Myanmar, or Burma as it was previously known, is a land of golden pagodas, mighty rivers and generous deltas. While the beauty of its countryside has long been famous, Myanmar's cuisine has been something of a secret up until now.
Myanmar food may be ranked between Chinese and Thai food. It is a bit richer than Chinese food, and less spicy than Thai food. It’s considered important to balance sour, spicy, bitter and salty flavors; this is generally done across a series of dishes rather than within a single dish. A mild curry, for example, might be accompanied by bitter leaves, dried chilli and a salty condiment such as fish paste.
Myanmar’s food has a special identity beloved by locals. Although its neighboring countries influence the cuisine, the food does not directly resemble Thai, Indian or Chinese food. A typical Myanmar meal is arranged around rice with accompanying dishes of fish or meat cooked in onion and garlic-based gravy.
Soup can be clear, creamy or tart and is sipped during the meal to cleanse the palate. Salads are a popular side dish and some, such as the pickled tea leaf salad called lahpet, are eaten as snacks. Mohinga, a thick fish broth with thin rice noodles, is arguably Myanmar’s most famous national dish and is typically eaten for breakfast. Another delicious choice is the popular ohno kaukswe, a coconut-based chicken soup with noodles.
Tea is a staple drink in Myanmar, and tea shops are great for not only starting your day with a strong drink, but for people-watching as well. Tea is typically served hot and with sweet, condensed milk added to cut its strong natural earthiness. Standout Myanmar sweets are quite simple and consist of coconut, tapioca, rice flour, and fruit. Favorites include iced coconut milk with tapioca, and Mont Lone Ye Baw, which are rice dumplings stuffed with sugar and topped with shredded coconut.
Lethok son : Spicy vegetarian rice salad.
Mohinga : Burmese fish soup with noodles, the national dish.
Oh-no khauk swe : A soup of rice noodles, chicken and coconut milk.
Shan khauk swe : A dish predominately eaten by the Shan, but popular around the country, it consists of rice noodles either in broth or dry, usually with chicken.
Athoke : Various ‘salads’ served cold, made from noodles, ginger, tofu, chicken and other ingredients.
Biryani : Indian-style fried rice with spices and chicken.
Burmese curry : Most meals feature some kind of curry dish, usually quite mildly spiced and oily, and traditionally accompanied by a selection of side dishes like ngapi (fish paste) as well as rice and soup.
Lahpet : A tasty dish of fermented tealeaves, usually eaten as dessert and considered to be a key part of Myanmar’s culinary heritage.
Htanyet : Jaggery, unrefined palm sugar, eaten at the end of a meal.
Peh-hin-ye : Indian-style dhal (lentil) soup.
Htamin : Rice, the foundation of any Burmese meal.Green tea: Provided free in many restaurants.
Black tea : Drunk with milk and sugar in teahouses, which are important social hubs.
Alcohol : Locally produced beer, rum, whisky and gin are generally available.
Coffee : Usually sold in instant form except for in a few Western-style cafes.