Aye Aye Maw still has the old teashop feeling...
When I was in my late teens I started going to teashops in Yangon without my parents. For a young woman like me this was a big step. In those days people in Myanmar frowned on young girls sitting at teashops with boys. Nowadays nobody cares who sits with whom at teashops, but back then I was usually the only girl sitting with men, unless one of my female friends joined us.
At the teashops I would chat with my friends about exams, college, and future job prospects. I was quite thankful that my parents did not stop me from going to teashops. As a high school student I studied hard and took few breaks. But going to a teashop was one of my breaks, and I enjoyed hanging out with my friends.
The other reason to go to a teashop was to listen to music. Back then, many families did not have stereos at home. We were high school students and did not have much pocket money. But hanging out with friends while listening to the latest music in teashops was a luxury you could afford. These days, many teashops in Myanmar also show videos in addition to playing music.
I'm now living overseas but when I visit Yangon I still enjoy going to teashops. One new teashop I frequent, located near the airport, is called Zin. It serves various types of tea, soft drinks, and coffee. They also serve food such as monhinga (fish noodle soup), ohno kauk swe (coconut milk noodle soup), various noodle dishes, cakes, sweet sticky rice, pancakes, and Nan bread. When I go to Zin in the evenings, I usually order milk with lots of cream, but no sugar. If I go there for breakfast, I order one of the noodle dishes. The owner is a friend of mine so she is quite tolerant of my special requests.
With the opening of more modern cafés and bakeries in Yangon, the popularity of teashops among the richer middle class is waning. However, I highly doubt that teashops in Myanmar will disappear anytime soon. Owners will learn to keep up with the times and there will always be enough people who prefer tea made at a local teashop.
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92-A Pyay Road, 10 Miles, Mingaldon, Yangon
Tel: (+95-1) 707 156
The teashop opens at 5 a.m. and normally closes at around 10 p.m.
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Published on 3/4/07