5 of the Best Foods in Myanmar and Where to Eat Them
Myanmar (formerly Burma) is still fairly unknown on the culinary map, but that’s not to say that foodies should steer clear. What you’ll find here is delicious cuisine that epicureans will drool over. Hannah Smith uncovers five of the best foods in Myanmar and where to eat them.
Myanmar only recently opened to tourism, so its cuisine is a new and exciting unknown for many. Before travelling to Myanmar, it’s rare to have tried a Burmese dish, so it can be difficult to know where to start or even what the dish in front of you is.
Yet, visitors will be pleasantly surprised when they dig in. Burmese food is simple and fresh, yet full of intricate and intoxicating flavours, thanks to the influence from the nearby and more well-known foodie destinations: India, Thailand and China. Delving into the foods of Myanmar is an adventure in itself: start in the right direction with Hannah Smith’s guide to five of the best foods in Myanmar and where to eat them.
FANCY TOMATO SALAD
Tomato salad sounds like quite a generic dish, but it’s not the tasteless meal you might expect. In the simplest version, sliced tomatoes and onions are tossed in a spiced peanut sauce making for a tart and crunchy snack. Other versions include the addition of green tomatoes, chopped cilantro and sesame seeds.
AVOCADO SALAD WITH A DIFFERENCE
The multitude of salad choices make Myanmar a haven for vegetarians/vegans. Another popular option, especially with Westerners, is the avocado salad. It’s rare to find cheap avocados in Asia, so a dish made almost exclusively of them feels decadent.
Avocado salad is basically guacamole that hasn’t been mashed up. One of the crowd favourites is served at Weather Spoon’s in Bagan and includes chunks of avocado, tomatoes, onion, and garnished with cilantro. If you’d rather drink your avocado, 999 Shan Noodle House serves a mean avocado shake.
SWEET AND SOUR TAMARIND CURRY
Tamarind, a sticky sweet/sour pulp that grows in brown pods, is all the rage in Myanmar. This fruit has loads of antioxidants and iron, and is used to help with stomach issues, fevers and sore throats. The Burmese people include it in savoury dishes like curries and in sweeter fare, like tamarind flake candies.
The Moon Vegetarian Restaurant, a popular vegetarian restaurant in Bagan, makes an excellent tamarind curry that is tangy and mild, but full of flavour, various vegetables, and is presented with chopped spring onion. One Owl Grill has tamarind beer on its menu, if you’d like to try a sweeter side of the fruit.
THE BURMESE NATIONAL DISH: MOHINGA
Mohinga, or Burmese fish noodle soup, is called the country’s unofficial national dish. It is usually eaten for breakfast and consists of rice noodles, chickpea flour, garlic, fish sauce, lemongrass, ginger and catfish in a rich broth. Sometimes it’s served with various fried treats on top. The best place to get Mohinga is from the many street vendors, but lots of restaurants also serve their own variations.
For those that love spice, Daw Phwa May cooks their soup with pepper. This local shop is also open at 5 a.m. for those who really need their fish soup at breakfast.
MUNCH ON BURMESE SNACKS
It’s always fun to taste the local snacks while travelling. A good way to see what Burmese people like to munch on throughout the day is to go on a trek. Eversmile Trekking takes backpackers from Kalaw to Inle Lake and on the way, there’s a chance to try sugar cane cubes, fried green peas, and orange fried beans in traditional villages.
Burmese teahouses are also known for their snacks, which are included with the strong and sweet black tea. Golden Tea serves different snacks daily, but the options include shallot samosas and corn fritters.
Originally published at www.travioor.com.