Stories

The Food of Myanmar: Our Favourites

 

The countries that border Myanmar, especially India, China and Thailand, have influenced Burmese cuisine, so what a treat it was to try all of the amazing offerings.

 

When we first arrived in Myanmar we had no idea what to expect for food. From North to South, Myanmar has no shortage of great food to sample. Here are some of our favourites.

(A restaurant list is waiting at the bottom of this blog should you be traveling to Myanmar and want to sample some of the food we had)

 

TEA LEAF SALAD
The Tea Leaf Salad is a really tasty salad made with fermented tea leafs that give the salad a sour flavour. Mixed in with the tea leafs are crunchy fried beans, peanuts, chopped tomatoes, garlic, and onion. It was one of our favourite dishes in all of Myanmar.

Myanmar Food

Sooooo many Salads!!!

 

TOMATO SALAD
We could always rely on a tomato salad if there was nothing else we could eat. You can sometimes choose from either green, or red tomatoes; both are excellent choices.

The tomatoes are mixed with peanuts, a drizzle of oil, and sliced onions. Always fresh, and always delicious.

 

COCONUT RICE
Our favourite place to eat in Saskatoon, Canada is a restaurant called Golden Pagoda.

It was there we got our first taste of Burmese cooking. They serve an amazing coconut rice that we always order, and we were happy to find that they stayed true to Myanmar cooking. Fluffy white rice, mixed with fresh coconut flakes, and a bit of sweetness. It’s perfection.

 

HOT AND SPICY TOFU
Another dish we originally sampled at Golden Pagoda, but in Canada the dish was served with potatoes. In Myanmar this dish was rich, spicy, and full of flavour.

Myanmar Food

Hot and Spicy Tofu

Made with finely chopped sweet onions, chili’s, and oil, and served with warm tofu.

It is a dish I look forward to making when I’m at home.

 

MASALA DOSA, CHAPATI, and THALI

Myanmar Food

Masala Dosa for only 80 cents!!!

Yes, masala dosa, chapati, and thali are native to India, but Myanmar is such a melting pot, that these foods are also a part of the Burmese culture, and we are thankful for that.

We enjoyed several dosas in Yangon for .80 cents a pop, and unlimited veg thali in Yangon was $1.

They keep filling up your plate, so make sure you’re hungry!!

Myanmar Food

All you can eat Veg Thali for only $1!!!

Chapati is available at most tea shops all over burma. Dosa’s, chapati, and thali are served with a pickled vegetable and dahl.

 

SAMOSAS

Myanmar Food

Cooking Samosas in Kalaw, Myanmar

Walk down any street in Myanmar and you’re likely to spot a little indian man with a portable samosa maker.

We sampled many samosas during our 3 weeks in Myanmar.

Our favorite was at a small tea shop in Kalaw, where we enjoyed unlimited tea, and fried goodies that kept on coming, until we said “please, no more”. For the 3 of us, our bill came to $2.

 

TREATS
A wide variety of sweet treats can be found all over Myanmar, so if you have a sweet tooth, but are unsure of what the mystery in that package is, read on.

 

PEANUT ROLLS

Myanmar Food

A package of 10 for only 45 cents….So we bought 12 packages.

These reminded us so much of butterfinger chocolate bars, but with much less ingredients, and no chocolate.

They are made from crushed powdered peanuts, and covered with barley malt. They taste like candied peanut butter. We’ll be experimenting with them and dipping them in dark chocolate. We found ours in Bago at a small grocery store for .45 cents.

 

JAGGERY

Myanmar Food

Sweet Sweet Jaggery

These wonderous balls of sugar taste like maple syrup candy. They are made from sugar cane, and they are beautiful in a hot cup of tea or coffee; or just place one in your mouth and let it melt. A perfect small dessert. They will run you .30 cents a bag.

You can find them mixed with coconut flakes and black sesame seeds as well.

 

TAMARIND FLAKES
These are such a sweet treat, and something I would love to give away one year for Halloween (if I could ever find them in Canada).

If you love sweet and sour, you’ll love these thin discs that melt in your mouth.

Myanmar Food

Tamarind Flakes

Made from tamarind-and yes, you guessed it- sugar, the chewy fruit and sugar is flattened into thin round discs, sprinkled with a small amount of flour, and about 6-7 pieces are stacked together and wrapped up in tissue paper, then stuffed in a small bag.

A big bag is about $1.

 

RESTAURANTS
SHAN MA MA

Myanmar Food

Shan Ma Ma in Mandalay

Shan Ma Ma is a great little place in Mandalay where you can pick and choose your food. They have a a wide variety of delicious fresh dishes, from tomato salad, butterbeans, corn, tofu, pumpkin, and more. It is a very inexpensive place to eat.

81st, Between 29-30 st., Mandalay

 

AYE-MYIT-TAR

Myanmar Food

Aye-Myit-Tar in Mandalay

Another inexpensive restaurant that we really enjoyed was Aye-Myit-Tar. Located directly across the street from Shan Ma Ma, it is slightly a bit fancier with seating inside. You are brought quite a few free dishes, so careful with how much you order from the menu. They also have jaggery in a plastic jar at each table, so you can sample it before you decide to buy a whole bag.

81st, Between 29-30th st., Mandalay

 

INGYIN NWE SOUTH INDIAN FOOD CENTRE

Myanmar Food

Ingyin Nwe South Indian Food Centre in Yangon

Delicious cheap  South Indian food. Dosa, chapati, pappad, thali’s, and more! Masala Dosa’s were only 800 Kyat.
We enjoyed several dosas and a water for under $3!!

No. (232), Anawrahta Rd. Corner of Bosoonpat st., Yangon

 

YKKO KYAY-OH RESTAURANT

Myanmar Food

Grilled Garlic and Vegetable Skewers

Unfortunately we had to stay a night in Mawlamyine, but at least we found a good place to eat!! More of a western style restaurant, YKKO is located along the water, and has a large menu printed in english. This is where we tried the sweet and spicy tofu.

We also really enjoyed grilled garlic, okra, and fresh squeezed watermelon, and orange juice. The prices here are also quite inexpensive. About $5 total for 3 to 4 dishes and drinks.

Dawei jetty, corner of Strand Rd. Dawei bridge St., Mawlamyine

 

KAUNG HTAT


A slightly higher priced restaurant, but still delicious, Kaung Htat is located in Bagan.

They served all of our favorite fresh salads. If you ask for “Myanmar food” you will get all of the yummy side dishes that come with traditional Burmese food for $1.

No address, except for South of Market, Main road. Across the street from Eden Motel in Bagan

 

Other than exploring far off lands, learning about different cultures, and connecting with people; food is a big part of why we love to travel. The food in Myanmar has been some of our favourite. We will definitely be trying to re-create these recipes back home.

 

 

DISCLAIMER
We found Burmese food to be very oily. It is even in the salads.
They don’t drizzle oil on things, they use heaping spoon fulls. We were not a fan of this, but all you have to do is ask for no oil, or little oil, and you’ll be fine. (provided they understand english)

 

 

 

 

Comments To This Entry.
  1. Kaliballz November 6, 2013 Reply

    Omg my mouth is watering!!! I want to try it all – especially the tea leaf salad. Sounds weird & awesome! Great blog! ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤

    • Giselle and Cody November 6, 2013 Reply

      Kali, The Tea Leaf and Tomato Salads were incredible. The food in Myanmar was incredible!!! Mmmmm, I want Burmese food now. You are super lucky that you have Golden Pagoda in Saskatoon!!

  2. Elizabeth November 6, 2013 Reply

    Wow! All of this food sounds and looks delicious and the restaurants sound great too! The Samosas made fresh right on the street? Yummy! And the sweet treats too.. Yum Yum! Great Blog…..

    • Giselle and Cody November 6, 2013 Reply

      Elizabeth, We wish would could send a whole bag of those treats back home for you. They were all so delicious and cheap.
      The food was great but after a while all the oil kinda gets to you. 🙂 We are going to be eating fresh fruits and salads for awhile

  3. Franca November 7, 2013 Reply

    That looks so good! I miss a lot the Asian style vegan food, in Europe isn’t always easy to find some vegan options (falafel a part, fortunately they are everywhere) and it isn’t cheap either. All you can eat Veg Thali for only $1 is a dream here.

    • Giselle and Cody November 7, 2013 Reply

      Yeah, the Asian style Vegan food is so delicious and so easy to find. There are so many places all over. Where in Europe are you two at the moment? Hopefully you will run into more Vegan places 🙂

  4. Lucia Pereira November 7, 2013 Reply

    all the food looks sooooooooooo yummy…..wish I was there with you guys
    so share the food and experiences….

  5. Linda Pacienza November 9, 2013 Reply

    I have a wee bit of a sweet tooth and I need to try jaggery!

  6. Abby November 11, 2013 Reply

    Looks really delicious. I would also love to try their food. Asian foods are really very delicious. I have tried “adobo” in the Philippines and really loved it 🙂

    • Giselle and Cody November 18, 2013 Reply

      Abby, the food in Myanmar is amazing.
      We are really spoiled with the food in Southeast Asia.
      So many great Vegan restaurants and dishes to eat.
      The Eggplant Adobo sounds delicious.

  7. Nathan Grappo November 18, 2013 Reply

    So glad I came across this blog. I am travelling to Myanmar at the end of January and as a Vegetarian I was a little worried of the difficulties I might face. It’s so great to see that there are a lot of options to choose from. I figured it would probably be a little harder then the rest of Southeast Asia but apparently not. Cheers!!

    • Giselle and Cody November 26, 2013 Reply

      Nathan, you will not have a problem eating Vegetarian in Myanmar.
      There is so much delicious food to choose from. Have a great time in Myanmar.

  8. Samara November 20, 2013 Reply

    This food looks really good. I am travelling through Southeast Asia right now and have been contemplating heading to Myanmar. Now I might cut out another country and head there instead. 🙂 Thanks for the blog.

    • Giselle and Cody November 26, 2013 Reply

      Samara, DO IT!!! It is such a wonderful country to travel through.

  9. Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) November 21, 2013 Reply

    This looks incredible; I’m so glad to see you guys ate well (if slightly oily!) while in Myanmar. Tony & I only popped into Myanmar on a visa run from Chiang Rai, but we did manage to time our visit so that we got to have lunch while there and we were really impressed. In particular, I LOVED the tea salad that we tried—what an explosion of flavours! I was so surprised that the flavors were so different from Thai food given that the two countries share a border. Based on that meal alone I was dying to explore more of the country, but for now I’ll just have to do so through your posts.

    • Giselle and Cody November 26, 2013 Reply

      Steph, the Tea Leaf Salad was one of our favourite dishes. it definitely is an explosion of flavours.
      If you and Tony get a chance to head over to Myanmar we would highly recommend it. It is a great country with such beautiful and genuine people. We really enjoyed the time we spent there and would love to visit again.

  10. Adam November 26, 2013 Reply

    I’ve heard great things about visiting this country but haven’t read much about the food. Looks like the food is delicious!

    • Giselle and Cody November 26, 2013 Reply

      Adam, the food and the country is amazing.
      Highly recommended!! 🙂

  11. Erica November 26, 2013 Reply

    This made my tummy grumble a bit and I just ate! Great round up guys!

  12. Alex November 26, 2013 Reply

    You had me at Butterfinger Bars! They sound fantastic… might have to make a trip to Myanmar just to try some 😛 Thanks for the helpful guide!

    • Giselle and Cody November 26, 2013 Reply

      Alex, we ended up buying so many of these. We are still enjoying them in Bhutan.
      Mmmmmmm, I think I might go have one now. Hahaha

  13. […] Have you checked out our Vegan food blog about Myanmar yet? Our favourite food in Myanmar […]

  14. Camels & Chocolate November 27, 2013 Reply

    Tea leaf salad, yummmmmm. When we still lived in San Francisco, our apartment was right by the famed Burma Superstar and we had tea leaf salad weekly. Now, we order the fermented tea leaves from Burma by way of London and make it from home!

    • Giselle and Cody November 28, 2013 Reply

      Wow, that’s amazing. You love tea leaf salad a lot!!
      We hope that when we head back home we will be able to find it somewhere in Toronto.

  15. Pete November 29, 2013 Reply

    We had a salad here in Thailand similar to the tea leaf salad called Wing Bean salad. All of the food you list here sounds amazing!!

    • Giselle and Cody December 5, 2013 Reply

      The wing bean salad in Thailand is one of our faves!! We are in Bhutan at the moment and we are both craving mango sticky rice and Thai salads 🙂 At least they have Veg Momos here!!!!

  16. Than Htay December 15, 2013 Reply

    Haha, yes! Agreed! Burmese food is definitely oily! I’m actually Burmese living in the US and whenever my family cook, all I noticed is the oil now. But, I LOVE COCONUT RICE! My mom made some about 2 weeks ago, but it doesn’t taste the same as the ones in Burma. >_< Definitely a huge difference of taste. Omg, I miss Burmese food<3 Especially the desserts. Have you ever tried coconut jelly? It's so yummy!

    • Giselle and Cody December 15, 2013 Reply

      Than Htay, Oh yeah we love Coconut Jelly!!!
      It is oily but is so good!! The salads were some of our favourite while travelling.
      We would love to have some of those salads right about now. 🙂

  17. […] were curious, and talkative, always wanting to help, feeding us delicious food,  and very kind as […]

  18. Jason October 2, 2014 Reply

    My mouth is watering right now!!

    You can’t find any food like this where I live.

  19. LookIwasThere August 12, 2015 Reply

    Careful with the Tea Leaf Salad. It is usual to offer some sauces to put some taste, some of which may have prawn (very common in Myanmar).

    • Giselle and Cody August 15, 2015 Reply

      Thanks so much for commenting and letting us know about that. We were very lucky to be able to travel with a Burmese speaking friend who was vegan as well and made sure there were no animal products in any of the food we were eating. As much as we loved all the salads in Myanmar we got sick of all the oil they poured on. so much! 🙂

      • LookIwasThere August 16, 2015 Reply

        Our pleasure! We love to share information. Keep posting, I will keep reading 😉

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