Myanmar: FOOD!

Myanmar food was a total surprise. As for most things in the country, I had no idea what to expect and how it would be like. From what I gathered and experienced, it’s a mix of Chinese, Indian and Lao food (not bad!) and it can be delicious. The street food is nothing short of amazing, sweets are great and found everywhere!

The main downside is the lack of hygiene… European clean cooking standards don’t mean anything here. People are living in extreme poverty and don’t have electricity,  drinkable water or even water at all, so you can’t expect them to wash their hands every 10 minutes. Silvere liked to go to restaurants rather than eating in the street because there, we would see people using their bare hands to serve rice, mix the noodles etc… I think it still is better, as at least we can see exactly what they’re doing while in a restaurant, I can only assume that it’s worse. They do like to use their hands A LOT. It’s funny to watch poor clean food maniac Silvere ordering a dumpling in the street and sadly looking at it going  from hand to hand many times by three different persons arguing over the best dumpling to give him from the batch. To avoid that, your best bet is to touch what you want yourself first, so at least it will only be touched by the street vendor to put it in a bag. Pointing is not clear enough!

Of course we have been sick, and pretty badly, because of restaurants. I blame the bamboo shoots! We were sick after eating at two different restaurants. The first time, Silvere had a bamboo shoot curry, and the second time I was offered the typical bamboo shoot salad by the restaurant owner who was apparently impressed by my appetite. Later we saw how bamboo seats for hours in dirty water under a burning sun on markets, so no wonder it got us both sick… Apart from that, I have to say that I did eat raw veggies a lot and was fine.

 

Snacks:

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Chili is extensively cultivated in Myanmar, we saw a lot of it in the Shan state! It’s eaten raw or grilled with salt to cancel the spice.

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Some fried veggie dumplings and chickpea tofu.

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My beloved bamboo sticky rice! I jumped on it when I was it on a market, and discovered that brownish sort of paste. To my surprise, it’s also sticky rice but mixed with some palm sugar I think. The regular sticky rice exists too, and is cooked in bigger bamboo.

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At a tea shop, chai tea and Indian sweets. The most amazing break! As the Indian influence is quite big on the Myanmar cuisine, those sweets are very easy to find.

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Those pancakes are either savory with greens and peanuts or sweet with coconut. I don’t know what they’re made of but they’re very airy rather than greasy.

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What Silvere calls “bonbon piment” as they have it in the Reunion island. Could be translated to “chili candy”, they’re not actually spicy and are deep fried savory dumplings.

 

 

Main dishes:

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A typical meal is composed of rice, rice crackers, omelet and boiled veggies.

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Our first street food meal. Simple but so amazing! There are always boiled peanuts served with the rice.

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Shan noodles in a clear and light broth. The noodles are very sticky and it comes with veggies and  what is called  “tofu” here: not soybean but chickpea cakes! It’s not exactly the same but still is very good.

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The traditional tea leaf salad with cabbage, tomato, peanut, red beans, sesame seeds etc… They slightly differ everywhere but it’s very good and is one of the most famous dish in the country.

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We found this in Bagan and Mandalay. It’s a deep fried crepe with a stuffing of egg, tomato, chickpeas, green peas and a few other veggies. Much better than it looks like but it’s like drinking oil from the bottle… That didn’t stop us from going back 3 times. 

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The pumpkin soup is nothing more than boiled pumpkin in hot water with crushed peanuts, but it’s on every restaurant menu.

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Surprisingly, guacamole is served everywhere in Bagan and is called “avocado salad”.

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The bamboo shoot salad that’s so typical of Myanmar and made me sick. Stay away from bamboo shoot!

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Noodles with veggies, soup and fruits are typical meals of the Shan state. They always come with chili and tomato that are both eaten raw with salt.

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A typical Karen meal comes with many condiments, raw green veggies and coconut jaggery. What is called curry is actually very different that the curry we know. I’m not sure what it’s made of exactly but it’s a small thin translucent stick and it’s not spicy at all. Usually most dishes are called a curry of something, but it seemed to me it meant that one ingredient is cooked.

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This is not vomit over rice! It is a delicious peanut curry.

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Eggplant curry.

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Okra and pumpkin curries.

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Tofu and tomato curry.

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The famous Shan noodles with tofu! This is not cheese or puree but melted chickpea tofu on top of a noodle soup! Super oily but terrific!

 

 

 

 

Sweets:

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Plum jaggery, a delicious candy made with palm sugar.

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Coconut jaggery, a more common form than the plum. Exist with peanuts too!

 

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A very common dessert made of sugar, tapioca and coconut milk.Enter a caption

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Some kind of sweet rhoti, perfect to have a break after visiting the temples in Bago.

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A coconut jam steamed cake! Absolutely perfect at any time.

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Crepes with an egg and coconut filling.

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Fried dough with sugar glazing, simple but good!

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Rice flour coconut cake! One of the best thing I ate in Myanmar!

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A wonderful sweet bretzel!

 

 

 

 

The weird things:

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Those weird fish are drying everywhere in the streets…

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Some whole fried mammals, I think rats maybe?

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Freak mangoes?

 

 

Drinks:

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The local beer! There’s also one called Myanmar. So either they are very uninspired by beer either they have a weird patriotism.

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Sugarcane juice as everywhere is SE Asia, but I’m drinking it as the Myanmar people do, out of a plastic bag!

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My beloved Asian sweet soup is here served as a drink.

 

 

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