999 Shan Noodle Shop
I hit a bit of a snafu at 999 Shan Noodle shop when I was initially served a dish with meat and a juice with milk, but the manner in which it was remedied and the extreme apologetic nature of the staff left me with no hard feelings. Actually, it was a nice enough experience that I returned for a second meal days later, and was greeted with an understanding of exactly what I would and would not eat.
If you like to drink tea, and by drink tea I mean by the gallon, then 999 will have you sorted. It's good since the four minutes it took me to walk from my guesthouse to the restaurant cost me about 5,018 litres of sweat anyway and so rehydrating was probably a nice idea. Take one sip and someone will be there to refill your cup. Not exaggerating. I tried to dodge the guy and be sneaky to see if I could fool him, but he was like an empty cup psychic or something.
The juices are good, but the avocado shake is great. This is a drink that will always be served made with condensed milk, but they will gladly make it without if you specify. It tastes like avocado though, so don't order it and be like ew this is liquid avocado because that's exactly what it is.
Whatever you order will come with a bunch of other plates you didn't know you ordered, like sweet and spicy pickles, soup, and maybe some raw garlic. It will also come with 76 billion cups of tea, as mentioned.
Sticky shan noodle soup features a clear and salty broth with black pepper, spring onions, blanched bean sprouts, and greens. The noodles are gooey and sticky, as the name states, and are like the noodle cousin of sticky rice. The not at all spicy (there was chilli on the side) soup bowl came topped with a tomato chutney that took the noodles into another dimension that I want to move to permanently.
999's shan tofu salad, a steal at 70 pence, was a pile of creamy, cold sliced chickpea tofu in a light vinegar dressing with a slight hint of anise. Fresh coriander and roasted peanuts crowned the salad, which was served with a simple and bland pepper heavy soup to complement the big flavours of the shan tofu dish.
Shan htamin chin, a yellow rice dish (also with the same soup) included two small formed cakes of rice topped with the same tomato sauce as the noodle soup as well as fresh coriander and fried garlic. Alongside, the same bowl of pickles were present for me to swallow all at once because pickles are the best and if you disagree then what's wrong with you. The rice was also presented alongside a bowl of raw garlic cloves and garlic shoots, the latter an ingredient with which I was previously unfamiliar.
Garlic in this part of the world doesn't have the same pungency, so eating it raw won't burn your face off or leave too overpowering an after taste. Together with the rice, it was excellent. I think it must be common to consume raw garlic with certain foods as I've seen it at a lot of street food stall tables.
I don't know if it was because it was a holiday – I suspect that was the reason – but on my second visit I was given a coconut and sticky rice sweet to try as part of my meal. It wasn't dissimilar to many of the desserts in Southeast Asia (sticky rice flour, sugar, and coconut), but this was coated with sago pearls. They made appear as if coated in snake skin, but I tasted it and I'm pretty sure it wasn't snake (if so, snakes are weird and taste a lot like coconut).
Go to 999 Shan Noodle Shop if:
- You want easily accessible food in the heart of Yangon's downtown area.
- Trying Burmese cuisine is a priority, but you don't want to dive in the deep end (this place is in the Lonely Planet, so they are accustomed to tourists and their requests).
- You really dig tea. A lot.