5 Burmese Foods to Try in Yangon, Myanmar

When we got to Yangon, culture shock smacked us in the face. Signs and menus were completely in Burmese and few places offered pictures. Servers didn't speak a word of English. Not a single familiar restaurant was in sight. We panicked. How were we going to try delicious Burmese food if we didn't know where to start looking? What do we order? How do we order?

When in doubt, find an expert! We searched on TripAdvisor and discovered that Yangon Food Tours was one of the top activities listed for the city. Excitedly, I shot them an e-mail inquiring about their program. The next day, our tour guide James picked us up for lunch and we went off on a Burmese food adventure!

I can't stop raving about this food tour. James took us to four outstanding restaurants and food vendors. Each place specialized in a different Burmese dish. James was also very informative. I learned about Burmese cooking methods, ingredients, the history of the dishes and so much more.

When the tour was over, I left with a full belly and a new love for Burmese food that I can't wait to share with you. Here are 5 foods in Myanmar you need to try!

 Samosa salad 




Our first stop was a strip of bustling food vendors. We plopped down on plastic kiddy chairs while James ordered samosa salads (samuza thoke in Burmese). In no time, two bowls were in our hands and wow, did they smell exquisite! Made with sliced samosas, peanuts, onions, cabbage, fresh mint, potato curry, masala, chilli powder, salt and lime, this salad was packed with flavour. One was swimming in a curry broth while the other was mixed dry. Both were phenomenal! The icing on the cake? A samosa salad in Yangon costs only 50 cents US.

Burmese steamed buns 


Myanmar cuisine is heavily influenced by its Chinese neighbour. As a result, steamed buns, also known as pauk see in Burmese, are very common. However, the buns vary in texture and filling and are a bit different from the ones in China. Filled with savoury pork or chicken, the flat doughy buns make a great snack or appetizer. If you're in the mood for something sweet, try the red bean steamed buns which are also popular.

Shan noodles 


Shan noodles are the bomb! They were my favourite dish to try on the food tour. In fact, I still crave them on a daily basis. Originating from the Northern Shan state, this dish consists of rice noodles, marinated meat (usually chicken or pork), toasted sesame, garlic oil, chilli, soya sauce, green onions and other seasonings.



When you get your bowl of Shan noodles, make sure to mix all the ingredients together before chowing down! A hearty clear broth and pickled vegetables are also served as side dishes.

Burmese Curry 


Burmese curry is something you need to try when in Myanmar! It has its own distinct taste and is so different from other types of curries. James went overboard and ordered us fish, pork and beef curry.


I know it doesn't look too appetizing but the pork curry was out of this world! Cooked with a heavy dose of oil and mixed with a black bean paste, the dish had a unique flavour that I really enjoyed. The pork was also so tender and juicy.


We shared the dishes amongst the three of us and nibbled away as James explained how each curry and side dish were made.


Okra, also known as lady fingers, was something I had never seen in my life before. This edible plant is usually served as a side dish with Burmese curry and is cooked in a variety of oils and seasonings.

Falooda



A meal isn't complete without dessert! Our last stop on the tour brought us to the most popular dessert joint in town. Here, we feasted on falooda, an Indian frozen treat made of vanilla ice cream, rose syrup, jelly and tapioca. Enjoy this sweet dessert on a hot day and I guarantee you'll feel refreshed! 


At the end of the tour, my stomach was about to burst. I also couldn't stop thanking James for the amazing food and fun afternoon. If you're ever in Yangon and want to experience the best in Burmese cuisine, contact Yangon Food Tours and book an unforgettable food adventure! Breakfast, lunch and dinner tours are available and each will take you to four or five different restaurants. 

What other Burmese foods do you love? Leave me a comment below and let me know! 

Melissa Li

I’m a Canadian girl on a quest to step foot in every continent before I’m 30. You’ll most likely find me chowing down on Japanese ramen, partying at a music festival, hiking to the top of a scenic lookout, cuddling with cats, or chilling out at the beach. I’ve visited over 60 countries so far and hope to inspire you to do the same.

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