YANGON — An exciting new offering for health-conscious diners seeking whole rather than fast food has emerged downtown. Tucked down a lane opposite Gallery 65 on Yaw Min Gyi Street in Dagon Township, Sprouts is a hidden haven. But the secret is out, and the bicycles are parked outside.
With just six tables and friendly counter service, Sprouts keeps things simple. Made fresh each day, the soups, salads and breads scream ruddy goodness. Open 8 am to 8 pm daily, you can pop in for a breakfast of granola, fruit and yoghurt (3,500 kyat) or fruit only (2,000 kyat). It’s a natural, power-packed start to the day that you can enjoy with a fruit smoothie (2,500 kyat), delicious lime and mint cooler (2,000 kyat) or drip coffee (1,000 kyat).
For lunch, dinner or anytime in between, Sprouts’ versions of all-time classic salads like Greek or Niçoise (5,000 kyat) are offered alongside original creations inspired by a musical bent, such as the Rocket Man, Jitterbug and Pomelo Yellow for 4,500 kyat, or the Salad of a Thin Man for 3,500 kyat. Or you can also do the Build a Salad (3,500 kyat) with a selection of crisp lettuce leaves, including red oak, romaine and rocket, served together with your choice of carrot, cucumber, tomatoes, pomelo, peppers, onion, chickpeas, corn, broccoli, roast vegetables, boiled egg, green beans, mango or seeds. Cheeses are 1,000 kyat extra, but you can get olives, bread or beetroot for just 500 kyat more. The idea of feta and pumpkin seeds in the mix makes this salad hunter salivate. Tossed with tasty tart dressings, such a small feast becomes a life-enhancing experience.
For a bit more oomph to carry you through the day, you must order Sprouts’ now-legendary carrot and ginger soup (which is strongly challenged by their hearty tomato), available by the cup (2,000 kyat) or bowl (3,000 kyat) and served with bread.
Some sweet desserts (a berry crumble or some honey oatmeal slice would do nicely here)
might be welcome additions to the menu, but the Sprouts team seems focused on healthy, low-sugar diets. And thanks for that.
Reminiscent of the container cafés that sprang up in post-earthquake Christchurch in New Zealand, Sprouts is chilled out, informal, stylish, and clean with a personal touch. Some may find the setup a bit bare and the square wooden stools just a tad uncomfortable, but that’s just a question of taste. And for cellular excitement, Sprouts raw food is probably the best in town. Find it or phone in an order and the Sprouts team will deliver to your door in the Yaw Min Gyi Street and Bogyoke Market area for an extra 1,000 kyat, or for the round taxi fare to other areas.
This article first appeared in the August 2014 print edition of The Irrawaddy magazine.