Société Rangoon: Where Bengaluru’s chilly evenings get a Burmese warm-up

With the menu curated by a Burmese couple chef Zaw Mahesh and his wife Tin Muyar Zaw, the restaurant features dishes made with Myanmar-sourced ingredients

October 27, 2023 03:51 pm | Updated 06:51 pm IST

  • Restaurant Société Rangoon
  • Cuisine Asian
  • Cost ₹₹₹
  • Address SEE MAP
Ohn no khao swè at Société Rangoon

Ohn no khao swè at Société Rangoon | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Bengaluru is waking up to breezy mornings and cooler nights, with the city experiencing its coolest October morning in a decade. And if there is one thing you must do as winter approaches, it is dust off your sweaters and let your kamblis soak up the afternoon sun, while you prepare batches of soup for those cosy dinner nights. Just as I was yearning for a warm, delicious bowl of comfort, I found myself in good company, with a steaming bowl of Burmese Ohn no khao swè at Société Rangoon, in JP Nagar.

Watch | Inside Société Rangoon, Bengaluru
| Video Credit: Special arrangement
The coffee and tea bar at Société Rangoon

The coffee and tea bar at Société Rangoon | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

The funny thing about the Ohn no khao swè, the Burmese coconut milk-based noodle soup, is that it has culinary cousins all across Southeast Asia. You will find its variations in the Malaysian laksa and Thai khao soi of Chiang Mai, as well as in Luang Prabang, northern Laos. This rich tradition extended to the Indian subcontinent, giving birth to India’s khow suey and Pakistan’s khausa. This culinary migration coincides with the 1960s exodus of Burmese Indians back to South Asia, where Ohn no khao swè’s legacy still thrives, especially in eastern India.

So, there I was slurping on my noodles with a slice of Southeast Asian culture in a Bengaluru restaurant where the menu is curated by Burmese duo, chef Zaw Mahesh and his wife Tin Muyar Zaw. They often say the world is shrinking, but in this city, where our love for authentic food and organic produce powered by tech-driven prosperity creates a unique bubble. It is almost as if we are stepping further away from the norms of the rest of India and closer to a world beyond our own.

The restaurant is owned by brother-sister duo, Krish Nayak and Apeksha Kamath, who also run Taiki, Kubo and Tiger Thai.

Tucked below a flashier restaurant’s banner, Société Rangoon is a quiet, contemporary, minimalistic space with earthy tones, unlike the bustling noisy streets of Rangoon. Brown, white, and cream walls are gently lit, with long mirrors and bamboo sieves as artistic accents. A touch of green from potted shrubs adds a refreshing contrast to the décor.

Seating up to 75 guests, the restaurant features brown wooden furniture with cosy, dark green cushions. In the heart of this snug space lies a coffee and tea bar, creating a central focal point for your dining experience.

Chicken pon ye gyi

Chicken pon ye gyi | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

The Baya Kyaw soup, a Burmese twist on falafel and hummus, features a chickpea soup with cabbage, fresh green chillies, and crispy fried falafels at its heart. The creamy chickpea soup, with falafel bites and a hint of lime kind of works. As a devoted fan of the classic falafel-hummus-pita combo, this soup was a bit of a brain-teaser.

The gin thok salad assembles thinly sliced pickled ginger, tomatoes, fried shallots, shallot oil, and fried beans into an ensemble. It offers a blend of crunch, sweetness, and an intense ginger punch. The ginger kick is so potent that having more than two spoonfuls can be quite challenging.

Their mutton curry is fiery with a hint of pickled tea leaf flavour complimented with tender meat, baby corn and sweet carrots. It goes well with their fragrant coconut rice. The shan noodles with chicken present a spicy umami-rich soup infused with paprika, pickled greens, star anise, sweet soy and a finishing touch of crunchy peanuts. It is soupy, though not as brothy as a typical ramen bowl.

Tin’s rose sagu at Société Rangoon

Tin’s rose sagu at Société Rangoon | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Among a sea of hearty soups and rich curries, one refreshing standout that I would happily enjoy twice is the smoky guava cooler. This peppery, smoky concoction marries the sweet and tangy guava with a bold Tabasco  kick and bursts of pomegranate seeds. There is also the bubble tea, but the boba was way too chewy. You can find better quality boba tea at more affordable prices in other cafes in the city.

At your meal’s end, there is Tin’s rose sagu, a coconut sagu cake with Malay roots, stained pink with rose syrup. As you dip into the cake, you get a scoop of tapioca pearls baked with coconut and a rich rose syrup topping with a hunk of coconut sauce, slowly sinking in, until all are one.

Société Rangoon
Hits: Ohn no khao swè, smoky guava cooler
Misses: Gin thok salad
Wallet factor: A meal for two with alcohol costs ₹1,800 including taxes
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