Monday, September 25, 2017

Hidden snack shack lures customers from Bogyoke Market

We walked past many food vendors, ignoring them all until we reached the pork-stick and fried vermicelli shop at the back of Bogyoke Market. It’s located near the bridge that goes over the railway and a bunch of unused steel construction materials – not exactly a nice environment.

http://www.mmtimes.com/images/mte/2014/736/food-review736.jpghttp://www.mmtimes.com/images/mte/2014/736/food-review736.jpg

Photos: Yu YuPhotos: Yu Yu

Yet the old and unattractive shop is always crowded. It was at the urging of my friends, who swear by the taste, that I went to check it out for lunch.

There’s not much of a menu, just fried vermicelli, pork-stick, fried pork rolls, phat htoke (chicken and rice rolls) and fresh juice.

We ordered several dishes and all of it arrived within moments. It’s not that the food looks much different from other places. Fried vermicelli came on a small steel plate with red chillies, but the soft texture is superb, as is the seasoning. We ordered a second plate. It’s only K400 each.

This is not a relaxing place to eat. Customers and busy sellers ran through the small shop the whole time, making us dizzy even while we were enjoying our lunch. Four people work the shop – a woman who makes the vermicelli and pork-stick, two men who serve the tables and one other man who makes the juice.

The pork-stick (K3000 per plate) is messy looking but tasted sweet and was well-boiled, which is quite different than I’ve found at other pork-stick shops. In the dish were parts of pork ear, head and liver, which had all been marinated in a sour sauce before boiling. It was delicious.

The fried pork roll (K1000) is crisply wrapped in rice paper and comes with a dipping sauce. You wouldn’t want to eat a lot, as it was quite salty and fatty.

Phat htoke – chicken wrapped in small rice papers – failed to live up to the other dishes. The rice papers were thick and each pack was a little too big. It was tasty, but we’d had enough to eat by then.

The meal left us feeling full and with grease on our lips, so we ordered fresh orange juice (K1000) and a beverage called than buu (K400), which is a Myanmar drink that resembles Pepsi without the fizz. The man who makes the juice is enthusiastic in his work and stands next to a small mountain of oranges and limes.

The shop has no name or sign to help identify it, but most customers are either buyers or sellers at Bogyoke Market and thus know it well. However, some make a special trip here just for the food.

The shop is open the same hours as the market every day, mind it’s closed Mondays. The woman who prepares the food explained that the shop had opened originally on the other side of the market near some small welding shops in 1980s. But soon after that place was taken over for a new construction and they moved to the back of Bogyoke Market.

We couldn’t help but overeat this time, trying all the menu items. Next time I would eat less, but I’ll definitely be back for more of this tasty and inexpensive lunchtime fare.

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