Eating & drinking in Myanmar
Eating and drinking is one of the great joys of travelling and although the cuisine in Myanmar is not world famous, like that of Thailand or Vietnam, it can still be very exciting and incredibly delicious. Below are a few thoughts on what you might expect and where you might eat. Welcome to the culinary world of Myanmar!
Sitting as it does between India, China and Thailand it probably would not surprise you to learn that Myanmar’s cuisine draws influences from all three countries. A typical Myanmar meal has lots of rice with meat or fish accompanied by soup, vegetables and salads, pickles and raw vegetables. Myanmar also offers a whole range of vegetarian food. Chilli is popular in Myanmar and is used in the majority of dishes, but not to the same extent as in neighbouring Thailand.
Myanmar can boast a diverse range of cuisine with Chinese, Thai and Indian restaurants sprinkled around the major cities. Western food can be found in a number of French or Italian restaurants in Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan and Inle Lake as well as at most international hotels.
Myanmar food varies from region to region with each province claiming its own specialities. Below you will find a few of our favourites dishes - keep an eye out for them as you travel around:
- Mohinga – A bowl of rice noodles covered in a fish based soup and sprinkled with deep fried fritters
- Nan Gyi Thoke - Thick rice noodle salad with chickpea flour, chicken, fish cake (nga hpe), onions, coriander, spring onions, crushed dried chilli, dressed with fried crispy onion oil, fish sauce and lime.
- Thinbaw thi thoke - Papaya salad of shredded papaya, mixed with ground dried shrimp, onions, and fried garlic; tossed in garlic oil, lemon juice, and a little hot chilli pepper.
- Dan Bauk - Burmese-style biryani with either chicken or mutton served with mango pickle, fresh mint and green chilli.
- Kaw yay khauk swè - Noodles and curried duck (or pork) in broth with eggs.
- Penilayhincho – a thick lentil soup prepared with chilli and spices.
A few of of our favourite restaurants
Food in Myanmar is a unique blend of several Asian influences and good restaurants are plentiful. However, here are a few suggestions to help you on your way:
Le Planteur – Unquestionably the best restaurant in Yangon newly situated in a beautifully restored, lake-side, mansion. Serves high-end fusion cuisine. The environment and food are second to none, not to mention a deeply stylish cocktail bar and one of the best wine lists in Southeast Asia.
Address: 80 University Avenue, Bahan Township,Yangon.
Tel: +95 1 541 997 Daung Lann Gyi (Mandalay)
Monsoon Restaurant – Nicely positioned downtown, close to the Strand Hotel, Monsoon Restaurant offers a variety of Asian cuisine ranging from local specialities like Mote Hin gar, to Thai curries and the delights of Indochina. Good quality food in an ambient setting.
Address: 85-87 Thein Phyu Rd, Yangon.
Tel: +951 295 224
Aye Myit Tar – More traditional Burmese fare – reliably clean, quick, and tasty. Choose a main dish (almost certainly a curry of some sort) and accompanying side dishes; rice, salad, and bread are delivered gratis. Located close to the Mahamuni Temple.
Address: 81st Street, Mandalay.
Tel: +95 2 31 627
Black Rose – Asian cuisine (Burmese, Thai, Indian, Chinese) and easy to find in the centre of New Bagan. Interior is pretty simple but keen prices and friendly service make this a reliable choice.
Address: Khayea Pin Street (main road), just south of Thiri Marlar, New Bagan.
Green Chilli – Excellent regional cuisine in a quaint setting. The outdoor terrace seating is particularly cosy. Keen prices and enthusiastic service. Western dishes available but Thai and Myanmar dishes are the real star. The fried lake fish is a highlight.
Address: Hospital Road, Mingalar Quarter,Nyaung Shwe.
Tel: +95 9521 4101
The price of eating out in Myanmar
If you are looking to eat out in Myanmar here are some ideas of the sort of prices to expect:
- Lunch or dinner in a simple local restaurant £3 to £4
- Lunch or dinner in a midrange local restaurant £4 - £12
- Lunch or dinner in an upmarket local restaurant £12 - £18
- Dinner in an international restaurant £20 - £70
- Beer Myanmar £2
- Cost of cocktail in hotel £6 - £12
- Cost of dinner in a four star hotel including drinks £20 - £40