Sin Yaw is the best restaurant in the Inle Lake area (probably). If not, it at least takes the award for the best, and most attentive staff.
People queue up to eat at Sin Yaw. Nearly every other shop front in the little town of Nyaung Shwe by Inle Lake is a restaurant, so waiting around seems nonsensical until you eat there for the first time.
Over two short trips to Inle Lake, we ate at Sin Yaw three times. The fact that the number isn’t higher is a subject of much regret.
It’s an unassuming shop front, just off the main road (Yong Gyi st). The almost garish twinkly lights makes you wonder if you’ve arrived at the right place. But rest assured, it will be both a delicious and delightful dining experience.
Sin Yaw has served up some of the most satisfying and consistently delicious dishes we’ve had in Myanmar – particularly for a place that doesn’t specialise in a specific type of dish (like the noodles at 999 Shan Noodle House).
There wasn’t a sour note from the menu during any of our three visits.
We ordered the unassuming sounding steamed rice with pork every time we ate at Sin Yaw. Reminiscent of the glorious Thai Pad Kaprow dish, it features tender morsels of minced pork, stir fried with green chillies, green beans and a soy-based sauce full of umami-goodness. Topped with a unctuous fried egg, it’s the ultimate comfort food.
The salads are also universally excellent there. We devoured a top notch tea leaf salad, a refreshing cucumber salad and a nutty green and red tomato salad. All delicious.
We also tried two different fish dishes during our visits, both plate-scrappingly delicious. One was steamed, with lime, chilli and lemongrass, producing a fragrant broth. The second was grilled, with a sweet and sour tamarind dipping sauce and steamed vegetables. The grilled version was super flavourful, with a smoky char from the grill. We’re still debating which one we preferred.
Honourable mentions to the Shan noodles, grilled pork (picture at the top – slight resemblance to the Chinese char siu, but less sweet and fatty), stir fried chayote leaves and fried morning glory.
And the ambiance and service?
We’re never that fussed about service, as long as we get good food. But in this instance it deserves a special mention.
Every single staff member at Sin Yaw was extremely friendly, attentive and polite. To an extent we have never experienced elsewhere. Stumbling into Sin Yaw for the first time, straight after an extremely hot trek, we were pampered by the owner and our waiters. From facilitating various tables and chair moves to avoid the sun, to finding us wet towels for our sweaty brows and quick access to ice-cold drinks, it felt more like a trip to spa than a restaurant…
To see the outstanding customer service when you visit, just head to the bathroom. You’ll immediately see a staff member jump into action, asking you to wait by the door whilst they inspect and clean the toilet before allowing you inside. And of course, there’ll be a wet towel awaiting your return to your table.
None of this is necessary, but all was appreciated and frankly, tickled us pink. Nothing felt contrived, rather gestures of caring and kind youngsters. Clearly, there’s a system in place with specific training, but it felt extremely genuine nonetheless.
Sin Yaw Restaurant
Price: Around 23,000 MMK for 5 people
Must orders: Steamed rice with pork, either steamed or grilled fish
Good for: Everyone visiting Inle Lake. Full stop. Be prepared to wait though…
Address: Intersection of Mingalar Ashae Street and Yone Gyi Street, behind Central Market, Nyaung Shwe (google maps)