Lunch at the Moon Vegetarian Restaurant in Old Bagan

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“Beware : Most of the food are swimming in oil but they are tasty and you’ll eventually get used to it” Chichi’s warning months before we left for Myanmar. Shes actually right, our taste buds had its first oily encounter with Myanmar food hours after our arrival in Yangon. I can still remember them clearly by its color, oil is usually yellowish if the dish is curry based, light green for sauteed green vegetables and almost brown for soy sauce based dishes.

Spicy Vegetable Chapati
Spicy Vegetable Chapati

Food in Myanmar reminds me of India in so many ways. Most of the restaurants I’ve visited serves a lot of curry dishes, chapatti, naan, biryani and samosas. I know I haven’t explored Myanmar’s food landscape extensively but for me Myanmar food is too overwhelming with tangy and spicy aftertaste and too much oil surrounding it.

Al Fresco Restaurant Old Bagan Style
Al Fresco Restaurant Old Bagan Style

At last, A plate without an Oil

It was after our visit to Mount Popa, when Chef Jana Garcia Qnsaat of Tharabar Gate Hotel invited us for lunch at the Moon Vegetarian Restaurant – a vegan place located across the road from our hotel. Amidst a clutter of many restaurants, one thing I like about this place is its garden setting. There are only few tables as it’s a rather small open air restaurant but by looking at other customers, they seem to look satisfied with their food.

Fresh Spring Rolls
Fresh Spring Rolls

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The al fresco and the native decor somehow made me appreciate the restaurant more. When the waiter approached us to get our orders, I immediately asked Chef Jana for her recommendation. I just want to be on the safe side so I ended up ordering Chef Jana’s favorite spicy vegetable chapatti while the rest ordered fresh spring rolls, coconut veggie and tofu curry, tzatziki and vegetable tempura.

Mixed Vegetable Tempura
Mixed Vegetable Tempura

While waiting for our food, they served complimentary roasted peanuts. It took about 20 minutes before the food was served but it was well worth the wait.

Tzatziki
Tzatziki

The Verdict

Chef Jana is right, their vegetable chapati is really good. Its best consumed when hot so you can appreciate its flavorful filling. What I like about their chapati is its not deep fried unlike how it is normally served. I also tried the other dishes they ordered but for me, their chapati is nearly impossible to mess up. I also liked their fresh spring rolls but it would be better if they serve it with sweet peanut sauce (a la Pinoy Style). Honestly, If this is how all vegetarian food would taste like, I can easily forget meat.

Pinoy Travel Bloggers with Chef Jana
Pinoy Travel Bloggers with Chef Jana

The vegetarian restaurant has been reviewed in many websites and is also recommended by Trip Advisor. Most reviews on the restaurant have been positive, although some of them mentioned that the open air setting has the bane of mosquitoes.

The restaurant also offers various dishes for people with a sweet tooth, of which palm sugar candies are the most in demand. People visiting Old Bagan usually check out this restaurant owing to its local popularity. Although the staffs aren’t very good in speaking English, they don’t compromise hospitality and friendliness. Lonely Planet cant go wrong on this, The Moon Vegetarian restaurant really provides a good dining experience for travelers.

The restaurant’s motto is “Be kind to animals – and don’t eat them!” Btw: Cè-zù tin-ba-deh (Thank You) Chef Jana Garcia Qnsaat for that wonderful lunch:)

The Moon Vegetarian Restaurant Old Bagan

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