For a long time I've been having an issue with the top navigation bar in Magento 2.3 not showing the first time a page is requested after varnish cache is cleared. On subsequent requests of the same page (e.g hitting Refresh) the nav bar shows normally. This happens on any page: Home page, Category Page, Product page, Search etc.
The issue is obviously related to varnish because the
<esi:include> for the nav bar is left intact but other
<esi:include> are processed normally.
I've tried clearing caches, setup:di:compile, redeploying static content but nothing worked so far. I am at a loss as to how to troubleshoot the issue.
Using Magento 2.3.4 with Varnish 4.0.2. I cannot really modify varnish configuration/VCLs as this is managed by my host (Cloudways)
(Please note logs have been truncated to only include related requests, but still they are to large to embed in the question)