Magnificent Meals in Myanmar (Burma)

“Food, glorious food!
Hot sausage and mustard!
While we’re in the mood —
Cold jelly and custard!”
Oliver! (Originally opened in 1960 would you Adam and Eve it!)

Now, I bloody love food. It’s for this reason, among others, that I am not gracing the covers of Men’s Health and GQ.

Until Myanmar (Burma), India was way ahead in the twobackpackateers’ “Best Food Awards”. 7 weeks of delicious curries, naans and biryanis had sealed that one up. India had it in the bag. It was already buying it’s Tux for the awards dinner.

Then, Myanmar arrives. Weird Myanmar/Burma with it’s two names and secretive military junta (good word junta…bad people, but good word).

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We’d heard some scare stories of the horrible food…”2 weeks of oily fried rice or noodles” or “Nice place, bad food.”
It wasn’t looking good. But these were lies. Sent to throw us off course!

We loved Myanmar’s cuisine. Particularly in Yangon, where I believe it is possible to eat for less than $1 (60p) for the ENTIRE day!

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The World needs more tea

In Yangon, broadly speaking there are 2 options. First — street food. Second — restaurants (including Teahouses).
The street food is located all over, I’m pretty sure that every block had at least someone selling something…from steamed Corn on the Cob, to Samosa Salads, to dodgy looking pig entrails. It was all there. And it was all cheap!

The restaurants however, are centred around Anawrahta Road in the downtown region. West of Sule Paya Road, and East of 28th Street is where the magic happened for us.

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One of many Yangon night markets

One of the best meals I’ve had on this trip was at Danuphyu Daw Saw Yee Myanmar Restaurant. Initially, Lucy ordered the beef curry, and I the chicken. But I spent most of the meal staring longingly at Lucy’s. It was beautifully, slow cooked beef in a rich sauce, with just the slightest hint of spice, but full of flavour. This was accompanied by a delicious soup and green vegetables (all free as was the standard in Myanmar). It was so good that I dragged Lucy back there the next night to eat it again.
I think I’ll remember that meal for a long time! The whole meal cost us 7000 Kyat (£4.50/$7).

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We also sampled the noodles available at 999 Shan Noodle. Some delicious offerings here as well. My favourite were the Fried Shan Noodles with chicken, but the yellow rice with tomato is also delicious.
Again, a soup is served for free, along with pickled veg. Some amazingly tasty fried tofu is also worth the 1500 Kyat (£1/$1.6).

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After the Biryani’s we had in India, we weren’t expecting a lot, but we were pleasantly surprised. The Chicken Biryanis at Nilar Biryani & Cold Drink were delicious. Quality sauce, delicious rice and a quarter chicken. All for 2500 Kyat (£1.70/$2.50). Worth noting that they have a second outfit Yangon bus station out of town.

Those were Yangon’s highlights for us, and as it turns out, probably the best meals we had in our 2 week trip.
We found the food in the rest of Myanmar not as good as the meals we had in Yangon.

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Finally, the Teahouses of Myanmar — leftover from the British (naturally it was acceptable to stop for tea at 3pm under the Raj). Delicious, sweet tea is served up all day, but the accompaniments are the real highlight. From coconut pasties, to bowls of noodles, each Teahouse has it’s own speciality.

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This guy in Inle Lake was awesome! Although his dad looks less excited to see us…

Having said that, special mention needs to be made for the Tea Leaf Salad. Sounds weird, but bear with me here — pickled tea leaves, nuts and a sharp, sometimes spicy dressing. Still not interested? Well get interested. It’s delicious!

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Luckily for India, it is still our favourite place to eat, but Yangon gave it a run for it’s money, so will have to put on a gracious loser face for the awards ceremony.

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