Best Burmese foods to try in Myanmar

Burmese food startled us at first because it can be quite oily.

And just as we started to get used to spicy foods (particularly after Sri Lankan food), we were surprised to find that Burmese food is quite mild – by Asian standards of course!

The tea houses and street food scene of Yangon and variety of Burmese curries we tried in Mandalay kept these two greedy boys very happy.

Sebastien getting ready to binge on this Burmese meal
Sebastien getting ready to binge on this delicious Burmese meal (yes it's all for him) in a restaurant in Mandalay

#1 Burmese food: curries in Mandalay

In Mandalay we stayed at the excellent Nan Bwe – The Vibe Hostel with the really sweet owner Nan Bwe, who taught us about Burmese food, in particular how to prepare a Burmese meal.

Stefan showing off a freshly made Burmese meal in Mandalay
Stefan showing off his freshly prepared Burmese meal with Nan Bwe, the charismatic owner of Yoe Yoe Lay guesthouse in Mandalay

Burmese meals usually evolve around rice and many different curries. It reminded us a lot of the Sri Lankan ‘rice and curry' whereby a meal involved many many little dishes of excitement.

These many little dishes would include a variety of different vegetable and non vegetable curries. Our favourite recipe was Burmese chicken curry, which involved large amounts of garlic.

Cooking class in Mandalay
Learning to cook Burmese chicken curry at the Yoe Yoe Lay guesthouse in Mandalay

Burmese curries are served with rice, a soup broth (usually lentils or other vegetable), a plate of quickly boiled raw vegetables and a fish based sauce to dip the raw vegetables into. Unlimited green tea is usually also served alongside it.

We also learnt that there is no real uniform recipe for each curry. So each Burmese meal was a new culinary journey of flavours.

Sebastien's Burmese feast
Sebastien proudly displaying his freshly made Burmese feast

#2 Street food in Yangon

In Yangon we loved the variety of delicious street food on offer. Meals here are commonly taken on the streets creating quite a buzzy atmosphere:


Along with all the different fruits, noodles and curries available, we particularly liked the freshly squeezed sugar cane juices and samosa salads available on the streets of Yangon.

#3 Samosa salad

We love samosas. But the Burmese have taken this to a whole new level, chopped it up and served it in a delicious salad with more vegetables added and fresh mint tossed in.

Sebastien went face down in quite a few of these…


#4 Freshly squeezed sugar cane juice

We saw many stalls in Yangon with large sugar cane sticks and wondered what they were for. We discovered the sticks are pressed and a sweet, sticky juice is squeezed out, creating a very yummy drink.

Sugar cane juice stand in Yangon
Sugar cane juice stand on the streets of Yangon

No ice, water, extra sugar is needed. It's plain and simple, and one of the tastiest natural drinks we've ever tried. Stefan's sweet tooth loved these!

Stefan tucking into sugar cane juice drink
Stefan tucking into his favourite drink in Yangon – a freshly pressed sugar cane juice

#5 Semolina cakes in Yangon tea houses

Tea houses are prevalent in Myanmar, especially in Yangon where we noticed there was one on every other block. But the real highlight for us in a Burmese tea house were the delicious freshly made prizes placed on each table.

Freshly made semolina cakes in a Yangon tea house
Delicious freshly made semolina cakes in a Yangon tea house

Our favourites were the freshly made semolina, coconut cakes topped with poppy seeds called “shwe kyi”. This was one of the tastiest treats we tried in Myanmar and again, appealed nicely to Stefan's sweet tooth…

Stefan enjoying a freshly made semolina cake
Stefan enjoying a freshly made semolina cake in a Yangon teahouse

#6 Myanmar beer

Finally, no post by us about food is complete without a mention of the country's national beer.

In this case, it was particularly important as it was the deciding factor in determining why we call this country Myanmar and not Burma.

Myanmar not Burma: our beer selfie in Mandalay
The beer was the deciding factor why we call this country Myanmar not Burma

Watch our video Myanmar travel video as we made our way from Mandalay to Bagan, Inle Lake and Yangon:



⭐️ TRAVEL INSURANCE — We recommend you always take out travel insurance before your next vacation. What happens if you suffer from illness, injury, theft or a cancellation? With travel insurance, you can have peace of mind and not worry. We love World Nomads travel insurance and have been using it for years. Their comprehensive coverage is second to none and their online claims process is very user friendly.

⭐️ SAFETY & SECURITY — All travelers can sometimes encounter danger when traveling. CloseCircle is your “virtual body guard” mobile app which provides security alerts and support wherever you are in the world. They have a 24/7 emergency response team monitoring their users who will contact you immediately if the SOS swipe button is activated. Support can include anything from practical advice, to free evacuation from areas with extreme weather or security risks. You can read more about CloseCircle in our article about how to stay safe whilst traveling.

⭐️ ONLINE ANONYMITY — A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a must in many countries: it allows you to surf anonymously and maintain your privacy whilst traveling. You'll particularly need it in countries where dating apps are blocked by the government. We recommend ExpressVPN, a reliable and cost effective service which we used and loved during our travels.

⭐️ HOTELS or APARTMENTS — When we plan a trip, we always look for the best hotel deals. We love because not only do they have a comprehensive listing of accommodation options, they also offer the best prices. Added bonus: they provide 24/7 support and free cancellation for most listings.

⭐️ SIGHTSEEING and ADVENTURES — When we travel somewhere, we like to seek out the best experiences, whether it is cooking with locals in Bangkok, hiking on a glacier in Patagonia, or going on a wildlife safari in Sri Lanka. Our favorite place to look is GetYourGuide because they have over 30,000 highly rated activities, a user-friendly booking process with free cancellation and a 24 hour customer support.

This article contains affiliate links. If you click on them, we may receive compensation which keeps our website alive and helps us bring you to more destinations.

About the author

Hi there! We are Stefan and Sebastien, Greek/French couple behind the travel blog Nomadic Boys. Since we met in 2009, we have been travelling all around the world together, visiting over 100 countries.

Our mission is to inspire you, the gay traveller, and show you that you can visit more places in the world than you thought possible, by providing a first-hand account of our travel adventures, to help you plan a fun and safe trip.

To find out more about us

7 thoughts on “Best Burmese foods to try in Myanmar”

  1. I’m keeping notes on your delicious food trip so that I can taste at least a few of them when I go to Myanmar next week. I love how you approach food with a passion. Keep writing, fellow foodies!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Gay travel newsletter

Our best gay travel tips, latest stories and exclusive deals sent straight to your inbox

Holler Box

Gay travel newsletter

Our best gay travel tips, latest stories and exclusive deals sent straight to your inbox

Holler Box