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Aug 03, 2023

Myanmar cuisine, dishes, history


Myanmar cuisine, or Burmese cuisine as it is also known, is a very flavorful cuisine that combines the flavors of the delicious cuisines of Thailand, China and India. The regional cuisines of Myanmar are also based on the cuisines of the different ethnic groups that live in the present state of Myanmar. Myanmar is divided into 14 states and regions with over 135 ethnic groups. The largest of these are the Burmese and Shan, and their cuisines are known outside Myanmar as well. However, the cuisines of Kayan, Kachin, Mon and Rakhine cultures are also of great interest.

Characteristic foods

Plant-based foods

The staple food in Myanmar is white rice, which is served with accompanying meat dishes. In the mountainous regions, stickier varieties with low amylose content are preferred, while in the lower delta regions, varieties with higher amounts of amylose are favored.

Myanmar cuisine is dominated by large quantities of fresh vegetables and fruits. Many fruits of tropical origin include durian, guava, mango, banana, jackfruit, lychee, papaya, pomelo, watermelon, pomegranate, mangosteen and rambutan.

A very popular vegetable is jenkol (a member of the legume family, considered moderately toxic and can cause poisoning), which is usually boiled or fried.
Meat and fish

Modern Myanmar cuisine is divided into two types: coastal and inland. Cuisine in coastal areas, such as the main city of Yangon, makes extensive use of fish and seafood. The cuisine of Myanmar’s inland regions, such as Upper Myanmar or the mountainous areas, tends to use more meat and poultry, although modern inland cuisine also includes freshwater fish and shrimp in various forms.

Dairy products

Animal milk is hardly used in Myanmar cuisine.


Burmese cuisine is full of spices, from sweet or sour to salty. The most popular are pickled mangoes, balachaung (balachaung), and vegetables marinated in rice wine.

Burmese food is quite spicy, salty and oily. A must-have ingredient in Kachin cuisine is andaliman, which is the name of the lemon pepper that grows in Myanmar. Kachin cuisine is known for its extreme use of chili peppers.

Ngapi is a traditional Myanmar cuisine spicy paste made from fermented fish or shrimp. Ngapi is usually served with fresh vegetables and curries, and is also used as a base for many main dishes, soups or salads.

Pè ngapi (Pè ngapi) are chips made from fermented dried beans, typical of Shan State.

Pon ye gyi is another bean-based condiment popular among the Bamar and central regions. It is a thick, salty black paste made from fermented soybeans. Most often added to pork, and as a salad topped with peanut butter, chopped onions and red chili peppers.

Traditional dishes


Palata are flaky fried flatbreads and are often eaten with meat curries in Myanmar.

Nan bya - oven-baked flat cakes, often eaten with any Indian dish.

Aloo poori - oil-fried crispy wheat flour flatbread with potatoes.

Hin htoke (Hin htoke) - steamed rice flour products cooked in banana leaves.

Mohinga is a fish soup with rice noodles. The most popular dish of Myanmar cuisine.

Sabuti (sabuti) is a traditional Myanmar soup made of dried corn with beef broth. The spices usually used are salt and a mixture of chopped coriander leaves with ginger and green chili peppers.

Tofu Nway is a silky soup made with peas and rice noodles. It is garnished with red peanuts, pickled mustard, and roasted garlic on top.

Main dishes

Burmese curries - use a small amount of spices (compared to Indian curries) but contain more garlic, ginger and oil.

Danpauk (danpauk / danbauk) - traditional Burmese biryani. The name danpauk is derived from the Persian name dum pukht. Burmese danpauk involves cooking rice along with chicken, cashew nuts, yogurt, raisins, peas, cloves, cinnamon, saffron and bay leaf are also added. Biryani in Myanmar is eaten with a salad of sliced onion and cucumber.

Shan noodles are a simple and popular Burmese noodle dish with chicken or pork cooked in tomato sauce. Shan noodles are sometimes served with broth.

Salads and appetizers

Myanmar cuisine includes a variety of salads. A distinctive feature of Myanmar salads is the focus on one main ingredient. Rice, wheat, potato, ginger, tomato and lime salads are very popular here.

Myanmar is the only country where tea is not only drunk but also eaten

Lappet-so or laphet-tho (Lahpet / laphet) is a so-called tea salad. Fermented tea leaves that have been in the ground for at least six months are cut into layers and poured with water. Roasted nuts, beans, cabbage and tomatoes are added to the tea salad. On top is watered with lemon juice.


Sanwin makin (Sanwin makin) is one of the most famous desserts of Burmese cuisine, it is prepared to celebrate the famous Festival of Lights in Myanmar - Thadingyut Festival. In Myanmar, semolina is also called shwe kyi, so the cake is also known as shwe kyi cake.

Jaggery is a candy typical of Asian cuisines. There are two varieties of jaggery in Myanmar:

Htanyet (Htanyet) - lollipops made from palm palm sap.
Kyan Tha Kar - lollipops made from sugar cane.


Yay nway gyan - Burmese light green tea.


Khao yae (khao yae) - Kayan rice wine drunk by men, women and children in Kayah State on special occasions to celebrate weddings, harvests and religious festivals. Rice wine is drunk through a bamboo straw. To make Kayan rice wine, glutinous rice, millet, natural yeast and water are mixed together. The drink is then fermented in a large clay pot for about three weeks. The liquid becomes light pink, slightly fizzy, and sweet with a pungent odor. Although the exact alcohol content is unknown, basic rice wine is believed to contain 17-18% alcohol, and it is stronger the longer it is left to ferment.

Khao bu is a hot rice wine, a lighter version of the original wine that is mixed with hot water to give a completely different, sweeter flavor. This version is especially popular during cold winters.

Khao phyu, a white rice wine, is fermented for only 18 days using a different type of rice. It has a tart flavor and stays fresh for only three or four days.

Htel Lei, a rice wine named after the village it comes from, has a more rounded, honeyed flavor.

Sote khao - A rice wine served in a tall bamboo cup and drunk through a bamboo straw. There are three different layers of flavor: the top layer is warm, spicy and dry, the middle layer is more tart, and the bottom layer is earthy.

Register here as an assistant or local guide if you live in one of Myanmar’s towns or villages and want to become an ambassador of the Friendly World to help people have an unforgettable trip around your town. Learn more about the opportunities that Friendly World offers you. Not only can you help people, but you can also make new friends and earn money.

If you want to become an ambassador for Friendly World in your town or village to help people have an unforgettable trip, sign up here as an assistant or local guide. Check out the opportunities that Friendly World has to offer - you can not only help people, but also make new friends and earn money.