maître d’ - Sharky's, Yangon
Written by Sylvia Gavin Photography by Cedric Arnold
Introducing the concept of slow food to Myanmar, Sharky's is famed for its local, organically grown and manufactured products, including artisan breads, a wide variety of cheeses, cold cuts, yogurts, eggs, fruit, and vegetables.
This stylish gourmet delicatessen and restaurant blazes a bright trail in the culinary scene in Yangon. Championing immersion cooking, founder and master chef Ye Htut Win (previously a long-time resident of Switzerland) mixes Swiss precision with local products; the perfect poached egg takes 1 hour, 45 minutes.
Purity and simplicity is key, with no item on the menu comprising more than five ingredients. Essential elements include artisanal Myanmar salt (Ngapali fleur de sel), pepper, wild lemon, and olive oil. Also, all servings are presented on the plate with a view to being shared. This is a nod to his time in Switzerland, with Ye describing it as 'fondue style' dining.
Trained in Swiss cheese-making practices, Sharky's produces 18 different types of cheese, including local versions of goat's cheese, artisan mozzarella, soft white mould cheeses, and rind-washed cheeses.
The range of meat products is also impressive, including tenderloin of Zebu buffalo, goose prosciutto, Italian bresaola-style air-dried beef, and Barma ham (yes, that would be a Burmese version of Parma), amongst others. Also, it so happens that Sharky's is the only certified gelato maker in Myanmar, with Yes brother, Kyaw Htut Win, trained at the Carpigiani Gelato University in Bologna.
The upstairs restaurant and art gallery space is always bustling with a mixture of locals and expats catching up over excellent, thin-crusted gourmet pizzas and the scrumptious beef tenderloin, scattered with microgreens and Ngapali fleur de sel.
Food and passion
Ye Htut Win ('Sharky') founded Sharky's when he returned to Yangon 18 years ago. The restaurant's slogan is 'food and passion', and Ye himself is quick to point out: "This is not work, this is total pleasure." He has trained