Tripadvisor tends to be my ‘when-all-else-fails’ option for food on travel but after arriving to Mandalay I was forced to it. Following 2 days of mediocre restaurants, limited food options and in honesty not so great food; Super 81 was a bit of a life saver. It no doubt makes a great start and safe option for travellers arriving to Mandalay and I’d happily go back, back again, and again. Super 81 brings that exciting, local food experience and atmosphere which I travel through Asia for, and it’s no doubt hard to beat in Mandalay. Super 81’s popularity was a little overwhelming at first, we arrive to find the downstairs packed to the rafters and at this point almost turn back. Thankfully we don’t and are instead whisked quickly upstairs, up more stairs, passing more packed rooms, verandas and rooftops before pushing back through corridors of private rooms. Super 81 looked to me like a shophouse restaurant which grew and grew to take over the entire apartment block, the entire complex packed with local banter, booze and top notch food. We end in a private room near the back of the complex.
While Chinese food is prominent it is far from the all. The menu kind of covers all of Asia and the list is seemingly endless; Grilled Duck Brunei Curry, Taiwan Styled Fish Roll, ‘Singapore Style Fried Grilled Duck Konbong’, I could spend a night reading the menu, dreaming of the foods which might be dropped in front of me. I wanted to order for everyone “your having the Rakhine Style Fish Claypot, you… your having the treasure steamed duck”, but this would have been rude. Browsing the menu wide-eyed we all make our own picks. Of course my selection makes the most of the opportunity with the ‘whole duck served with three kinds of curry’ (9,500 Kyat). The standout dish however was one I’d be reluctant to order myself, the steamed seabass with lemon and chilli (7,500 Kyat). Amazing food and the portions are huge. I’d recite the entire order but with so many dishes bouncing through my brain I forget most. The final bill rounds up to 31,300 Kyat ($31 US) for a feast for four which is unbeatable value. The value at Super 81 Restaurant is reflected best by the Mandalay Beer at 1,500 Kyat per big bottle whereas most tourist menus and hotel restaurants charge 3,000 plus.
Found at No. 582, on the corner of 81st Street and 39th Street in Mandalay. The restaurant will be lined with local motorbikes and the downstairs buzzes with food, barbecue and local banter. Pictured below at closing time. Taxi’s know it.