The Southeast Asian nation of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, has opened up a lot to tourism over recent years. The traditional way of life, unspoiled beaches, glorious temples and rugged natural areas appeal to many travelers looking for somewhere a bit different. Although the local food scene might not be as famous as that in nearby countries, that certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t find delicious foods in Myanmar. There are many regional specialties and nationwide favorites that are sure to tempt you when you’re traveling around Myanmar.
1. Lahpet Thoke
Lahpet thoke is available almost anywhere around Myanmar. A quick and easy snack or a great side dish as part of a larger meal, it is a widely-eaten salad. It’s likely to be unlike most salads you’ve eaten elsewhere in the world, due to the fact that the major ingredient is fermented tea leaves. Don’t be put off, though—it’s delicious!
The leaves have a rather sour and bitter taste alone, but when combined with the other ingredients the end result is fresh and tasty. The tea leaves are mixed with shredded raw cabbage, slices of juicy tomato, dried peas and peanuts. Finely chopped garlic and fresh chili are tossed into the bowl, along with a dash of garlic oil, and everything is mixed by hand.
Mohinga is one of the most popular local foods in Myanmar. It is enjoyed all around the country and eaten at any time of the day. You’ll find mohinga both on the menus of restaurants and being prepared at the side of the street at food carts. It’s a type of fish soup, with plenty of chili, garlic, onion turmeric and lemongrass to create a strong flavor. It may be served over rice or with vermicelli. Common accompaniments include fish cake and boiled egg.
3. Burmese Curry
Burmese curries are unlike those found in nearby India and Thailand. They are more watery than their Indian counterparts, and have a constituency that is a lot more like a hearty soup. They are less fiery than Thailand’s famous curries, with most Burmese curries having no chili on the recipe list. One of the most popular foods in Myanmar for visitors to try, eating a Burmese curry is often much more than simply filling your stomach; it’s an educational experience in dining!
First off, you’ll need to choose what main curries you want. There are typically various meat, fish or vegetable options available. Don’t be alarmed when things you didn’t order start arriving at your table. It’s normal for curries to be served with a rich assortment of small side dishes, such as salads, dips, fried vegetables and soup. And, of course, rice. You might also be given Indian-style breads, like roti. If you’re looking for foods in Myanmar to share between a group, going for a Burmese curry is ideal.
4. Tohu Nway
Originally from Shan State, tohu nway comprises noodles in a thick and fairly salty sauce. The sauce is made from tofu and chickpeas. While meat is usually added to the dish before serving, it is possible to find establishments that offer vegetarian-friendly versions. Chopped cilantro or parsley, ground nuts or sesame seeds may be sprinkled on top.
5. Nangyi Thoke
Nangyi thoke is a common noodle dish in Myanmar. The noodles are served dry, unlike in many of the country’s other noodle-based meals. A protein-packed dish, chunks of succulent chicken and slices of crispy fishcake are mixed with the thick noodles. Other ingredients include sliced of boiled egg and bean sprouts.
6. Si Htamin
Si Htamin is one of the common breakfast foods in Myanmar. It is made using glutinous rice. The dense, starchy rice is cooked in peanut oil along with onions and turmeric. The flavors infuse through the rice. Fried onions and toasted sesame seeds are then added, creating more flavor and texture.
You’re sure to discover plenty more delicious foods in Burma on your travels; it’s a land that offers many excellent surprises!