The Full (Rakhine) Monti

By Kyaw Phyo Tha 29 December 2012

If you want to explore new culinary frontiers, look no further than the Minn Lan Rakhine Traditional Hand-Pressed Monti & Fresh Seafood Restaurant in Yangon. This fine establishment, with five locations around the city, is not just a mouthful to sayóitís also sure to fill your mouth with flavors that will keep you coming back for more.

As the name indicates, the cuisine on offer here hails from Rakhine State, and the specialty of the house is a noodle dish known as montióa fiery Rakhine rendition of that old Myanmar standard, mohinga. Rakhine monti can be an intense eating experience, and not just because of the sheer heat that it generates. The noodles, made with first-grade rice and pressed to perfection, provide a tender texture, while flakes of golden hued pike conger, both dry and raw, add the authentic salty flavor of Myanmarís west coast cuisine.

Garnished with chopped coriander and sliced boiled egg, and with a combined aroma of garlic and pepper, monti is an enticing treat. If youíre worried that you canít take the heat, rest assuredóit wonít be any hotter than you want it, because every bowl is made to order (if you like, you can always add a little extra chilli sauce later for the full monti experience). A few splashes of preserved marian plum juice brings a nice tang to the medley. Bean fritters and fried fish cakes are also available on request.

If a burning bowlful of noodles is not really what you want, the restaurant also has an assortment of fish, lobsters and crabs from the Bay of Bengal. But be warned: even though business hours are from 11 am to 9:30 pm, it can be difficult to get a table, especially at dinner time.

Yangon Locations : Sanpya Bahan Outlet ñ 1 Min Lann, South Sayar San Ward Tel: 01-551259 | Kamayut Outlet ñ Inya Lake Tel: 09-73118696  | Mayangone Outlet ñ Corner of Parami Road and West May Kha Road Tel: 09-5502459 | Tamwe Outlet ñ 116 Kyauk Myaung Street, opposite Kyauk Myaung Store Tel: 09-73056320 | San Chaung Outlet ñ Corner of Baho Rd and Khittar St, near Asia Royal Specialist Centre Tel: 01-510285 | All five restaurants are closed on the 23rd of every month.

This story first appeared in the December 2012 print issue of The Irrawaddy magazine.