Food in Myanmar
Burmese cuisine is inspired by India and China, yet it has its own distinct flavor. Other traditional ethnic cuisines, like as Shan food, Rakhine food, and Myeik food, vary from Burmese food. Rice is the staple of Burmese cuisine, and vegetarian options abound. Burmese cuisine is often very spicy. Fish sauce ( ngan bya yay) is a common condiment in Myanmar, as it is in neighboring Southeast Asian nations, and is extensively used to flavor a variety of meals. Most eateries provide inexpensive food (priced at MYK 500-3,000 per item at most local restaurants, but can go up to 8,000 MYK at posh restaurants). Yangon and Mandalay have a plethora of high-end eateries.
For cooking, most medium and lower-class eateries utilize a low-cost palm oil mix. This oil is potentially harmful, and roadside eateries should be avoided if you have a low risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, or other fat or cholesterol-related illnesses. In high-end establishments, peanut oil may be used instead.
What to eat
- Curry: Burmese curry is defined quite differently from curry in other nations. It is very spicy when compared to Indian and Thai choices, and although it may be served at room temperature in less expensive places, all curry dishes are served hot in a normal Burmese home. Burmese curry, unlike its Southeast Asian cousins, does not include coconut milk and has a significant quantity of onion or tomato, depending on the area and the cook’s taste. Myanmar consumes the most onions per capita in the world. Burmese curry is often prepared with a lot of oil, considerably more than other regional curries.
- Laphet thote (pronounced la-peh THOU): A salad of fermented tea leaves and fried almonds. It is usually served with rice and combined with chopped lettuce. The dish originated in the Chinese province of Shan.
- Mohinga (pronounced mo-HIN-ga): A dish of rice noodles with fish broth, often served with cilantro and chile powder. Its taste may range from sweet to spicy and is often eaten for breakfast. Many believe it to be the national cuisine, and it is readily accessible across the country, although in varying ways depending on location.
- Nan Gyi Thoke (pronounced nan gyi thou): A rice noodle salad topped with chicken sauce. It is mostly consumed in Myanmar’s central region.
- Onnokauswe (pronounced oun-NO-kao-sui): thick noodles in a thick coconut milk broth with chicken. It comes with a variety of condiments, including fried doughnuts and hardened duck blood. “Khao soi” (Burmese for “noodles”), a popular street food in Chiang Mai, is taken from its Burmese equivalent. It is also similar to the spicier Laksa prevalent in peninsular Southeast Asian nations such as Malaysia and Singapore.
- Shan food: The Shan are an ethnic group that live in the Shan State surrounding Inle Lake, close to the Thai border. Your cuisine is delicious. It is readily accessible in Yangon.
Drinks in Myanmar
In Myanmar, tap water is not drinkable, and ice may be polluted. Many tourist attractions sell bottled water. You may also drink safely from the numerous clay jars strewn throughout the land, or locate drinking water in temples. Just keep an eye out for the large steel tanks with cups connected to the spigots. The water in the clay jars is filtered, and they are used by many people in Myanmar. As a kind of merit, the owners of the jars fill them with water.
Yenwejan, like Chinese tea, is frequently served for free at restaurant tables. Although it looks unappealing, it is boiling water and therefore perfectly safe to consume (do not drink water alone, even in restaurants, unless it is bottled water). To make Yenwejan, dry tea leaves identical to Laphet Thote tea leaves (excluding damp ones) are mixed with boiling water. Order it with Laphet Thote (regular / good combo).
Conservative Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims frown on alcohol, although it is commonly drank, mostly among males. Myanmar Beer is the most widely consumed beverage in the nation. Other variations exist, such as Mandalay beer. However, many of these businesses are government-owned and/or have ties to drug trafficking. Toddy juice (ta-YEI) is a fermented palm sugar drink popular in central Myanmar. Shwe le maw, a popular alcoholic beverage in the Shan state, is said to be extremely powerful. Beer Chang may also be purchased imported from Thailand; however, exports to the majority of nations are not as robust.
Be cautious of alcoholic drinks offered in the far north. Locals refer to it as “alcohol that does not burn when switched on,” and it is believed that it is a combination of opiates rather than a fermented drink.
There are many nightclubs, including those linked to five-star hotels (for example, Grand Plaza) as well as local entertainment venues (eg, JJs, Asia Plaza).
Tea houses are significant social and popular meeting places throughout the nation. They seem to be restaurants, but if you look carefully, you will find that customers drink a lot of free Chinese tea, light brown tea, and eat mainly snacks. Simple meals like as fried rice or noodles are also available at some teahouses.
They will wait for you to order coffee after you are seated, but that is not what you should look for since it is almost usually instant coffee. Order tea, which is a kind of black tea with milk that varies in strength and sweetness:
- bone mahn: balanced
- cho seh: sweet
- kyaw p’daung: sweeter
- pan brown: bitter and sweet
- jah hseent: light, with milk, not strong
- pancho: strong
- bow hseent: less strong
- noe hseent dee: milk tea without sugar
Keep in mind that you will pronounce the tea names incorrectly (the second and sixth are pretty simple), and individuals may not receive what they want since foreigners seldom apply for these teas. As a result, it is advisable to request that your hotel or anybody who knows English write the names in Burmese.
Because you are a foreigner, they will presume you want your sheh tea special, which will include condensed milk. A tankie may also be ordered, and the tea will be served in a big pot. A basic cup of tea ranges in price from MMK200 to 400. At the table, you may have little sandwiches like samosas, pastries, or sweet balls. If not, raise a question. In the end, you will only be charged for the number of pieces you have consumed. Before choosing a tea house, food enthusiasts should consider the kind of snacks available. It is not impolite to bring your own meal anytime you order anything.