Ye offers a very limited choice of places to eat, but those the town does have are very good and being so close to the border, with many locals having worked in Thailand, Thai food predominates in the cooked-to-order range of restaurants.
Of the two good Thai spots we found in town, the simply named Thai Food and Drink is the best option. It’s really on only a dirt track and we couldn’t find a street name but follow the road to the east of Shwe San Daw across May Yu, and at the fourth junction and close to the market you’ll see the restaurant on your right. They have an extensive menu – all in English – with a full range of classic dishes plus a few more unusual selections. Prices are very good, with a pad Thai for example just 1,500 kyat; curries are similarly priced, a delicious tom yam is 2,000 kyat and a whole fish steamed with lime and chilli is 4,000. The English-speaking owner doesn’t sell beer but was more than happy to nip over the road to buy some. This is a friendly and pleasant spot to sit, with interior or terrace options.
Dream Bar, kitty corner at the same junction, also offers whole fried fish plus a selection of pre-prepared Burmese curries. As the name suggests, Dream is more of a beer station with food than restaurant, though with some fancy lighting and a well-stocked bar it has definite pretensions set above your standard beer station. Their fried fish at 4,000 kyat was excellent and the bar a lot of fun. It’s open until around 02:00 -- this serves as Ye’s one-stop nightlife spot and gets very popular with locals. Despite their wide array of imported spirits, they might not be able to mix cocktails but they’ll certainly enjoy trying -- just requesting one will probably make the barman’s day. It’s always very friendly and occasionally rowdy.
Back on the main street May Yu and just up from the intersection with the bridge road you’ll find Kone Htake or (KT) Food Centre. For a small town their in-house bakery offers up some decent titbits, both Western and local style, and their freshly brewed coffee provides a welcome relief from ubiquitous 3 in 1. They also have a full restaurant menu with a mixture of Burmese plus Thai choices. While slightly pricier than elsewhere, quality and quantity are good. There’s plenty of indoor seating and a few tables outside where you can grab a coffee and brownie and watch the goings on. It’s justifiably popular but does close relatively early, so don’t leave it too late.
Another spot worth noting is an unnamed Thai restaurant on the lakeside just down from May Shan Guesthouse. (Turn right at the foot of the Starlight’s steps.) It’s a basic outdoor cafe with a bamboo roof and proposes a few simple but well prepared rice and noodle dishes. Their noodle soup for 1,000 kyat or stir-fried mince pork with chilli and basil at 1,500 kyat are very good. Staff are friendly, with some English spoken.
Just at the foot of the steps leading to Starlight is the Jasmine Cool tea shop. With a name like that who could resist trying their teas, coffees and snacks? They have local-style filtered coffee for a nice change and also offer up some simple noodle plates. This is another very popular cafe with locals and a good spot to sit overlooking the lake. They generally open early and close late but it appears their opening times are actually a function of whatever time they closed the night before. With canned beers also on offer, closing time can on occasions be late.
Otherwise, guests gather on Starlight’s steps for a cold one in the evening, so this can be a good spot to catch up on travel info and tips.
Dream Bar: A block east of the market, Ye; open daily 09:00-02:00.
Jasmine Cool: Moat circular road, Ye; generally open early morning to late evening.
Kone Htake (KT Food Centre): 14 May Yu St, Ye; T: (057) 50380, (092) 6046 6900; open daily 06:00-21:00.
Thai Food & Drink: A block east of the market, Ye; T: (092) 6099 7633; open daily 10:00-22:00.
Based in Chiang Mai, Mark Ord has been travelling Southeast Asia for over two decades and first crossed paths with Travelfish on Ko Lipe in the early 1990s.