Food Trail

Must-eats in Myanmar: What’s good for your tummy

Traveling is great fun, but having good food to go with it makes the experience even better! Bring back not only souvenirs, but memories of your tastebuds reacting to new tastes. The Southeast Asian country of Myanmar is a colourful mix of cultures and cuisines. Their food is largely influenced by an assortment of cuisines from several countries, particularly China, India and Thailand, so you know they have a good mix of yummy spices! For your easy reference, we have compiled the five must-eat foods when you’re in Myanmar.

Mohinga

Fish lovers, this one’s for you. Served as a breakfast dish, the rice noodle soup is easily found in Myanmar. Expect a soup cooked with fish, fish paste and fish sauce topped with deep fried fritters. Sounds real fishy, but you just may be hooked after your first bite! The dish hardly sounds complex – it’s fish everything, after all. That’s where they have you fooled. The ingredients are plentiful and preparation isn’t simple either. Containing fish fillet, chickpea flour, dashi powder, cilantro, and so on, it’s easy to see why the flavours complement each other so well. Every ingredient used gives off a distinct taste or texture that simply enhances the other flavours. It’s a pretty perfect union, we would say!

Where to try:

Daw Phwar May, No. 27, Thumana street, Thar Kay Ta township, Yangon 

Lahpet thouk 

Salad is always a great choice for those who want something that isn’t too heavy, or is healthy enough to eat without any guilt. This tea leaf salad comes with crunchy bits, fried peas, peanuts, garlic, toasted sesame, fresh garlic, tomato, green chili, crushed dried shrimps and preserved ginger. To finish off, everything is doused with peanut oil, fish sauce and lime for that extra flavor profile. A great salad is not just a mixture of all things healthy thrown together. It is a visual feast as well. The brilliant colours, assorted textures and tastes make for a pretty dish. The healthy part is just a bonus!

Where to try:

Daung Lann Gyi, 35th Street, Between 57th & 58th Streets Chanayethazan Tsp, Myanmar

Mont Lin Ma Yar

Also known as the ‘husband and wife snack’, these yummy little bites are made of rice flour batter. They are two halves of batter joined together – one half is plain batter and the other is filled with quail’s egg and roasted chickpeas. Sounds simple enough, but the flavours go together oh so well, that you will be thanking your lucky stars these are simple to make! The best pleasure lies in the little things, and trust us when we suggest you brace yourself for a bite (or 10) of these. One is definitely not enough!  Hungry yet?

Where to try:

Pansodan Street Market, Bank Street x Pan Soe Tan Street Corner, Lower Block Botahtaung Tsp, Myanmar

Shwe Yin Aye

Credit: @veganbisheats / Instagram

When the blazing hot sun brings discomfort, the best way to combat it is with some refreshing iced dessert. Shwe Yin Aye does just that! The dessert is made of steamed sticky rice, coconut milk jelly, tapioca seeds, sugar, bread, and of course, ice. It can be eaten with an array of ingredients like seaweed, agar-agar, and palm sugar, among other things. Sweeter than your boyfriend on Valentine’s day, the best part about this dessert is that it is easily customisable. You can always request for more of this or more of that, depending on your preference. Sometimes, vendors serve slices of plain white bread with it to soak up every last drop of yumminess!

Where to try:

Yangon Night Market, Strand Rd, Yangon, Myanmar

Ngapi

Simply put, Ngapi is Burmese curry. Bursting with spices and flavor, curry plays a huge role in Burmese cuisine. The fragrant dish is complemented by a mixture of chili pepper, garlic and dried shrimps fried in oil, all of which give it that lovely oomph. Choose from an array of curries, be it fish, shrimp, beef, or lamb, and pair it with fluffy white rice alongside other side dishes, which range from vegetables, soup, and salad. The whole set brings home cooked meals to mind – the kind that whole families can enjoy together. Sure sounds delightfully wholesome!

Where to try:

Lin Htett, Mingalar Ashae St, Nyaungshwe, Myanmar

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