Friday, August 18, 2017

A hot pot of wellness

“Central Hot Pot” in Sanchaung is just what the doctor ordered 

Naing Wynn Htoon/The Myanmar TimesNaing Wynn Htoon/The Myanmar Times

We hear a lot of flus these days: Swine flu, bird flu, “normal” flu. With such a spread of microbes in town, prevention is better than a cure.

Personal hygiene helps, for sure. But building up a resistance matters just as much.

The best way to strengthen one’s immune system is to sleep long enough, and eat healthily –luckily, eating is one of my favorite hobbies.

On a wet day like the ones the monsoon season offers, I like to eat something hot and spicy/ Anything that will make you sweat and clean up my system.

Naing Wynn Htoon/The Myanmar TimesNaing Wynn Htoon/The Myanmar Times

That can be Rakhine such as rice noodle in hot and spicy fish soup. But another good option is “hot pot”, a convivial dish including a variety food (meats, vegetables, leaf vegetables, mushrooms, tofu, seafood, etc.), prepared with a simmering pot of stock at the dining table.

Hot pots are wide spread in Asia but most people – at least in Myanmar – believe that they are from China.

One of the best places to do so in Central Hot Pot restaurant in Sanchaung.

Despite being a hot pot lover, I had never been to this specific restaurant. I went there upon a friend’s recommendation. And because Central Hot Pot currently offers a 20% seasonal discount until the 6th of August – another 30% discount will kick in on August 7 for customer coming from Monday to Friday between 11 and 4pm.

Naing Wynn Htoon/The Myanmar TimesNaing Wynn Htoon/The Myanmar Times

More importantly, it is buffet-style – a vote-winner for me.

The restaurant is on Baho road, near the Asia Royal hospital. Not difficult to find.

Upon arrival we were asked what kind of soup we’d like to have for our hot pot: chicken or pork, sweet, hot or sour. Braving the H5N1 danger, I opted for the sweet chicken, my friend the hot spicy one.

We found a variety of dishes on out table before the soups arrived. Fried vermicelli, fried rice, sweet and sour egg, fried chicken with onion and dry chili, fried dumplings and cripsy fried taro.

Vegetables, meat balls and viscera are to be picked from the buffet. Upon request, chicken, pork, mutton and beef is thinly sliced in front of your eyes. Don’t be afraid to ask, it’s all you can eat.

Leafy vegetables that were available were water cress, bean leaf and tao leaf. Next were the noodles. The seafood section has mussel, prawn, octopus, squid and crab. Squid stuffed with pork are by far my favorites. Prawns and mussel looked fresh. I am not a big fan of crab.

The meatballs were a delight. The chicken ones especially. I had never had such sublime meatballs, where a first bite unleashes such a cheesy flavor.

The soup was very tasty. The fun part in the hot pot is to regulate the temperature of your broth manually, using the knob at your disposal.

Sauce is very important for Hot –Pot. There are four kinds of sauces – normal chili sauce (sweet) hot pot sauce (sweet and sting) and ripe tamarind sauces.

There are not many much choices in terms of dessert, but the shop offers bananas, watermelon, Ekalae, Jelly, Pudding, Yoghurt and sweet edible seaweed. The best one is Ekalae – an éclair - and ice-cream. The soft drinks are Cola, sprite, orange and water.

For one person, it will cost you around K12.000.

The shop is clean and the waiters and waitresses are very hospitable. They carefully look after every customer – you pick what you want from the buffet and they will bring it your table with a smile. No need to carry anything. Just sit back, relax and eat.

Translation by Win Thaw Tar and Khine Thazin Han


Address: corner of Baho street and Aung Chan Thar road, near Asia Taw Win hospital, Sanchaung township. Opening times: Everyday from 11am to 10pm.