Get more than your money’s worth of scrumptious Shan food at this popular buffet…
Golden Shan is a very well-known restaurant in Mandalay and a regular haunt for many expats, locals and tourists alike. It has moved to a new location – still on the West side of the moat but on 22nd (Pinya) Street, corner of 90th. As local motorbike and taxi drivers are very familiar with the old venue, make sure to double check they’re headed to the right place. Being lost can be fun, but not while you’re hungry.
Quick Info – Shan People & Food
The Shan are an ethnic group of Southeast Asia. They are mainly based in the state of Myanmar that bears their name; however there are significant populations of Shan people all over the country and neighboring countries of Thailand, Laos and China.
“Just like other ethnic groups within Myanmar, Shan people have their own distinct culture, language, food and dress”
Just like other ethnic groups within Myanmar, Shan people have their own distinct culture, language, food and dress. They have experienced a difficult past when it comes to their relationship with the government; despite these political troubles Shan State has always remained a favored place visit. The area is famed for its hosting of the Balloon Festival in Taunggyi (Taun-gi), hiking in Hsipaw (Si-po) and the breathtaking Inle (In-lay) Lake.
Shan food is an incredibly popular style of cuisine across the entire country – you’d be hard pushed not to find Shan Noodles for breakfast in most towns. General characteristics of Shan food are that it’s full of vegetables, not too spicy, and shares similar flavors to Northern Thai food.
So what’s the deal at Golden Shan?
The Golden Shan is a buffet which offers a literal feast for only 4,000 kyat (less than $3). You pay, head up with your plate, and then gorge on delicious Shan cuisine to your heart’s content. There are usually around 30 dishes on offer at any one time, and thankfully the English-speaking staff are kind enough to help you out if you haven’t quite got your Burmese down yet (so no mystery meat or super spicy curries unless you want it). If you want no meat of any kind then fear not – a lot of Shan food is vegetarian so they have a ton of options.
As with any self-respecting restaurant in Myanmar, there’s cold beer on offer to wash the food down (2,000 kyat), as well soft drinks. Another bonus – if you haven’t adapted to the sometimes 35°C+ temperature, upstairs has AC. All the dishes are authentic and made onsite by the friendly family that run it, who are incredibly proud of their Shan heritage.
“if you haven’t adapted to the sometimes 35°C+ temperature, upstairs has AC”
There’s a hugely diverse range of food on offer; spicy and mild, veggie and meat. It would be impossible to list them all, but expect to find a variation of the following:
- Sweet pork (a favorite of mine)
- Pig intestines (a little spicy for my taste)
- Spicy pork
- Pigs leg (excellent)
- Sweet and sour chicken
- Fish curry
- Chicken curry with mustard seeds (delicious)
- Chinese-style chicken
- Fried pork or fish
- Bamboo curry
- Egg curry
- Bean sprouts and tofu
- Fried, crispy mushrooms (really tasty)
- Fried Spinach and tomato
- Chayote fruit and shoots (a member of the gourd family)
The best thing about Golden Shan is actually not its diversity or authenticity; it’s that there’s always someone on hand to guide and explain. Perfect if you’re travelling through or have recently made Mandalay your home.