hen you visit Myanmar, there are many signature foods that you must try. Myanmar food culture has a mix of different influences from India, China and other countries in southeast Asia. If you are looking for a truly authentic taste of Myanmar traditional food, be sure to try Mohinga, tea leaf salad, Shan noodle, Burmese tea, and Mone Lone Yay Paw. Among them, Burmese tea and Shan noodle are my favorite Myanmar food.
Mohinga - Rice Vermicelli with fish soup
Mohinga is a must-try dish if you visit Myanmar. It is rice vermicelli with fish soup. It is also a national dish and a typical Myanmar meal. Mohinga is mostly served at breakfast but it is also eaten any time of the day. It is available in most parts of Myanmar, sold by street vendors and roadside stalls. The taste of Mohinga is quite different per region depending on the availability of ingredients and culinary preferences. Versions of Mohinga which are well-known for their remarkable taste are Bogale Mohinga (Bogale), Myaungmya Mohinga (Myaungmya), and Pyapon Mohinga (Pyapon).
The main ingredients of Mohinga are fish sauce, fish paste, ginger, banana stem, lemongrass, onions, garlic, and chickpea flour. Mohinga is served with a squeeze of lime, crisp fried onions, coriander, spring onions, crushed dried chillies and, as optional toppings, deep-fried Burmese fritters such as split chickpeas, gourd, sliced pieces of Chinese donuts (Youtiao), as well as a boiled egg and fried fish cake.
Mohinga is a very common breakfast dish in Myanmar and it is served on many occasions like donations to the monastery, house warming ceremonies and 7th-day funeral rituals. Its also a popular street food and some vendors sell Mohinga carrying the soup cauldron on a stove on one side of a shoulder pole and the thin rice noodles (vermicelli) and other ingredients, along with bowls and spoons on the other side. They sell while walking and even carry small chairs. Mohinga costs around 500-1500 mmk a dish depending on the toppings added.
Lahpet Thoke - Tea Leaf Salad
Tea leaf salad is known as Lahpet Thoke in Myanmar and it is a good example of Myanmar traditional food. The salad is dressed with fermented or pickled tea leaves, oil, salt, and a variety of crunchy toppings including peanuts, yellow split peas, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and garlic chips with full of flavor. Tea leaf salad is prepared by mixing the ingredients and adding fresh sliced tomatoes, garlic, green chilis, and shredded cabbage, and is dressed with fish sauce, sesame or peanut oil, and lime juice.
It is regarded as a national delicacy that plays a significant role in Burmese cuisine and society, and remains a traditional Burmese gesture of hospitality and is served to guests visiting a home. No special occasion or ceremony in Myanmar is considered complete without it. Nowadays, it is very easy to make a dish of tea leaf salad as there are ready-made packs available in the markets. Lahpet Thoke can be found in restaurants and tea shops all over Myanmar, and it is usually eaten as a snack or starter. The salad is usually served with the main meal but can also be eaten on its own. You can also find this dish with street vendors which only costs around 500-1000 mmk.
Read more about tea leaf salads from Myanmar
Shan Kao Swe - Shan Noodle
Shan noodle or Shan Kao Swe is a traditional rice noodle dish of the Shan people (one of the major ethnicities of Myanmar). Shan noodles are often served for breakfast although they can also be eaten throughout the day. Shan style noodles are very easy to make. Marinated chicken or pork is cooked in tomatoes and then mixed with rice noodles, flavourful garlic, chili, and pickle toppings. It can be served with broth or without. There are different versions of this dish depending upon the different regions as Shan people spread the dish over Myanmar. Nice to combine with pickled vegetables as a side dish. Shan noodle dishes can be bought at street vendors and roadside stalls and normally costs around 800-2500 mmk.
Myanmar has its own typical tea culture, you can find Burmese tea shops in almost every corner of the towns in Myanmar. and. A variety of tea shops are sprinkled across the country. Sometimes named under ‘cafe’ or ‘food and drink,’ the settings are largely the same: a chaotic hall where mainly men gather and talk about news and football matches.
Burmese tea is called Lahpet Yay in Myanmar. The main ingredients are tea powder, water, a pinch of salt, condensed milk, and evaporated or non-sweetened milk. There are 4 types of Burmese tea depending on the mixing ratio of condensed milk and evaporated milk called
- Pon Man - normal with evaporated milk and condensed milk proportionally
- Kya Saint - less sweet with more tea flavor
- Pau Saint - less sweet with more evaporated milk
- Cho Saint - sweet with more evaporated milk
Mone Lone Yay Paw - Myanmar Dumplings
Mone Lone Yay Paw is a traditional dumpling of Myanmar. It is a sweet dessert associated with the Thingyan festival ( Myanmar New Year Festival). It is made by combining glutinous rice flour, water, and salt. The combination is shaped into smooth round balls, which are then typically filled with palm jaggery or palm sugar and then boiled in hot water and served with fresh coconut topping. During the Thingyan Festival held in March every year, it is usually doled out by the donors as a merit-making activity and partakers often play pranks by stuffing some rice balls with chili peppers instead of jaggery.
If you would like to try these Myanmar traditional foods when you visit the country, here is our recommendation….
Tint Tint Myanmar Traditional Dessert
Tint Tint offers varieties of traditional snacks with affordable low prices. It also offers frozen readymade packages. It is available for delivery on Foodpanda and frozen packages are available at Supermarkets.
Shwepalin (Key Stone)
Shwepalin has many branches all over Myanmar and has varieties of traditional Burmese food on the menu and also makes take away home made frozen packages with reasonable prices. For delivery, Shwepalin has its own website and you can order online.