1. Overview: 

Myanmar, officially known as the Federal Republic of Myanmar, is a country in Southeast Asia with an area of 676,578 km². This is the largest country in mainland Southeast Asia and the 40th largest country in the world. Myanmar is known as the country of Buddhism, with thousands of ancient temples and pagodas.

When coming to Myanmar, in addition to sightseeing, visiting pagodas, and discovering the beautiful landscapes of this country, cuisine is an important factor not to be missed. With the culinary influence of neighboring Bangladesh, India, China, Laos, and Thailand, Myanmar has a very rich cuisine but still has the unique and characteristic features of Myanmar cuisine.

Myanmar’s culinary culture has many interesting points and is worth experiencing, even though some dishes have a strange taste. Myanmar food is specific to the use of many fish products, such as fish sauce and ngapi (fermented seafood). You will have interesting and memorable culinary experiences here.

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2. Top Myanmar food you must try when coming to Myanmar

2.1. Mohinga fish vermicelli

Mohinga fish vermicelli is a traditional dish of Myanmar. Fish vermicelli soup is cooked very simply but has a strange and unique taste. The main ingredients of Mohinga include: chickpea flour or roasted and husked rice, garlic, red onion, lemongrass, turmeric, banana flower, ginger, fish sauce and catfish cooked in a flavorful broth.

Currently, Mohinga fish vermicelli is sold in many towns and cities. It is a popular snack that you can buy and eat at any time of the day. You can enjoy Moninga fish vermicelli at restaurants or from street vendors in the market. It only costs about about 0.5 USD for a bowl of Mohinga.

2.2. Myanmar Curry

Curry is not a strange dish to the people of Southeast Asia, but you will hardly find the curry flavor of Myanmar in any other country.

This dish is almost everywhere in Myanmar’s restaurants. Curries in Myanmar are different from curries in India or Thailand, especially in their very mild spiciness and fatty aroma with a rich curry flavor but not a harsh taste.

The main ingredients of curry are meats such as pork, beef, lamb, or seafood, served with rice and various vegetables. Burmese curry is quite salty, and an interesting thing is that after enjoying the curry, diners will have a traditional Myanmar dessert of tea leaves soaked with nuts.

2.3. Tea leaf salad 

One of the most special dishes of the Myanmar people is lephet, fermented tea leaves. These tea leaves are used to make tea leaf salad. Salad is used as a snack or appetizer for each meal. In addition, it can also be eaten with rice or served with shrimp, depending on individual preferences and the region.

This delicious snack is sold on street corners in Myanmar. The tea leaves will be combined with cabbage, tomatoes, and onions, as well as beans, peppers, garlic oil, lemon, cereal nuts, etc. One of the issues to pay attention to is that if you are addicted to this dish, you should not eat too much. Because if you eat too much, you can lose sleep.

2.4. Shan rice (nga htamin) 

Shan rice is a unique dish from Myanmar tourism. This is another dish created by the Shan people, Shan rice is also known as fish rice.

Shan rice often appears on the main menus at stores and becomes a specialty of Myanmar. The Shan people marinate rice and cook rice with turmeric, so the yellow color is a feature of the dish. Visitors can choose to eat crispy fried fish with spicy powder, chicken or pork with vegetables and fruits, or roasted peanuts together. The flavor of Shan rice stands out from the pungent taste of leeks and fried garlic.

Surely, Shan rice will be an attractive dish for spicy food followers and those who love traditional cuisine here.

2.5. Shan-style ‘tofu’ noodles

This is a famous dish of the Shan ethnic group, residing in northern Myanmar. There are two types of noodles that can be used to cook the famous Shan noodle dish. The first type is flat noodles, which are a bit sticky. The second type is round noodles, which are thin and less sticky. Shan noodle broth is usually taken from chicken or pork broth to get the most natural sweetness, then crushed root ginger is added.

Tofu eaten together with noodles can be fresh tofu or can also be cut into medium-sized pieces and then fried in an oil pan until golden and crispy.

Whether it is water or dry Shan noodles, there will be a layer of fried meat on top, sometimes added by many slices of tofu. In addition, the indispensable ingredients in the bowl of Shan noodles are roasted peanuts, spring onions, herbs, etc. Finally, the fragrant and fatty yellow garlic oil looks very attractive. This noodle dish is popular for breakfast in Myanmar; Shan noodles are served all day. Each bowl of noodles here costs about 1–2.5 USD.

2.6. Nan Gyi Thohk Noodles

One dish that tops the list of delicious dishes is Nan Gyi Thohk noodles, which are unlike any other.

Nan Gyi Thohk is made from thick, round rice noodles mixed with a special curry and chili oil. The dish is decorated with sliced boiled eggs, meat, thinly sliced onions, horn peppers, cilantro, crispy noodles, fried fish, and bone broth. The noodles are soft and chewy. Users can squeeze more lemon to add a sour taste.

Nan Gyi Thohk noodles are likened to Myanmar’s version of spaghetti. You can enjoy this dish at some street food restaurants or any restaurant in Myanmar.

2.7. Deep-fried stuff

When traveling to Myanmar, you will definitely see stalls selling a variety of fried foods; this is the typical street food of Myanmar. Fried foods are extremely rich, such as fried spring rolls, fried bread, and fried dough cakes, especially Buthi Kyaw, fried breaded zucchini, crispy with a special flavor, eaten with a kind of sweet-and-sour sauce made from tamarind and bean, which creates an irresistible attraction for tourists.

Most cakes in Myanmar are made from rice flour or glutinous rice flour. People mix the powder with garlic, onions, ginger, etc. that have been pureed. In addition, the flour is also mixed with coconut fiber, sesame seeds, tomatoes, curry powder, etc. to make many different cakes.

2.8. Myanmar Milk Tea

When talking about milk tea, everyone remembers different names, such as Taiwanese milk tea, Thai tea, etc. However, many people do not know that in Myanmar, there is also a special milk tea only available in this country called pulled milk tea.

This is a street drink that you can find on any street in Myanmar. Price from 0.4 – 0.8 USD/cup. This is a typical drink, fragrant tea with the sweetness of milk harmoniously, and becomes a specialty not to be missed when traveling to Myanmar.

All the ingredients used to make this cup of milk tea are pure and non-toxic. This is not only a popular drink every day, but it is also considered a traditional drink and is always present at festivals in Myanmar.

2.9. Lal Tha Mar Soup

This soup is originally from Kayah State in eastern Myanmar and refers to the farmers who have no time to cook.

This Myanmar specialty is made quickly with gourds, pumpkin, and vegetables, including acacia tamarind leaves, chopped taro, bamboo shoots, and common farm vegetables. That traditional soup, which provides strength to the hardworking rice farmers, is found in most of Kayah State and some restaurants throughout the country.

2.10. Myanmar Tofu

Myanmar tofu is made from chickpeas, while Shan tofu is made from split green peas. None are made from pure soybeans. You can enjoy this Myanmar specialty in the form of crispy outside and soft inside (Tohu kyaw). It is usually served with tamarind sauce or sliced into a salad (Tohu Thoke) mixed with piquant sauce. You can eat the version of the Tohu Nway served warm over a bowl of spicy noodles.

2.11. Burmese sweet snacks

Cake is also one of the traditional Myanmar foods you should enjoy once. Unlike sweets in Western countries, sweets in Myanmar, also known as “muon”, are not used as desserts but become a snack with tea in the morning and afternoon for Myanmar people. “Muon” is not too much sugar, instead the sweetness is taken from other ingredients such as shredded coconut, coconut milk, rice flour, tapioca and fruit, etc.

3. Dining experience when coming to Myanmar

During the meal, the dishes are put on the table so that everyone can freely choose the dishes according to their own preferences and tastes. They will take small portions of food into separate plates and cups.

When eating curry, the elders and guests are always given priority to get the curry first. After that, the host will consult with them about the curry and serve a full teaspoon to the guests who want to eat it.

Myanmar people usually eat with their right hand and have spoons attached to keep their left hand clean. Spoons and forks are also becoming more popular and appearing more in meals in Myanmar.

After finishing the meal, Myanmar people often leave a bit of rice on their plate. After finishing the meal, Myanmar people will have a dessert of green tea, fruit juice, etc.

4. Conclusion

Enjoying special, unique dishes during your trip to Myanmar will bring you a wonderful and unforgettable journey. If you have some questions or want to schedule an interesting trip, you can contact Metta Voyage right away.

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