10 Best Top Foods You Must Try in Myanmar
It’s impossible to talk about Burmese cuisine without mentioning the unofficial national dish – Mohinga noodles. Bowls of rice noodles are topped with a fish-based broth made from onions, ginger and garlic topped with akyaw fritters, boiled eggs and bitter banana blossom. While you can find these noodles at any hour, most locals prefer to eat them in the morning.
If you haven’t had your fill of noodles, make a dash for the nearest Shan noodle eatery where you can try another favourite. Rice noodles are dressed with a spiced tomato sauce and topped with fresh vegetables. Though few foreigners make it to Shan state, you won’t have any trouble finding this dish across the country.
Tea Leaf Salad
Myanmar are one of the only countries across the world that eat tea leaves. It’s, perhaps, best seen in their famed tea leaf salad, a blend of fermented tea leaves, garlic, chillies, ginger, peanut oil, fish sauce and lime juice. Texture comes from the crushed peanuts and fried peas, fried shrimps and toasted sesame. A great accompaniment to a tables of sharing plates.
Myanmar takes has been heavily influenced by its neighbours, so it’s no surprise that the Southern Indian favourite dosa has made its way across the border. These crisp, rolled pancakes are made from rice flour and cooked on iron skillets. They are always served with a range of coconut curries, creamy dhals and pickles. If you’re in the capital, they best are, unsurprisingly, found in Little India.
Look around in most tea houses or local restaurants and you’ll inevitable find the Burmese pork curry. This staple dish has its origins in neither China or India. It’s sticky and sweet from the use of palm sugar and usually made from pork belly with gives an oily finish to the dish. Its strong flavour means it’s best eaten with heaps of steamy rice and fresh vegetables and herbs which cut through the richness.
You simply can’t visit the capital Yangon without dining along the famed 19th street (often referred to as Barbecue Street). Skewers of meat and chicken are cooked over hot charcoal imparting a smoky flavour and served with a range of sauces. If you’re a vegetarian or pescatarian, fear not because there’s plenty of barbecue for you too. Choose from grilled ticks of tofu, vegetables, shrimps, squid and more. Best served with bottles of cold Myanmar beer.
You won’t have to look hard to find the Indian favourite, samosas, on most street corners in Myanmar. Small parcels of deep-fried pastry are filled with everything from spiced meat, potatoes and vegetables. A great snack on the go or pack up a few for long train or bus journeys across the country. Like most Indian snacks, some of the best are found in Yangon’s Little India.
Looking to fill up on a budget? You can’t go wrong with one of the Burmese thalis – a set meal (either vegetarian or non) with a range of curries, vegetables, chutneys, soups and piles of rice. While not all thalis are made equal, some of the best are found in the small, roadside stalls and restaurants. A good street thali shouldn’t cost you more than a couple of bucks.
If you’ve ever been to the Northern Thai city of Chiang Mai, you will have inevitably tried khao soi, but its origins lie in Myanmar. Bowls of yellow egg noodles are topped with a curry broth made from spices, herbs and sometimes coconut milk with either chicken (typically the leg) or beef. A squeeze of lemon juice cuts through the creamy richness and a topping of crispy noodles adds texture.
Burmese Exotic Fruits
A special mention goes out to the exotic fruits of Myanmar. Forget supermarket apples and bananas – here you’ll try everything from dragonfruit, sweet mangoes, longans, rambutans and our personal favourite, sweet and sour mangosteens. Pomelos (much like grapefruit), stinky durian and papayas are also firm favourites.
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Did we miss any good dish? Let us know in the comments!