Address: 634 Somerset St W, Ottawa
Hours: 3pm – 9pm (Mon – Thu); 3pm – 10pm (Fri – Sat); closed Sundays (hours may vary during/after pandemic)
If you’ve been following along on my blog or social media over the past few years, you know that I love trying new-to-me types of cuisine. My first times trying Afghan, Bosnian and Haitian food (and many others!) have all been documented on here, and I’m always game for new culinary experiences! Recently – after walking by it too many times to count – I finally had food from Ottawa’s only Myanma restaurant, Rangoon.
Their menu has a lot of choices, without being overwhelming in scale or causing concern about the freshness of the ingredients (looking at you, multi-hundred-item Chinese food menus). There’s a wealth of unique items to choose from, and we ended up ordering the chickpea bites, green tea leaf salad, coconut chicken, sautéed eggplant, Shan-style noodles, and finally, cassava and coconut cream cake for dessert.
I ordered this as pick-up since we’re less than a 15-minute walk from Rangoon and the lockdown restrictions were still in full swing at this point of the spring.
The chickpea bites (Pae Pyar Kyaw, $8) were a fantastic start to our feast. These deep-fried triangles of chickpea batter had the most to lose as takeout, but were still lightly crisp on the outside, yet maintained impressively creamy interiors. A sweet and tangy tamarind dipping sauce brought some flavour to this otherwise simple, but excellently executed, dish.
I really enjoyed the depth of flavours and textures of the green tea leaf salad (Laphet Thoke, $10.95). I’d goes as far to say that it easily blows away the more well-known, romaine-based salad, the Caesar. With tomatoes, onions, garlic, fermented tea leaves, and a mix of dried peanuts, sesame seeds, chickpeas, and other legumes, it was totally new kind of salad for me. It worked well both on its own and as a counterpoint to the spicier dishes that we ordered.
Speaking of spice, the Shan-style noodles (Shan Khauk Swe, $17.95) brought the most heat to our dinner. Comprised of rice noodles topped with pickled mustard leaves, chili peppers, peanuts, sesame seeds, and cubes of chicken breast, I loved the layers of complementary tastes in this dish. It was lightly tangy, savoury, and with that hit of spice, there’s not much more you could want!
The coconut chicken ($19.95), while much simpler than the Shan noodles, showcased how good Rangoon’s kitchen is at the basics. With big, one- to two-inch cubes of chicken breast in a coconut milk sauce, there isn’t much room for hiding any mistakes. The chicken was some of the most tender breast meat I’ve ever had, and the rich and creamy sauce kept things interesting.
I wasn’t as wowed by the sautéed eggplant (Kha Yen Thee Hinn, $16.95), but it was still an enjoyable dish of silky, flavourful eggplant.
The cassava and coconut cake ($5.95) was a lightly sweet and rich treat. Smooth in texture, and with just a bit of toasted coconut on top, it was a great way to finish our meal.
After this amazing meal as takeout, I can see why Rangoon has gotten rave reviews in the past, and is a go-to spot for some of the city’s top chefs! While I’m looking forward to the day when I can eat in at Rangoon, I might not be able to wait that long before I darken their door again.