Posted By : Threeland Travel / Food and Drink Travel Tips
Even though the cuisine scene of Myanmar is not as well-known as its neighbours, it doesn’t mean that it is not worth a try. In fact, mysterious Burmese cuisine is delicious and healthy, consisting of a big variety of curries, soups, snacks and salads. Time to get to know the cuisine of this country better by an introduction to top five dishes you definitely should seek for in your Myanmar tour!
Food in Myanmar is strongly influenced by its neighbouring countries, namely Laos, Thailand, China, Bangladesh and India. If you love Thai or Indian food, Myanmar cuisine is similar and complementary: it has lots of spices, rice or noodles and rich in flavours and nutrients. The most signature ingredients are fish sauce and ngapi (fermented seafood), giving the dishes a very distinct and strong flavour. A great variety of different ethnic groups in the country makes the cooking diverse too. As you travel from Yangon, to Bagan to Mandalay you will experience a range of unique and creative dishes, cooked by some of the most kind and generous people.
Here are the top five must-try Foods in Myanmar:
Mohinga is the unofficial national dish and a classic breakfast in Myanmar. It is also a popular snack sold by street vendors or teahouses at any time of the day. Mohinga is essentially a soup made from cat fish and then served with rice vermicelli noodles. The soup is flavoured by garlic, onion, fish sauce, chickpea flour, banana tree stems, ginger and lemongrass, but the recipe differs from every part of the country. You can choose various options of topping, from toasted garlic, coriander, chopped spring onions to hard-boiled egg and crispy fried vegetables. The dish is seasoned to taste with lime juice or chili peppers.
Tea leaf salad (Lahpet Thoke)
Lahpet Thoke, or fermented tea leaf salad, is considered to be the most famous food in Myanmar. This salad is tasty and different from all the salads you have ever tried before: the main green is tea leaves! Sour, slightly bitter tea leaves are mixed by hand with shredded cabbage, sliced tomatoes, crunchy deep-fried beans, peanuts, a splash of garlic oil, chili and garlic. You can also add dried shrimp and roasted sesame seeds on top for more flavour. In Burmese culture, Lahpet Thoke was believed to be an ancient symbol of peace during times when the kingdoms of Burma conflicted. If everyone ate and shared with others the salad, it was seen that the resolution of the argument had been accepted. It is also considered a stimulant as the Burmese says eating too much lephet thoke can disrupt sleep!
Shan-style “tofu” noodle (Hto-hpu-nwe)
Originating from the eastern Shan region of Burma, which borders China, Shan-style “tofu” noodle or hto-hpu nwe – literally “warm tofu” is a popular comforting dish. Surprisingly, the noodle does not actually include tofu, but rather a thick porridge made from chickpea flour. The sticky yellow porridge is served over thin rice noodles and chunks of marinated chicken or pork. It is topped with a drizzle of chili oil and includes sides of pickled veggies and broth. The dish is quite simple, but delicious!
Like most countries in the region, rice is the staple carbohydrate most meals are based around, and in Myanmar, rice's best friend is curry and there are plenty of it. Not only are there so many variations for each type of meat, the choices of vegetables that can go into a curry are also vast. Burmese curry is typically a meaty, somewhat oily curry based around pork, fish, shrimp, beef or mutton. Rice and curry is a common meal, eaten daily for lunch and dinner as well as on special occasions. Some of the popular curries you can try in Myanmar are Tiger Prawn curry, Chicken and Gourd curry and Spicy Eel clay pot. Tiger prawn curry is usually found in coastal areas like Ngapali Beach. The tomato curry sauce is rich, delicious and pairs exceptionally well with any type of fish or other seafood. Fresh local ingredients such as turmeric, fish sauce, shallots, garlic, chili and ginger are put in for a powerful taste. In many places it is even cooked with the head of the prawns still attached to add more flavour.
Burmese tea shop meal
Myanmar's tea shops are pretty much at every corner and play a core part of life in Myanmar. They are unassuming places to enjoy small cups of the famous Burmese sweetened tea, called lapae yea. Strong brewed black tea and condensed milk is mixed together in a dramatic pouring and served hot in a small mug. However, tea shops don’t just offer sweet, milky tea, they also function as a crash-course on various cuisines of Myanmar – dishes served often reflect the ethnicity of the shop's owners, and their outstanding cultures. Tea shops run by ethnic Burmese are good places to dig into the world of traditional Burmese noodle or rice dishes such as Htamin Thoke, a type of rice salad. Indian/Muslim-owned tea shops tend to serve South Asian-influenced, deep-fried savory snacks, such as samosas or poori (deep-fried bread served with a potato curry) or baked breads such nanbya (naan). The latter also often serve South Asian-style desserts. Chinese-owned tea shops often feature baked sweets as well as meaty steamed buns and dim sum-like items. Whichever tea shops you walk in, you might find the true peace and joy of locals – the authentic Burmese life.
Myanmar remains to be a country largely hidden that there is so much to discover, including their wonderful cuisine. For Myanmar tour packages, click Here to book with Threeland Travel or send us your inquiry directly through email firstname.lastname@example.org for tailor-made Myanmar tour!