Specializing in breakfast noodles, Irrawaddy Princess offers some of the best nan gyi thoke in the area, providing you get there on time!
We’ve already professed our love for nan gyi thoke (big round noodles lovingly coated in curry sauce). And while we’ve yet to find somewhere in Yangon that make little sausages to rival those we found in Bagan, this is our new favorite nan gyi thoke spot.
First thing to note: Irrawaddy Princess only does breakfast. It closes at 11 am. And by the time we showed up some of the favorites (notably, tofu dishes) had already been snapped up.
We’re major fans of places that specialise in just a small set of dishes, as they have to be pretty good in order to survive. But the morning only schedule indicates not just expertise but also a loyal and substantial client base to make the restaurant financially viable.
All of which are true in this case.
We ordered a quartet of noodles: nan gyi thoke, Shan noodles, Mandalay myee shae, and noodles with bamboo shoots, all in salad (aka dry) form.
Let’s take each in turn…
1) Nan gyi thoke (thick round rice noodles in gravy)
At the top of the list, nan gyi thoke was the clear dish of the day. The delightfully bouncy noodles, thick like Japanese udon noodles, were coated in a meaty but not too oily gravy.
Nestled amongst the noodles were little gems of springy and light fish-based meatballs, coriander, shredded chicken, sprigs of crunchy fried noodles and a boiled egg. Topped with a light dusting of chickpea flour to slightly thicken the sauce, we were in the middle of ordering a second helping before common sense kicked in.
2) Mandalay myee shae (round rice noodles, also in gravy)
Myee shae noodles
Another crowd favorite was the Mandalay style myee shae, also featuring round (but slightly thinner) noodles. Other accompaniments were soya bean paste, chicken and puffy chunks of fried tofu. Definitely on the list for another tasting.
3) Shan khauk-swe (Shan noodles)
There’s a reason why a fair number of tourists consume dozens of bowls of Shan noodles before departing Myanmar. They’re delicious and totally accessible in terms of flavor, texture and ingredients.
We still love them, but at this point after indulging a bit too much at 999 Shan Noodles, Aung Mingalar and Shan Yoe Yar (not to mention in Shan State itself), it takes something special in a bowl of Shan noodles to really wow us. These didn’t, but were tasty regardless.
4) Myit-Chin khauk swe (sticky noodles with bamboo shoots)
Myit Chin bamboo noodles
Princess Irrawaddy’s house special – and advertised as such on the sign outside), this was the one bowl that didn’t quite hit the spot for us. It’s most certainly a matter of taste – neither of us are big bamboo shoot fans. Needless to say, this wasn’t the dish to convert us, but still, the bowl was empty by the time we left. If you’re into a bit of bamboo, this is probably the one for you.
What about the atmosphere?
Irrawaddy Princess is a bit more upmarket than your typical noodle joint, with nice decor, proper chairs and big tables. It’s a family run joint and has served breakfast to hungry diners for years, as the friendly owner/manager/waiter explained.
It’s a bit out of the way for us, in Yankin Township, but we’ll be trying to make it a part of our weekend morning routine as much as possible. And for anyone in the area – or those stopping by the nearby Yangon Yoga House for early morning exercise – becoming a regular at Irrawaddy Princess should be near the top of your list.
Price: 2,000 MMK for a bowl of noodles
Must orders: nan gyi thoke, Mandalay myee shae
Good for: Those in Yankin township, or noodle afficianados based elsewhere
Address: Intersection of Anawrahta Lane and 4th Yankin Lane, Yankin Township, Yangon
Notes: Only open in the mornings, from 6:00 – 11:00 am