musings on music, travel, books, and life from Southeast Asia

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When I was in Bagan recently I had the chance to revisit a favorite eating establishment, the Silver House Restaurant in New Bagan. Hey, for me, food plays a vital part in the joy of travel, so I’m always delighted to find places that please my stomach. The food at Silver House is always delicious, plus the owners, U Aung Koont and his wife, provide excellent service along with that trademark Burmese hospitality.

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Tourists that visit the ancient temple ruins in Bagan have the choice of staying in three distinct areas. There is Old Bagan, where you will find most of the most popular temples. But the hotels are quite expensive in Old Bagan and the area is strangely devoid of any real residents (you can read elsewhere about why that’s the case: there as a forced relocation of the old community). Many tourists, especially those on a budget, prefer the town of Nyaung U, which is closer to Bagan’s international airport and has more of a thriving business district. My choice for accommodation, however, is in New Bagan, a small town just down the road from Old Bagan and the village of Myinkaba. The room rates in New Bagan are about the same or slightly higher than Nyaung U, but it’s not as busy — meaning, it’s much less hectic — and offers the visitor a more tranquil stay.

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Rather than try any new restaurants in New Bagan this time — and there are more than ever — I headed over to Silver House for all my meals. I hadn’t been there in about three years, a shockingly long time considering that I used to frequent the restaurant four or five times every year for the better part of the past decade. But I don’t visit Bagan as much as I used to, and the last time I was in town I had the crew from 90th Street in Mandalay with me and didn’t have time to visit Silver House.  So, I made up for it on this visit, and enjoyed catching up on local events and politics with U Aung Koont.

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My Bagan friend Nine Nine accompanied me to Silver House when he wasn’t working at his hotel job or busy with family matters. One night, we had dinner at Nine Nine’s house, a sumptuous spread that his wife and mother-in-law prepared, while his infant daughter played in a corner. Afterwards, Nine Nine came back to my hotel and serenaded me on acoustic guitar with a medley of Myanmar music, including songs by Linn Linn and a new discovery, Wai La. Great stuff!

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If you are in New Bagan, you can find Silver House on the town’s main road, sometimes called Khaye Street, across the street from the Shwe Ou restaurant and the Ruby Guesthouse. They are open every day!

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