divine meal was sprinkled with a good bass, intersperseded with a Norman hole with foie gras and Calvados ice cream.
At the end of the meal, we thanked the whole team for their smiles and their small attentions and left sated and happy for a good night.
Night at Lake Inya
The hotel welcomed us in the morning from 7am (nice ^^) and we left the next day at 5am.
We wanted a quiet place and good standing not far from the airport. The KOO Hotel is ideally located 30 minutes from the bus station, 30 minutes from the airport and 10 minutes from Lake Inya. It remains cheap compared to the hotels in this business area with a night at 32$ (the little pleasure of the end of travel;-).
Beautiful premium near Lake Inya and Yangon Airport
Nothing exceptional but very clean (almost new) and well Localized for travelers.
A Christmas Eve at sunset, then a 25th of December at the Burger King of Kuala Lumpur Airport, challenged for the originality of our festivities in Christmas.