Myanmar cuisine

mohinga-burmese-rice-noodlesThe food in Myanmar is not as spicy as other South-East Asian countries, and may lack the diversity of its Thai neighbors but is none the less delicious and filling. As with most Asian cuisine rice is at the core of most meals, and the dishes often reflect the local vegetable, plant and seafood available.

 

The food has been influenced by Burmese, Mon, Indian and Chinese over centuries and soups, salads, fish, meat, vegetables and herbs are found in four primary flavours: bitter, salty, sour and spicy. Sometimes travelers may have to request a knife and fork as a lot of local restaurants do not make them available, unless required as locals are used to eating with their fingers! In Myanmar when having a meal, all dishes are put onto the table at the same time and diners can choose a combination of items that suit their individual tastes. The most common method of cooking fish or meat is to fry it in boiling oil with shallots, garlic, ginger, turmeric, chili and spices. The spices are essential and the most popular spices used for fish or shrimp is local chili powder. Most Myanmar traditional snacks are made from rice or glutinous rice, with rich and varied flavors. Mohinga rice dishes are served with fish soup or pasta dishes, and is one of the most popular in Myanmar. This dish is the most popular breakfast dish and used on other special occasions. Laphet (tea leaves) with a little oil, disk sesame seeds, roasted peanuts and fried garlic is also a popular dish typical of Myanmar.


Myanmar foodMyanmar's Culinary History
The people of Myanmar’s traditional food habits and culture has so far been retained, and mixed with more modern cuisine. Myanmar is an agricultural country with rice as major crops, and in fact the country was a major rice exporter to the world. Myanmar lies between two great cultures, not only religious but also their cuisine. The country’s colonial western times and influences from China, India, Mons and neighboring Thailand have had a huge impact on the food of Myanmar, with the focus on very creative mixing. In this era of globalization and trade liberalization, all the famous dishes of the world are present in this country but most of the people still appreciate their own Myanmar cuisine. So far, the people still embrace the uniqueness of the traditional dishes.


mohingaOn the table
The table type most commonly used in Myanmar is round and low, and traditionally the diners always sit on the floor to enjoy their meals. Even when you eat in a restaurant the table size allows you to have access to all items of food on the table and only when all dishes are ready are they brought to the table, to save on continuous serving. No appetizers or wine are usually served with meals, but after eating what customers are waiting for is water, juice or a cup of green tea. When all food has been placed on the table, diners can start by taking portions that they want and place them in their smaller individual bowls. Usually, people eat with their hands in Myanmar but there are dishes where spoons are required, such as soup that is usually served in one large bowl and shared between the diners. If you are eating with your hands, be sure to use your right hand, and keep your left away from your plate. Some meals require utensils, but always use the fork in the left hand and use it to push your food onto the spoon held in your right. (knives are never used). Older people and guests are given priority at the table and usually only after they have chosen their portions will the host take theirs.

Diners often have the opportunity to enjoy “sweets” at the end of a meal. these are little more than a lump of palm sugar or pickled tea leaves.
Although some foods do not sound that inviting, give them a try and you will be surprised at their taste, and maybe even look for seconds !

 

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Myanmar travel guide

 
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Planning your travel to Myanmar

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