YANGON—Wednesday night was an occasion to honor the most talented people in Myanmar’s dining, nightlife and travel industries. The annual Myanmore Awards, now in their sixth year, saw 17 coveted awards handed out at a glamorous gala event held at Novotel Hotel.
In a city where unique and exciting new restaurant concepts crop up so regularly, competition in the dining scene is fierce. Nevertheless, locally-owned restaurants repeatedly came out victorious in the 2019 Myanmore Awards: Orng Kitchen won Restaurant of the Year, Burma Bistro was awarded Newcomer of the Year and Kachin restaurant Mu Ai was awarded best local cuisine restaurant. Bodhi Nava, a new café by the same owner as former award-winner Green Gallery, won Café of the Year, while Le Planteur’s executive chef Jean Marc Lemmery was announced this year’s Chef of the Year.
“I was a bit shocked when they announced the winner of the Restaurant of the Year award,” said Orng Joitamoi, head chef and owner of Orng Kitchen who won Chef of the Year in 2018.
“Last year, when we won Chef of the Year there was a huge pressure on me. We kept trying harder and working harder and I think our food and our restaurant improved about ten fold in the process. This award means a lot for me personally and for the whole kitchen: we have worked so hard for this.”
In the bar scene, Bar of the Year was awarded to Penthouse and Sanchaung institution Win Star beer shop took home the Myanmar Beer Outlet of the Year award. Nikki Barltrop, chief operating officer of the 57Below group of restaurants which include Gekko, Union Bar and Grill and Parami Pizza, was commended for constantly raising the bar in the food and beverage industry through her commitment to quality and was awarded Special Award for Contribution to Excellence.
Previously awarded to Isabel Sway Htin and Htet Myet Oo of Rangoon Tea House fame, this year the KBZ Entrepreneur of the Year award went to another foodie, Myat Phoo Wai of NooDi noodle shop.
After plans to hold a separate hospitality and tourism awards event in December fell through, Myanmore instead added a new travel category to the awards this year. The Best Experience award went to the well-established Balloons Over Bagan, an operation owned by Memories Group, while Tourism Industry Figure of the Year was awarded to the hard-working May Myat Mon Win for her tireless efforts in promoting tourism in Myanmar. Hotel of the Year went to Sofitel Inle Lake Myat Min.