Yangon’s Kayan Community Showcases Tasty Treats for Third Year

By Lwin Mar Htun 6 December 2019

The Vista Do Rio Kayan restaurant has opened the Kayan Khaung Yay Festival, in reference to the traditional Kayan alcoholic drink, for a third year.

The event aims to showcase Kayan culture and cuisine, which is often hard to find in Yangon, and give diners a chance to sample the famous khaung yay.

The event runs until Sunday from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. in Myamarlar Street near the Thuwunna stadium, offering an opportunity to taste the famous Kayan khaung yay while enjoying river views.

Kayan khaung yay being served at the festival / Lwin Mar Htun

“I tried to bring six types of khaung yay for this festival but we’re not sure about one drink because of transport issues. That one is called Khaung Phyu and it’s very easy to damage,” said Ko Zayar, owner of the Vista Do Rio restaurant.

The other five beverages are Khaung Kya, Khaung Puu, Sote Khaung, Htar Lae Khaung and Phyu Chay Khar.

“Htar Lae Khaung is the famous one for the Kayan, named after a village. The taste is smooth and it’s cold, so many people might like that one,” Ko Zayar said.

“The other drinks are a bit strong and are more like shots. The weather in Kayan is cooler, so they’re designed to keep people warm. Drinkers should try at least one because all are made with natural ingredients and are good for the health.”

Phet phee chicken curry / Lwin Mar Htun

All the drinks and ingredients have come a long way to Yangon, Ko Zayar said.

Kayan women will attend the event in traditional dress and their famous neck rings.

“All the guests can sample the drinks and then order them by the glass. We will give one free dish per guest,” said Ko Zayar.

The event features special dishes, including phet phee chicken and sate phoo beef curries. Phet phee and sate phoo are seasonal Kayan vegetables.

The Vista Do Rio authentic Kayan restaurant is hosting its third Kayan Khaung Yay Festival until Dec. 8 in Yangon / Htet Wai

Yes, it’s true, phet phee chicken is a bit hot and sate phoo beef is tangy, but the combined taste is perfect. I loved both of them and can recommend trying them.

The festival offers a chance to sample Kayan beverages and dishes without having to travel large distances.

A table reservation is recommended to avoid disappointment.