Shwe Mandalay is a family-owned and operated business and is currently the only Burmese restaurant in West Michigan. It had its soft opening on August 21, 2018. The grand opening, complete with a ribbon cutting, was October 9th, 2018. Shwe Mandalay fills the market for authentic Burmese street food in Battle Creek, where the Burmese population is 3,000 and growing.
Siblings Jennifer and Stan moved to the United States from Burma in 2001, and their siblings, Amanda and Christina, and their mother followed in 2009 and 2010. After moving, the family decided they wanted to share their culture’s food and their passion with the Battle Creek community.
The family has an incredible passion for food. That is their main topic of conversation, and they relax by cooking and eating. While growing up in Burma, the family had a weekly tradition where on Saturdays they would gather with their extended family at their grandmother’s and hire a chef from the market. The family would cook and eat the entire day until they were sleepy.
Burma (also known as Myanmar) is located in Southeast Asia, and it is a country with a rich and diverse culture. The diversity of Burmese cuisine had been contributed by the myriad of local ethnic groups within the country, and it has also been influenced by its neighboring countries China, India, and Thailand. Shwe Mandalay offers many of the family’s childhood favorites, which would be considered iconic street food in Burma.
Amanda worked as a manager in a restaurant in Malaysia, and ever since then she knew that she wanted her own restaurant. Amanda approached her siblings with the idea, and the family took it and ran with it. In 2016, the Shwe Mandalay Cusine LLC. was formed with help from the Generation E Institute, a non-profit that helps small businesses form in the Battle Creek area. In 2017, the business gained two mentors, Michael Miller and Amy Evans, who helped accelerate the process. With these mentors and their business consultant John Schmitt’s help, Shwe Mandalay opened its doors in August of 2018.