Wandering around the street, dropping in on a vendor on the basement and taking a bite local street food is one of the most intriguing experiences that tourists should not miss while visiting Myanmar. Like any other Southeast Asian countries, street food in Myanmar is considered as the greatest delight by every international tourist. If you are looking for an essential guide for the best street food on your trip to Myanmar, this article is right for you.
Street Food In Yangon, Myanmar
In downtown Yangon, “street food” takes on a whole other meaning, as makeshift restaurants spill from sidewalks onto the roads. With more than 135 ethnic groups and borders shared with Bangladesh, China, India, Laos, and Thailand, it’s safe to say that the cuisine of Myanmar is diverse and eclectic.
It’s also safe to order a delicious combined dish of the spicy rich curries of India, the garlicky sweet sauces of China, and the bright herb-filled salads and soups of Thailand. There’s nothing quite like it, and Myanmar is a country where signature food is the snack. The best street food can be found at temporary carts set up by vendors each morning, and the stews and snacks sold throughout the day represent a wide cross-section of different cultures and ethnicities.
If you like samosas, be sure not to mix with greens and coat in a rich broth for a spicy street snack. Breakfast often means Mohinga, piquant fish stew made with rice noodles and vegetables. Turmeric is made use of in everything from curries to tea, and fermented shrimp paste adds a funky richness to broths and sauces much like splashes of fish sauce in Vietnamese and Thai cooking.
It’s food worth fighting with the blazing heat and humidity, crazy traffic and rancid street smell in this city of five million for taking a bite of something you can’t find anywhere else. Here are seven significant street snacks worth trying on your tour in Yangon.
Top 7 Most Famous Street Food to Try in Myanmar
Mohinga is a rice noodle and fish soup and play an important part in Myanmar cuisine. It is considered by many to be the national dish of Myanmar. It is readily available in most parts of the country. In major cities, street hawkers and roadside stalls sell dozens of dishes of mohinga to the locals and passers-by. It is usually eaten for breakfast, but nowadays it’s available throughout the day and this particular Yangon street stall.
Mohinga is a mixture of pungent fish broth flavored with lemongrass, turmeric, and pepper, which swirls around slippery thin glass noodles. The fish is not immediately recognizable; its ground with chickpea flour to make a lusciously thick.
Mont Lin Ma Yar
Roughly translated as “husband and wife snacks,” these tiny bites are a visual delight. Dollops of rice flour batter are put in a large sizzling cast iron pan that resembles a muffin tin. Toppings such as quail eggs, scallions, or roasted chickpeas are added to half of the dollops, and then, like a husband and wife, the two halves are joined to make a little round cake. The quail egg versions are the perfect breakfast food, like eating half a dozen mini egg McMuffins.
If you are a big fan of barbecue, you can’t miss grilled skewers in any vendors on the street. Delicious skewer of peeled baby potatoes will be grilled with any ingredient you choose. Then there are delicate strands of enoki mushrooms, clumped together along with okra and broccoli, which are all marinated in the same sweet lime chili sauce. A whole grilled fish is another highlight, cut into sections you can easily peel away with chopsticks; the skin is just slightly charred and deliciously sweet. Order whole corn on the cob and it comes back in kernels, just lightly charred, meatier and starchier than the American sweet variety.
The Shan state in Eastern Myanmar shares borders with China, Laos, and Thailand. It has been a region of conflict and civil war since Burmese independence in 1948, and the influences from China are not only present in politics, but also in the food.
Shan cuisine has a bunch of a simple noodle dish with a thin broth of fragrant garlic and black pepper. The region’s noodles are usually of the thicker rice variety, and they’re tossed in a sweet and spicy pepper-based sauce with bits of ground pork or chicken. The red pepper sauce is reminiscent of a Thai sweet chili sauce, but here it’s more fragrant as if mixed with Chinese five-spice powder.
Tea and Fried Snacks
Appeared in Myanmar under the British colonial era, drinking tea style has become popular in Myanmar culture. The Burmese teahouse provides so much more than warm beverages and snacks. It’s a place where the Myanmar people come to share the news of the day, discuss politics, and socialize. The tea you’ll find in Yangon is thick and strong, and heavily sweetened with condensed milk and sugar, but the brute force of the black tea cuts right through the dairy and sugar.
Samosa salad or also called “Thoke” is the main dish in the culinary culture of Myanmar. Almost everything is diced and mixed up to create “thoke”. Taste and ingredients of Samosa salad are different each seller, however, is still basically chopped Samosa (fried bread triangles in people with potatoes, turmeric, beans), chickpeas, cabbage, shallots, and tomatoes. Add a few leaves of fresh mint or coriander, and a few drops of lemon juice to make the taste better. Some sellers also add whole grain bread or sliced bitter water lentils. Samosa salad was sold mostly in the streets in Yangon, so guests can easily enjoy this dish anywhere.
Dosas represent the Indian contingent of Burmese cuisine. This southern Indian pancake is made with a batter of fermented ground lentils and rice, and you can find them on many street corners in downtown Yangon. A thin layer of batter is spread quickly inside a concave metal pot over hot coals, and the back of a ladle is used in a circular motion to ensure the dosa is evenly cooked. The vendor then adds chopped tomatoes, chickpeas. It costs you less than a dollar, and you can walk away with a crispy snack any time of day.