The Strand Hotel, Yangon, Myanmar

Colonial Club

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Ordered at The Strand Hotel's lobby lounge in Yangon (Rangoon), Myanmar (Burma).

Overall Score 85.7/100
Presentation 8.8/10 Meat Quality 8.2/10
Fruit / Vegetable Quality 8.5/10 Bread Quality 8.4/10
Mayo / Sauce Usage 8.4/10 Value 7.3/10
Ingredients Ratio 9.9/10 Sides 8.7/10
Ambiance 9.2/10 Overall Taste 8.3/10

Business trip to Myanmar… It sounded unconventional. And it wasn’t originally meant to be, but Rachel’s conference got moved from Bangkok to Yangon due to “political unrest” in Thailand. I wasn’t originally meant to go with her, but upon learning of her changed plans, and having never been to Myanmar, there was no chance I was going to miss this adventure. After all, her flight was free ($2500 round trip) and the opportunity to spend 5 days exploring the country prior to her conference simply fell in our laps.

One caveat: we would have to take separate flights on the 30 hour journey from Boston. She was flying one way on Emirates, due to her continued business trip, and I round trip on Air France; we would depart at the same time on Wednesday and arrive around the same time on Friday. My friends and family told me this was “so romantic” although for me it ended up being “so boring.”

Ok, so with that background story out of the way, Rachel and I arrived in Yangon happy campers. Shwedagon Pagoda was our first stop, probably the most frequented tourist destination in Myanmar. Little did we know, but this was “rainy season” and the temple/pagoda had very few visitors. Luck was on our side though, and blue skies enveloped the area. What an incredible destination!! I have seen many, many temples in my life, but this was by far one of the most intriguing. We spent the entire morning into the afternoon exploring this awesome monument, followed by a stroll through the Peoples Park, again void of people.

Just as we were heading to explore the area around our hotel, the sky opened up, and the rainy season showed its true force. Immediately the streets were flooded and Rachel and I looked at each other, wondering if this was a perfect time to get try out a Burmese massage.

It was, but not before lunch. We booked our spa appointments for later in the afternoon, and settled down in The Strand Hotel’s lobby restaurant, watching the rain fall over the bustling streets.

Rachel went right for the Mohinga, a popular Burmese dish we would find available at nearly every restaurant we went to during the trip (and a side note: The Strand had by far the best Mohinga we had during our trip – and Rachel was sure to order it every time we saw it available). As for me, how could I resist the lure of The Strand Hotel’s “Famous Club Sandwich”?

I couldn’t. And so Rachel enjoyed her Mohinga while I devoured my club sandwich, hunger ever present from the long day of sightseeing.

Taking a step back – I would like to focus on The Strand Hotel for a moment. The property was a fantastic hotel with a truly boutique feel to it. The lobby was grand yet homey. The staff were as friendly as family. The rooms had massively high ceilings, and butlers to attend to your needs. The Strand screamed colonial, and had kept its original grandness from when it was built. If you go to Yangon, stay at The Strand, you will love it.

The Strand Hotel’s Famous Club Sandwich was, for better or worse, not the highlight of the hotel. With that disclaimer, however, they did get one thing perfect: the ratio. Perfectly layered, the creator of this club sandwich knew exactly how much of each ingredient to add and in what order (including adding two layers of some ingredients); a great skill. On the other hand, the ingredients didn’t WOW me. I could see why this club was Famous for Yangon, and I’d order it again if I was craving Western food, but a few points stood out.

Saltiest bacon ever. Nice and crunchy, but I needed to finish a liter of water to compensate. Turkey was yummy, but a bit dry. Egg added some extra flavor. Produce wasn’t too flavorful, but it was satisfying. Light on the mayo… It must be difficult to get quality western ingredients in Yangon, and I commend The Strand on producing a solid Club Sandwich with what they had available.

One thing is for sure though: I ate as many of their home-baked croissants as I could… just incredibly yummy.

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