Food and drink: Menya Koinobori (Yangon)
**Please note that all of Tour Mandalay’s restaurant reviews are carried out undercover and are therefore 100% unbiased. We feature only the best, thus helping to ensure you make the most out of your time in Myanmar.**
Located on the upper section of the bustling Maha Bandoohla Panchan (Park) Street, Menya Koinobori offers a range of tasty and authentic ramen dishes. I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Why eat Japanese ramen when I’m in Myanmar?”, but why not? The Japanese have long had a presence in Myanmar and this tasty, low-fat Japanese cuisine is becoming just as much a part of Yangon’s restaurant scene as the local tea house. Menya Koinobori is no exception. Whilst it serves up all the typical offerings you would expect, including a mouth-watering tonkotsu miso ramen, the highlight dish is without a doubt, Koinobori’s handmade tsukemen.
For those whom are not in the know, tsukemen is a bit like ramen but with a twist. Rather than having the noodles and soup combined, you are instead presented with two bowls; one with nothing but noodles, and another with a thick broth made from pork and fish. The noodles, all of which are handmade onsite, are also a little bit thicker than those of a typical ramen bowl, making it a perfect dining option for those with a large appetite. Tour Mandalay ordered the oomori (大盛り) portion, which literally translates as large and it was more than enough to see us through until the next day.
In order to eat tsukemen, it’s relatively simple; grab a small bunch of noodles with your chopsticks, dip it in the soup and then down the hatch! If you dip too many noodles at one time though, the taste of the soup becomes a little too overpowering. With this in mind, Tour Mandalay would recommend grabbing two or three strands of noodles at a time and dipping them in the soup. If it is still too strong, then you have the option of pouring in some boiling water to further dilute. The soup also came with half a boiled egg, seaweed and a tender slice of roast pork.
To make sure the rest of the menu tasted good, Tour Mandalay also ordered the tantanmen, which is a noodle bowl consisting of sesame seed, chilli, vegetables and minced pork. As expected, it was delicious and we found ourselves slurping up the last remnants of sauce within minutes. What was even more pleasing was the price – at 3500 kyat ($3.5), it was one of the best value ‘quality’ dishes we’ve eaten in a very long time. On the subject of price, the tsukemen was a little bit more expensive at 5500 kyat ($5.5) but that was still extremely good value considering the quantity.
Overall, Tour Mandalay were extremely impressed. The food was tasty, great value and extremely authentic. That aside, it’s also worth flagging up Menya Koinobori’s excellent location. You’re literally a few minutes walk away from major attractions such as Maha Bandoohla Park, Sule Pagoda and Shangri-La (Traders). This makes Menya Koinobori a convenient lunch or dinner stop, especially if you look to combine it with your colonial touring.
Address: 285, Maha Bandoohla Panchan Street
(No reservations required)