MARKET
LANE

Author: Wain Yee/ Siu Ding

Market visit Saturday morning to 18th Street market in downtown Yangon during a dry winter morning

Markets are an essential part of daily life in Yangon. Apart from the larger markets on 17-19th Street in the morning, off Pansodan street in the afternoon, and the covered markets in Yankin and Sanchuang, each neighbour has their own streets with smaller markets for the provision of daily fresh food, dry pantry items and most essential household items. Often there are different vendors in the morning and in the afternoon, making sure that there is always a fresh replenishment of produce, seafood and meat.

The mosaic tile pattern at the entrance of the staircase

For me as a cook, everything on the menu comes from what I see in the markets. Our most promising sous chefs are trained by visiting the market each morning. Nothing is as exciting as what we discover in the market week by week, season by season. The striking fact about markets in Burma is that they are truly seasonal – for a few weeks there will be an abundance of avocado in December, strawberry in February, mango in May, pineapple in September and then there will be none. So we need to work with enjoying the fruits when they are best in season and adapting the menu accordingly.

For me as a cook, everything on the menu comes from what I see in the markets. Our most promising sous chefs are trained by visiting the market each morning. Nothing is as exciting as what we discover in the market week by week, season by season. The striking fact about markets in Burma is that they are truly seasonal – for a few weeks there will be an abundance of avocado in December, strawberry in February, mango in May, pineapple in September and then there will be none. So we need to work with enjoying the fruits when they are best in season and adapting the menu accordingly.

Downtown Yangon is a grid of busy streets

Golden – ripe lime

Local Burmese apple season lasts for a few weeks only in December/January

Year-around there are a variety of bananas

Nothing makes me as happy as food shopping, surrounded by fresh produce and beautiful ingredients