Burmese Bites

Learning about Myanmar culture and cuisine, one meal at a time

I would recommend a visit to Myanmar to anyone. I first moved here last July and stayed for 6 months, and after a brief stint trying my luck in Thailand, I couldn’t have been happier to return. If Thailand is the land of smiles, then for me Myanmar is a beam of joy. Of course, there is a great deal still that need to happen to the country that finally achieved its first democratic election last year, but I am not here to discuss politics right now. I am here to discuss food.

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A Pagoda in the Monastic town of Sagain

During my last stay here I was less, how shall we say, less willing to try the local cuisine. I am not a fan of rice or spicy food (I know, I know, why did I move to Asia) and I found myself struggling to push myself out of my comfort zone when it came to dinner time. Fast forward a year and since my return I have made a conscious effort to stop eating overpriced, underwhelming Western meals and eat as much of the local food as often as possible.

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A street vendor selling Jaggery, a sweet treat made from Palm sap

And so began a learning process, still in practice. That’s not to say I enjoy all of what I eat, nor that I don’t occasionally binge on a burger to soak up the previous night’s beer (I can’t help it sometimes – I am weak and I just discovered Lotteria delivers). However I can say that I have found some really excellent local dishes that I have come to enjoy. This is mainly thanks to my school, which provides me with lunch daily, and local street food stops that have become my regular haunts.

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Looking over the Ayeyarwady river from Mingun

Bearing this in mind, I have begun this blog in order to discover a) what some of these dishes are called – preferably in both Myanmar and English b) what their ingredients and recipes are and c) to hopefully spread the word to others travelling here. Some of my local friends are providing me with some of the answers I seek, but until then I will post pictures and descriptions to the best of my ability.

Please feel free to comment with any suggestions of places to eat, dishes to try or any other information you want to know. I am localized to Mandalay, but there is a pretty varied amount of  cuisine on offer here.

The next post will detail a description of a variety of traditional Myanmar dishes myself and a good friend had at a famous local restaurant: Daung Lann Gyi. Till then, in the words of Paul Prudhomme:

“You don’t need a silver fork to eat good food”

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