Yangon was a surprisingly interesting walking city. So much that my feet started to hurt from all the walking and I love walking. It was time for dinner so I started walking to one of their major streets in Yangon. This was no Orchard Road mind you but nevertheless there is a lot of activity here and it was quite evident that this place was a commercial area with all the shops selling clothes and what have you.
The Nilar Biryani shop was one of the shops I managed to chance upon walking in the area. I thought I would want to try their Biryani here since my Burmese friend recommended it to me. Fortunately for me, Yangon has much more electricity availabe than Mandalay so the restaurant was quite well lit. I love rice and I also love Biryani. I really look forward to trying their version here.
Biryani rice in a sentence is fried rice. The rice is mixed is with a lot of spices to give it that wonderful fragrance. Some variations of Biryani use saffron rice which gives it that distinctive yellowish color. Ingredients such as onions, cinnamon, cloves and aniseed are commonly used. This dish is quite widespread in mainland South East Asia and neighboring countries and the countries bordering India. Each country has their own variation of Biryani and I would be trying the Burmese version.
Biryani in Myanmar is called danpauk. It uses the common ingredients used in the Biryani I’ve had in Singapore and Malaysia. One interesting twist is that they cook the chicken together with the rice, thereby imparting a nice flavor to the rice itself. When I got there I didn’t know how the system works in Nilar so I just started pointing at the large pot of Biryani outside the store. Fortunately the owner speaks English and managed to extract what I wanted. There wasn’t really much choice, afterall I did come for the Biryani.
The rice itself was nice and very fragrant probably because of the chicken. However, unlike the Singapore and Malaysian versions, they hardly used curry with the rice. In fact it didn’t come with curry at all until I asked for it. Apparently, this foolish tourist didn’t know what he was asking for so they gave him his curry. The curry was quite unlike any curry I’ve ever had before. It had a paste like consistency but still went well with the rice. It was a little dry though but I guess that was how it was supposed to be.
I foolishly ordered extra rice thinking that original serving wasn’t enough for me, apparently, that really is a lot of rice and I had a tough time finishing the whole thing. More so since it was quite dry. Fortunately, they have drinks here, and I finally got my lassi. Which turned out to be not that spectacular, it was home made though but not that cold, still it was a nice departure from all the water that I have been consuming. The owner was a really friendly chap and kept waiting on me since was the only one capable of doing so.
The Nilar Biryani Shop is a nice place to go to. It has a cafeteria atmosphere but it was still clean. They do have a second floor so there is quite a lot of room for diners. A lot of people come to take food home though, which goes to show how good it was. I wouldn’t really mind going back there since the food was quite tasty anyway.