Everything we ate in Myanmar: Burmese Food Porn
This is a gallery of the food we ate in Myanmar. Some of it isn’t typical Burmese food, but I’ve decided to include it to give you guys an idea of what you can eat while traveling in Myanmar. Food in Myanmar is varied. You’ll see some Chinese dishes, some Indian dishes, and or course traditional Burmese food. I’ve also included drinks of Myanmar – mainly tea – Burma’s favorite drink. I’ve tried to provide information on where we had the food, and how much it cost.
Before coming to Myanmar, I had read about how the food wasn’t very good – it’s oily, and not all that diverse. First of all, oil is delicious when it’s balanced correctly, and you can mostly avoid the oily sauces if you prefer a lighter meal. Secondly, while it’s true that there aren’t a lot of options when ordering traditional Burmese food, I think the tastes you experience in a meal is quite diverse. It does lacks the sweetness that you get with other Southeast Asian food, but the spice, the salt, the sourness, and the umami are all present. The difference is, in other Southeast Asian food the flavors are balanced in each dish, while food in Myanmar divides the flavors up among its various dips, sauces, and salads, allowing you to balance the meal yourself according to your taste. A spread at a traditional Burmese meal will delight you with the colors, the variety, and of course the flavors.
Food in Myanmar Gallery
Riverside Restaurant with No Name
We stumbled across this place while on a bicycle journey around the lake. After being ferried across the lake and dropped off at the long wooden pier, a man asked us if we wanted to eat at his restaurant. It was a 2 minute canoe ride across the canal. The atmosphere was great and the food was quite tasty. For the dishes you see below, plus 2 beers, we paid 10,500 MMK.
Homemade potato chips. We didn’t originally order this, but when we saw them we had to have them. They were fresh and crispy.
Avocado salad is a thing in Inle Lake. We had it at three different restaurants in the area. The lake is in the state of Shan, named because of the large number of Shan people that live there. Apparently, avocado salad is a Shan dish, but it’s very similar to guacamole.
Everest 2 Restaurant
This Nepali Restaurant is located on Kyaung Daw Anauk St, in Nyaung Shwe. Truth be told, this was the first time I ever tried Nepali food. I don’t know how authentic it was, but I found it very very similar to the Burmese dishes that we had tried. I ordered a beef curry (which is on the left) with a chapatti. The rest of what you see came for free. The total cost of the meal was 10,500 MMK for 2 curries with chapatti, and 2 beers.
Indra Indian Food
Indian food in Myanmar is quite popular. Because of local ingredient substitutions, it’s a bit different than traditional Indian food, but to someone who hasn’t spent a lot of time in India the changes will hardly be noticeable. We shared a couple curries and a Caprese salad (which of course is Italian, but it was still very delicious), and had 2 chai teas that were a perfect full-stop to a nice meal. The restaurant, which is just west of the canal on Yone Gyi St in Nyaung Shwe, is small and doesn’t look like much, but the lady that runs it spoke English well and was quite friendly to people (she doesn’t like dogs though).
Red Mountain Estate Vineyards & Winery
We had a quick stop here for a few samples of wine, a couple glasses of Sauvignon Blanc, and the amazing view. For the sampler you see in the photo, plus the extra two full glasses, it costs us 14,500 MMK. The winery is on the road that runs along the east side of the lake, about a 20 minute bicycle ride from Nyaung Shwe.
Inle Heart View Restaurant
Located down a dirt road a few hundred meters from the winery, this restaurant is worth traveling to. It was one of our better meals in all of Myanmar. The food is very fresh — most of it is grown on the property. I sipped on an iced roselle drink while looking over a beautiful field of roselle. Sara had an orange and pineapple drink. We also got deep-fried marrow, which wasn’t photographed because we scarfed it down so quickly. The bill came to 14,000 MMK.
Rainforest Thai Restaurant
Thai food in Myanmar can be found in most cities, but it isn’t really a popular thing for locals to eat. That being said, the typical Thai ingredients are not hard to get in Myanmar, so it’s a pretty authentic international dish. Rainforest Thai is located in an alley off of 27th street (across from Marie Min restaurant). The prices are a bit steep, but the large balcony is very relaxing and the food was very good. We paid 17,000 MMK for two dishes, some spring rolls, and 2 fruit drinks.
This is the place to go for authentic Burmese food in Myanmar. The restaurant is on 81st street between 36 and 37 street. It’s popular with locals, but is also recommended by all the guides, so tourists can get a bit of help from the English speaking waitstaff. We went here for lunch and it was very busy. We only ordered a couple curries, but by the time we left we both felt like we had eaten a very delicious feast. It cost us 10,000 MMK, including 2 drinks.
No photos for this place, only this nifty video.
Aung Lin Chinese Restaurant
Chinese food is popular in Myanmar. Even Burmese restaurants will have Chinese dishes, and use Chinese cooking methods. Aung Lin is Chinese owned. It is probably the best no-nonsense Chinese restaurant in Mandalay. The atmosphere isn’t great, but the food is simple, authentic, and reasonably priced. We had roast pork belly, a chicken tofu dish, stir-fried vegetables, and white rice — plus a couple of beers, for 15,000 MMK.
Ya Thar Mon Laphet
For fried foods and BBQ, a Myanmar beer garden is the place to go, and Ya That Mon Laphet was the best one we went to. The place was busy and exciting. The food was really really good. We had deep-fried pork (how could that not be good), vegetable fried rice (dried fruit and nuts in it!), and a spicy tofu curry. Oh, and a bunch of draft beers. The total only came to 12,000 MMK. That’s under $10! Pretty incredible considering how much we ate and drank. If I lived in Mandalay, this place would be my hangout. It’s located on 82nd street between 31st 32nd.
Watch my YouTube video to get a sense of the vibe, see the food, and learn a bit about eating out in Myanmar.
This riverside restaurant is actually in Inwa, the ancient capital that should be on your Mandalay itinerary. The relaxing atmosphere and the dressed up waiters, is a change from the rest of the meals we had. Ave Maria is clearly a tourist restaurant, but the food is good and the view over the river is worth the extra money you’ll spend (15,000 for the two dishes and drinks).
Pyin Oo Lwin
I think we had this typical Burmese meal at a place called Family Restaurant. At least, that’s what they were calling it in English. It was down a side street, off the main road, close to the clock tower. When we arrived it was packed with locals. We ordered two curries and watched as the table became filled.
Going clockwise, starting from the top-left: Large plate of vegetables – most of which are par-boiled, curried lima beans, Nga Pi Chat – a spicy tomato shrimp paste mixture, Shan cauliflower curry, crispy rice crackers, okra, carrot salad, variety of sauces.
Bus rest stops
We always tried to get a cup of tea and some snacks during our bus breaks. Why? 1) All the locals were doing it. 2) It was delicious!
‘Lapae yea’ or black tea with condensed milk. I’m not a black tea fan, but I couldn’t stop drinking this stuff. You can also see small cups of green tea on the table. These are free, so drink away.
Tea places will sometimes throw a bowl of snacks down for you to eat. I sampled a few of these — not all of them were good, but it’s fun to try new things. They are very cheap, so don’t worry about not knowing the cost.
Yangon is definitely the best place for street food in Myanmar. Chinatown has a ton of not-just-Chinese snacks. There are stalls setup in the morning, and other ones in their places in the afternoon. Unfortunately, we were both a little sick when we were in Yangon, so we didn’t get to eat as much as we wanted to. Here’s a sample of a few things though.
Coconut peanut pancakes. ‘Bein moun’ is the sweet pancake (see the savory one below). They will sometimes have beans in them or poppy seeds.
Chickpeas, chives, and parsley pancakes. ‘Moun pyar thalet’ – the savory version, which I didn’t like as much.
Streetside spring rolls, samosas, and pakora. Grab a few of these on the go and you could fill yourself up for less than a dollar.
Deep-fried bananas. I should have taken a photo of the inside of one. The banana is creamy and gooey. The outside is of course crispy. I could have used a bit less batter though. Cost: 200 MMK
Honestly, I never figured out what this was, but it’s cooked in a weird pan, and they look kind of like hats. The outside, specially the brim, is crispy while the inside is soft, moist, and slightly sweet.
Samosa salad. This is pretty popular in the streets of Yangon, and for good reason. Freshly made samosas are snipped up and mixed with some herbs and vegetables. A light curry sauce acts as your dressing. This is very salty for a salad, but still fresh tasting and the crispy crunch of the deep fried samosa skins adds a great texture to it.
999 Shan Noodle Shop
A bowl of Shan noodle soup is good for what ails me. In Burmese it’s called ‘Shan kauk swe’, and they’re enjoyed pretty much everywhere in Myanmar. 999 Shan Noodle (130/B 34th St) is one of the more popular places to get them in Yangon. The restaurant is inexpensive, clean, and you know they make a delicious bowl of noodles. There are a variety of soups and even dry versions, but I can’t remember which ones we ordered. For the two dishes below, plus drinks, and an order of deep-fried tofu, we paid 4500 MMK.
The best Indian food that we tried in Myanmar. Order off of the giant fully photographed menu, pay for it, then head upstairs to take a seat. While the decor isn’t much, the atmosphere is cool. This place is at 216 Anawratha Rd. I ate here twice, but this meal was the most epic, and it only cost 8,300 MMK.
I probably shouldn’t have saved this for last. J’Donuts is a coffee shop chain in Yangon. The youth love to hangout here. After walking the streets of Yangon, we stopped for an ice coffee and chocolate donut. It was a good choice, because sometimes you need a bit of air-con and a taste of fried cake.
For more Myanmar, check out my video series The People, The Culture, The Food – Myanmar