Connect with Linkage

By Grace Harrison 25 January 2014

YANGON — If you’re looking for a place to satisfy your appetite, relax with friends and do the world some good, Linkage, in the heart of Yangon, is all of the above. Located on Mahabandoola Garden Street, it’s not especially easy to find, but once you do, it could become your go-to downtown destination for lunch or dinner.

The food is a kind of nouveau fusion, with Myanmar, Thai, Chinese and European elements all in the mix, plus some more traditional offerings, over a dozen interesting salads, and a satisfying range of curries and seafood and pasta dishes. Of course, they have that mainstay of most local menus, chicken curry, but if you want something more “exotic” (by Myanmar standards) you can also get Thai tom yum, stew or fish and chips.

Among my many favorites are the vegetable soup with ginger and the grilled eggplant salad. The splendidly succulent red snapper with spinach made an excellent meal for two, and the marinated and grilled prawns also looked sensational.

Linkage’s cozy, calm ambience is conducive to good conversation, and if you’re lucky, you’ll score the romantic table on the breezy balcony. Dynamic art exhibitions on the cheery yellow walls add to the fun, stimulating food for thought as well.

Open since August 2011, Linkage is consistently good and clean. Chef Ko Ye, 38, has 10 years’ experience and has been with Linkage for a year. Both he and his keen assistant, Ko Than Htat, 19, come from Ayeyarwady Region.

Established by Forever, a Yangon-based NGO founded in 2010, Linkage is at heart a vocational training center, an income-generation project and a shelter for street children. It encourages youth empowerment through non-formal education and professional skills development. By providing opportunities for self-help, it aims to improve living standards and fight poverty.

So the catch is finding the place. Knowing the address is 221 Mahabandoola Garden Road, Upper Block, may not be enough. There’s no sign, but look up for the SNA Art Gallery and you’ll know you’re close. Just head upstairs and you’re there.

Tasty food, a relaxed, arty atmosphere and a solid social justice foundation—that’s Linkage. Do yourself and this country a favor by dining there today. You’ll savor the experience and more than likely become a dedicated link.

Linkage is open daily from 10 am to 10 pm. Group bookings welcome; outside catering also available. Tel: 09-430 52916, 09-49583618. Email: [email protected]