05 Dec Port Autonomy: The pause that delights

Written by Andrea Chellini Published in Art & Culture Read 4024 times

Yangon's food scene is abuzz over Port Autonomy, Ivan Pun's latest project on Lanthit Jetty. The Brooklyn-hipster inspired restaurant does away with modernity's sharp-edged, clean-lined glass and wood décor, opting instead for a grittier, more rustic vibe of graffiti on metal that seems more honest and low key.

The effect is something fundamentally different than we are used to in Yangon, a welcome surprise in a city where flashy décor and catchy names often mask a disappointing result. Port Autonomy is hiding nothing. The food, an eclectic blend of Myanmar and Americana, is clean and straightforward. Head chef Kevin Ching has pulled the vibrant flavours that encapsulate the complex Myanmar cuisine – pickled, curried and fermented – and paired them with light, fresh, and airy ingredients.

The Rainbow Chopped Tea Leaf Salad, for example, a refreshingly crisp dish that finishes with nutty and savoury notes, causes one to pause and ponder: what is actually going on? Also excellent is the Crab Curry Melt, which takes a typical curried soft shell crab dish and melts it between slices of bread and cheese and salsa verde. It's simple and delicious. The Hot Fried Chicken, crispy and served with both a Burmese buffalo sauce and a dill and buttermilk dressing, managed to reinvigorate my appetite for fried meat.

If the food isn't enough to get you to pause and think about your day, then perhaps the rumbling sound of boats puttering across water, or the voices and bells of the many street hawkers winding up their day, or the bounce of the sun dropping into a pool of magenta and tangerine will provoke you. Its a lovely, lively atmosphere that stuns visually and somatically.

Address: between Lanthit Jetty and Kaing Dan Jetty, no 1, oo Pa Sa street, Seik Khan Township

This Article first appeared in the November 27, 2014 edition of Mizzima Business Weekly.

Mizzima Business Weekly is available in print in Yangon through Innwa Bookstore and through online subscription at www.mzineplus.com