I had the privilege to travel to Myanmar, which honestly, was never on my bucket list. Because of this, I didn’t know much about the country, such as what to see or what to eat. I did know a little about the political situation- thanks to my amazing middle school history teacher- and an article on CNN, but my knowledge was outdated. I came into the country unsure if the country was safe.
I’ve concluded from spending time there that it’s super safe. The people are always kind and smiling. This includes are street food tour guide, Kyaw, who took my sister, my BIL and me around downtown Yangon to try unique foods. Burmese food is infused with Indian, Chinese and Thai cooking techniques and spices. It can range from mild to spicy, and the food has a heavy body to it.
Let’s take a look at some of the most memorable Burmese dishes:
- Mohinga: This is a tomato-based noodle soup that gives me some bún riêu vibes. I got some lime, some veggie and some crunchy bits on mine and it was so warm and hearty.
- Tea Leaf Salad: This is such a unique salad with tea leaves. Our guide told us to eat it with raw garlic and the flavor profile is so complex and fresh. If there is one Burmese dish I can eat over and over again, I would eat this.
- Fried Cod: I’m a huge fan of fried fish, and unfortunately it was our last stop on the tour. I was so full at that point. However, fatty fish plus tart tamarind dipping sauce in a fluff of steamy rice makes the best combo.
- Mont lin Maya: Small pop-sized fried egg rounds, sprinkled with salt, are great for leisurely walking down the street. It’s greasy and heavy, and I bet the best drunk food you can have. This gave me bánh khọt vibes and reminds me of eating them on Vietnam’s beaches.
- Kauk Mote: A crepe filled with sweet fillings. Our guide let us try the savory version of this too. I prefer the the sweet, crunchy and nutty filling. It’s another walking food, which reminds me of a thin burrito.
I also sampled Weevil…definitely memorable, but I won’t be eating another one. The Burmese people eat it fried or alive. I opted for fried and the best I can describe the texture is small rubber exterior with tofu softness. The weevil is completely flavorless, so I can see how the Burmese would like it as a snack. However, it wasn’t for me. I’ll be open to try other bugs in the future though.
Burmese food is very tasty. I really like the different region’s food too, especially the Wa which is very spicy. I do perfect its neighbors’ cuisine more, but I think Myanmar did a great job of mixing all its influences. Since I didn’t want to rush my time in Myanmar, I missed out on the other areas. I doubt I’ll return, but if I do, I’d like to extend my food adventures to Bagan.
Are you interested in trying some Burmese food? Head there for the real deal.