Sweet family-run restaurant, with a vegetarian-friendly menu, in a village near New Bagan. Perfect for a break from temple exploration.
Exploring ancient temples may not seem like hard work, but by the time mid-day rolls around, you want somewhere to rest and replenish your dust-caked, sweaty self.
San Thi Dar is a family run restaurant in the Myin Ka Bar village nestled between Old and New Bagan. With budget-friendly (700MMK!) fresh juice and flavourful salads, it’s the perfect spot to rest and refuel before heading out for another batch of pagodas and stupas.
The menu is extremely vegetarian-orientated and light. Starting with a round of lemon-salad, zingy with delicate strands of citrus and onion, tea leaf salad and tofu salad, we were off to a good start. We also ordered an avocado salad which, while not a traditional Myanmar dish, as the waiter explained, it was his mother’s recipe. And while a bit of extra texture would have boosted the dish, the avocado was ripe and creamy, set off with a light citrus dressing.
A light stir-fry of okra and tomatoes was flavourful while making us feel like we were hitting a notch off our cholesterol levels.
A watery pumpkin curry (as in the pumpkin tasted oddly watery, rather than the sauce) was a low point. But it was still pronounced tasty by one in our group, so give it a go if you crave the absence of texture.
The fresh juices were what really made us feel renewed, with refreshing watermelon and juicy papaya, so much so that we went through several rounds by the time we departed.
Rounding out the meal was a sweet little bonus dessert (neither ordered nor charged for). I’ve tragically forgotten the name, but was told the little fried delights are local to the Bagan area, so make sure to hunt them down. Made with jaggery palm sugar and glutinous rice they were crispy and chewy at the same time, and just sweet enough to hit the spot.
This little road-side restaurant is not glamorous, but makes you feel at home as the waiter shyly, but proudly, explains his mother’s recipes and shares their family tea. It’s by far a better alternative to the massive pre-cooked curry joints catering for large tourist groups, and cheaper to boot.
San Thi Dar Restaurant
Price: Around 14,000 MMK for 5 people
Must orders: Lemon salad and fresh juice
Good for: A budget-friendly and comforting meal between temple visits (and vegetarians)
Address: In Myin Ka Bar village, on the road between New Bagan and Old Bagan (google maps)