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Hearty, homey Burmese cuisine at Club Rangoon

In  a city that has come to be largely dominated by Japanese, French, Italian and Chinese culinary hotspots, one particular eatery is bravely looking to bring a very different gourmet experience to Hong Kong connoisseurs. Nestled in the slopes of Central’s Aberdeen Street, Club Rangoon is unique in being the only Burmese restaurant in the whole of the SAR. 

Mayanmore Hearty, homey Burmese cuisine gafencu magazine club rangoon chef Nelson cheque

The brainchild of Nelson Htoo, a native of Yangon, Club Rangoon reflects his desire to introduce the culinary traditions of his homeland to Hong Kong’s more discerning diners. Expanding upon the thinking behind this passion project, he says: “With this restaurant, I don’t just want to introduce locals to the recipes my mother and grandmother swore by when I was growing up, I also want to provide a genuine taste of Burmese culture.” In line with this, the dark, plushly-upholstered interior of the eatery is adorned with a plethora of Myanmese images, including many photos of Htoo’s own family.

Mayanmore Hearty, homey Burmese cuisine gafencu magazine club rangoon Samusa

Turning to the cuisine itself, we commenced our tasting odyssey with the Mutton Samusa, a hugely popular snack in Myanmar, it also has legions of foodie fans in neighbouring India and Nepal. The dish sees lightly spiced morsels of mutton wrapped in flaky pastry and delivers a surprisingly light finish despite being deep-fried. The accompanying mint sauce – similarly subtle – heightens the samusa with a lovely aromatic tang. 

Mayanmore Hearty, homey Burmese cuisine club rangoon Village Style Egg Curry Bites gafencu magazine

Next to be served were the Village Style Egg Curry Bites, with each boiled egg topped liberally with deep-fried peas and caramelised onions. A study in restraint, rather than overwhelming the taste buds, the curry serves to enhance the flavours of the melt-in-your-mouth onions, while the crunchy peas add another layer of texture. 

Mayanmore Hearty, homey Burmese cuisine club rangoon Ohn No Khout Swel (Burmese style coconut noodles) gafencu magazine

Then the first of our mains – Ohn No Khout Swel (Burmese style coconut noodles) – arrived tableside. Built on a base of chicken curry and coconut soup, the egg noodles are seasoned with liberal drizzles of sesame oil and chilli oil. Undeniably a feast for the eyes, its visual appeal was matched by its rich, hearty flavours, with the thicker consistency of the sauce finding the sweet spot when it comes to the optimal noodle-to-condiment ratio. 

Mayanmore Hearty, homey Burmese cuisine gafencu magazine club rangoon Mohinga

Scarcely had we finished than the next course put in an appearance – a piping hot bowl of Mohinga. This noodle soup concoction is widely considered to be the national dish of Myanmar and, as such, is an essential part of the Burmese diet. Traditionally consumed at breakfast time, mohinga is equally at home in the country’s fine-dining establishments as in its street-side hawker stalls. In Club Rangoon’s take on this iconic classic, the rice noodles are diced into bite-sized pieces and eaten with a soup spoon rather than chopsticks. The star of the particular show, though, is the catfish broth, an intense soup redolent with lemongrass, ginger and a hint of chilli that embodies comfort food at its very best. 

Mayanmore Hearty, homey Burmese cuisine club rangoon A Mel Thar Dan Bauk, a Burmese-style beef biryani gafencu magazine

Scarcely pausing for breath, it was then on to the A Mel Thar Dan Bauk, a Burmese-style beef biryani inspired by Htoo’s grandmother’s own recipe. Unlike typically heavier Indian biryanis, the rice-and-vegetable bed here is simply seasoned, making it the perfect foil for the delectably tender beef cheeks. Slow cooked for 12 hours, their delicious softness is further enhanced by a tomato and dried shrimp sauce and a coating of crispy fried shallots, with the resultant combination packing a powerful umami punch.

Mayanmore Hearty, homey Burmese cuisine gafencu magazine club rangoon Burmese Tea Ice Cream

Although almost sated by the delicious meal proper, we had just enough space for dessert – Burmese Tea Ice Cream. Described as ‘an ode to the tea culture of Burma’, this particular after proved more than a little reminiscent of Hong Kong’s own famed milk tea, though, perhaps surprisingly, not that sweet. The banana and cashew crumble – made in-house by Head Chef Karisa Cheque – and banana pudding, however, more than made up for that, upping the sugar content of the dish by several notches. 

Mayanmore Hearty, homey Burmese cuisine club rangoon gafencu magazine

Well aware of its pioneering positioning as the sole Burmese eatery in Hong Kong, Club Rangoon still goes the extra mile to ensure the authenticity of its dishes. Beyond that, though, it all but guarantess that every item on its menu isn’t just tasty, but also wholesome, hearty and welcoming, ensuring diners retain only the fondest memories of their encounter with this undeservedly rare culinary tradition.

Club Rangoon. 33 Aberdeen Street, Central. (852) 2503 3077. www.clubrangoon.com.hk 

2021-01-11T10:13:07+00:00 January 10, 2021|Taste, Video|