In a city where instant coffee is served by hundreds of street carts around every corner, the unmistakable hiss of a barista steaming milk definitely seems out of place. But it is a sound that is being echoed in many joints around Yangon, as more artisanal coffee shops and cafés sprout up each year. Drinking powdered coffee and dining on classic Burmese street food by the roadside is as charming as things get – and not to mention very, very cheap – but when it comes to top-notch brews and modern cuisine, these cafés make great places for something a bit different.
Stepping into the vibrant space, it’s easy – pun intended – to forget you’re in the middle of a busy street with throngs of vehicles passing by at any given time. Add in freshly-roasted coffee (they roast their own beans) to the mix, warm pastries, and jazz music playing, and you’ve got yourself a keeper. The coffee is Aussie-style, so you can expect long blacks, flat whites, and delicious hand-brewed black coffee brought in from Kenya and Ethiopa. And on the food front? Comfort dishes from various parts of Southeast Asia, such as Thai Basil Chicken and Devil’s Curry.
easy café is located at 30A Bo Yar Nyunt St, Yangon, p. +95 9 250 141 098. Open daily 8am – 8pm.
Rangoon Tea House
Technically a tea house in name, Rangoon Tea House still serves up impressive coffee and delectable café grub. Inspired by the tea shop culture that’s bound the country together for the last 100 years, you’ll find a large menu of traditional Burmese tea beverages – which is to say, with sweetened milk – and modern takes on ethnic dishes like lahpet thoke (tea leaf salad), noodle salads, samosas, and the pau (steamed bun). Think one of those grand tea halls in colonial-era Yangon, but way slicker.
Rangoon Tea House is located at 77-79 Pansodan St, Yangon, p. +95 9 979 078 681. Open Sun-Thu 8am – 10pm, Fri-Sat 8am – 12am.
Craft by Killiney
Kaya toast, laksa, and soft-boiled eggs mixed with soy sauce. Sound familiar? Singaporeans will likely enjoy the menu at Craft, if only because it reminds them of home. However, the coffee here is served Italian-style, unlike the traditional kopi found in the city-state. Easily the best-designed café on this list, Craft occupies two floors full of communal and single tables, and you’ll likely see many people sitting down with laptops due to the free (and fast) Wi-Fi provided. Standard café fare like burgers and eggs benedict can also be found here.
Craft by Killiney is located at 33 Nawaday St, Yangon, p. +95 9 960 608 333. Open daily 7am – 11pm.
Bar Boon is actually an export from the Netherlands, dishing out excellent coffee, Dutch beer, pastries, and other snacks (think paninis, baguettes, and even warm stroopwafels) in a stylish and contemporary setting. Tucked inside a building next to Bogyoke Market, this café offers a welcome respite from the bustle and general chaos of the neighbourhood. This is the place to be for a taste of Europe, whether it’s coffee or food – though we must say the elevated prices are a little bit of a catch.
Bar Boon is located at 380 Bogyoke Aung San Rd, FMI Centre, Yangon, p. +95 9 250 001 392. Open daily 8am – 9pm.
Located in a popular residential area for expats, Santino dishes out decent coffee comparable to the likes of Starbucks, and has a small terraced patio that’s nice for people-watching. The best thing the café has going for it is the range of Burmese, Thai, and European dishes available, so don’t be surprised to find items like German rouladen there. A great place if you’re looking to chill out somewhere for a couple of hours, and our only gripe? The 20% service charge and tax added to the bill.
Santino Café is located at 18A-1 Bo Yar Nyunt St, Yangon, p. +95 (1) 387 880. Open daily 7.30am – 10pm.
Coffee Circles is a little further out than the other places on this list, but it’s worth a mention. This chic café-bar serves fantastic ethically-sourced Arabica coffee, carefully handcrafted to your desired ratio with two Mazzer minis. Food-wise, it’s a popular spot among vegetarians for its wide array of pizzas, pastas, sandwiches, and cakes too. If the heat’s not too bad, grab a seat on the rooftop where you might just be able to glimpse the golden tip of the iconic Shwedagon Paya.
Coffee Circles is located at 107-A Dhammazedi Rd, Yangon, p. +95 (1) 525 157. Open daily 7am – 12am.