Myanmar food

Some general notes about food in Myanmar

Yangon Market Fruit

  • There are exceptions to every rule and we ate some very good meals in Myanmar (see our Restaurant section on Inle Lake) but as a gross generalization, chances are that you aren’t going to Myanmar for the food and if you are, you’re likely to be disappointed.
  • The fruits and (real) fruit juices as well as the fruit juice and yogurt lassis were consistently good just about everywhere we visited.
  • Except at the nicest restaurants, the “juice” served at breakfast (and frequently as a cold welcome drink at hotels) was not really juice but rather a juice like “product”…along the lines of Tang.
  • Myanmar traditional foods tend to be less spicy and a bit oilier than many other SE Asia cuisines.
  • The country of Myanmar is made up of multiple states, with each tending to be dominated by different ethnic groups who each have their own spin on traditional cuisine.  While the names of some dishes were the same as what we saw in other parts of the country, we preferred the taste of the same dishes in Shan State (namely around Inle Lake).
  • It is very common for a single restaurant to offer Myanmar, Thai, Cambodian and Vietnamese sections in their menus.  We also noticed some obvious Indian influences in some of the “traditional Myanmar” dishes.
  • Typically, much of the food you’ll find at a traditional Myanmar buffet will have been cooked in the morning and then allowed to sit at room temperature until served.  This tended not to be a problem for lunch but we were advised more than once not to eat buffet food for dinner.
  • The buffet style restaurants customarily served a complimentary soup; usually lentil or lima bean.  It was not uncommon that if you finished one of the complimentary items, the server would offer to bring another portion.
  • More than one restaurant served toast at breakfast or on sandwiches coated with an orange colored butter substitute that was pretty awful.  You might consider ordering your toast as “dry” with the spread on the side.
  • When the menu describes something as “fried”, it usually means stir fried.  Deep fried items are usually described as “crispy” or deep fried.
  • The order of food service was often quite different from what we in the West are used to seeing.  Typically dishes came out one at a time, which was not a problem when we ordered family style but made for some awkward situations when we ordered individually (like sandwiches at lunch.)  It was not usual for items listed as “starters” on the menu to be the last items served.

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