Sunday, August 20, 2017

Me Tarzan, you hungry

For a break from the Chinese restaurants that have come to dominate Mandalay’s dining culture, look no further than Chanae Tarzan in downtown. Specialising in vegetarian Nepali food, the small establishment is a favourite among locals and appears to be catching on in Mandalay’s burgeoning tourist scene.

The close proximity of the dining area and the kitchen, mixed with the practiced efficiency of the staff, ensure that customers never wait long for their meals. Mandalay beer and a variety of colas are available.

The menu offers a small, reasonably priced selection. There is nothing over K2000, and most dishes are designed for communal eating, making it the perfect spot for a group outing.

The choices are almost all variations on daal and paratha bread. Perhaps I’m revealing how unsophisticated my palate is, but after several visits it seems to me that there is very little difference between the daal and paratha breads served at Chanae Tarzan. Paratha is cooked slightly longer for extra crispiness, but other than that it’s the same experience.

This is by no means a problem. In fact, the restaurant could serve as a lesson to other boutique eateries. The lesson being, if you’re only going to do one thing, do it well.

And they do their breads very well. Portions are generous, and always come with a variety of vegetables, potato and bean curries, as well as chutney sauce (this critic’s personal favourite). The dishes are served hot, but I’ve found that when taken home and given a few hours in the refrigerator, they are equally delicious cold.

For dessert, the lassi, either plain or with fruit, makes for a satisfying end to a meal.

While Mandalay is not yet considered a must-see destination for travellers, Chanae Tarzan is just one small example of how much there is to be discovered in this former capital city.

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