Ultimate comfort food in the form of spicy herbaceous broth, indulgently sticky noodles and tender stewed beef in a popular Kachin diner in Sanchaung Township.
Myanmar’s not short of noodles. There’s seemingly countless variations, dozens of different types of noodles, preparations, broths, sauces, fillings, from all regions of the country.
But Agape Kachin Food Channel serves up some of the best.
Why these noodles?
Picture a Chinese beef brisket noodle soup, or a classic Vietnamese pho, but with flavors from Kachin State. Throw in handfuls of fresh herbs – especially mint – to lift and lighten the beefy broth. And then ladles of fresh and dried chilies that smack in you in the mouth and sinuses. A final squeeze of lime to add acidity.
Then you might have a rough approximation to the delicious steaming bowl that will greet you at Agape.
There’s only one way to order the noodles. We’ve tried almost all the variations they offer, and by far and away the best is the spicy beef noodle soup with sticky noodles. If you order anything else it will probably be fine, but trust us, it won’t be as good.
It’s the ultimate comfort food – proven to soothe the most stubborn of colds or head-pounding hangovers.
If you’re vegetarian and don’t want to miss out on the fun, you could order the vegetable noodle soup. Eaten with the side chili and cabbage pickle it’s quite enjoyable, even if it doesn’t quite reach the heights of its beefy counterpart.
What else can you eat at Agape?
Then there are other things you can order on the menu. Let us be clear though, you have to get the noodle soup. Treat the other items as side dishes. Or you will regret it, as we have, on many occasions.
That’s not to say they aren’t delicious. Near the top is the minced beef in a Kachin style curry (which bears little resemblance to a typical South Asian curry except for the spice level). With extremely tender morsels of minced meat, heavy kick of chilies, fragrant herbs and a deep savory flavor, it hits above the beef Kachin curry at Jing Hpaw Myay, another Kachin favorite in Sanchaung.
For something a bit daintier, look no further than the fried dumplings. The lightly-fried little parcels filled with ground chicken and vegetables are nice enough, but what sells it is the lightly spiced sesame dipping sauce. We’ve been told that the chef was trained in and heavily influenced by Japanese cuisine – which you can taste in every drop of the creamy sesame sauce.
Other honorable mentions go to the pounded rice (mixed with herbs and meat, a local favorite but a bit on the dry side for us), mint salad (fresh and spicy), beef jerky salad (nice strips of dried meat with herbs and chilies) and herbal tea egg (akin to the Chinese marinaded tea egg). But still, you have to get the noodles.
Agape is a little hard to find, in a narrow side street off of Bagaya Street, with tinted window sliding doors and an unassuming sign. You might wonder if you’re in the right place. But once you have your first sip of the broth, you will wonder no more.
Agape Kachin Food Channel
Price: 2,000 MMK for noodles, 2-3,000 more if you order side dishes
Must orders: Spicy beef noodle soup with sticky noodles (if it’s not already clear)
Good for: Noodle lovers ready for some chili
Address: No 18, Shwe Pyi Aye Street, Sanchaung Township, Yangon
Notes: Closes around 8, 8:30 pm and not open on Sundays!