Top 10 Must-Try Burmese Foods
Cuisine is an important part of a country’s culture. And as a traveller, experience new cuisines is a must-do work. As for Myanmar, its Burmese cuisine is something really intruiging. Influenced by many ethnic food cuisine and other countries, it is totally worth it to take notice and in this time, let’s check out the Top 10 Must-Try Burmese Foods when we come to Myanmar!
Mohinga (or Mohinka) is surely on almost every lists of Burmese Foods due to its popularity. Or we can say it’s like signature dish every tourists have to try. Mohinga is a noodles-soup dish, normally fish is the main ingredient (in some cases it includes rice), along with onions, lemon grass, ginger, garlic for soup broth, and finally topped with sliced banana blossom, sometimes also with boiled eggs or akyaw. As the results we have an extremely delicious dish which is often served as snack, or even main dish for breakfast.
2. Burmese Curry
Curry is a fascinating type of dish since it can be simple, but also complicated at the same time. Depends on different ingredients, we will have many kinds of curry dishes. Lucky for us, curry is one of the traditional Burmese cuisine and we can pretty much find it in every traditional Burmese restaurant. As for the main ingredient, normally we have pork, fish, shrimp, beef or mutton. This may sound limited, but other ingredients are what define “uniqueness” in these curry dishes. A full curry course always include: rice, a salad dish, a fried vegetables dish, a small bowl of soup, and a large tray of fresh (and maybe half-boiled) herbs and vegetables. One suggestion is to try Mon Style Curry, it will be a satisfying experience.
3. Laphet Thohk
Laphet Thohk or normally known in English as Green Tea Salad (or Tea Leaf Salad) is another top-choice Burmese dish. It can also be a typical example for Burmese food’s special trait: using tea leaves, herbs in both drink and food dish. This salad’s main ingredient, obviously, is tea leaves, and often served with crunchy vegetables such as shredded cabbage, sliced tomatoes, fried peas, peanuts, sesame, green chili, .etc… (also including shrimps though this can’t be counted as vegetables), along with fish sauce or peanut oil. Though it is called as snack dish, if tourists really want to have it as main dish for a day then just get a bowl of rice with some additions.
4. Shan-style Rice
Shan-style foods seem to be another signature Burmese dishes. And for that purpose, we will have 3 Shan-style dishes included here, start with Shan-style Rice.
Shan-style rice, often known as fish rice, is considered to be one of the most typical Burmese food. The dish comes with turmeric rice and fish as main ingredients, often served with garlic oil and additional ingredient like garlic, leek/leek roots, and sometimes fried pork. Together we have a savory dish which can’t be found anywhere else.
5. Shan-style Noodles
Shan-style noodles might be simple to make, but it doesn’t mean it lacks compelling compared to other noodles dishes or Burmese dishes. As a noodles dish, it has rice noodles, spicy broth; along with chicken or pork as meat ingredient; and finally included with sesame and garlic oil. There is “dry” noodles version for those who does not like “watery” one.
6. Shan-style Tofu
Shan-style tofu is unique due to its tofu made from chickpea flour, unlike tofu made from soybeans. Normally you can see it served in a salad dish, but it can also be served as a separate dish. It is best made as fritters (tohpu jaw) – crunchy on the outside but soft inside, ideally used with steamed meat.
7. Burmese Sweets
For most of the time, almost every sweets we have so far always include sugar. But isn’t it interesting to have sweets, but not made with sugar ? Such is the case of Burmese sweets. Instead of using sugar, they use natural ingredients to create sweet flavor, commonly coconut, rice, tapioca, and fruits. Take Shwe Htamin (or Golden Sticky Rice Cakes) as example. it is made from sticky rice toppled with coconuts shavings, often used as common snack.
8. Stuffed Tofu
Remember the time when we were small children, the excitement each time we opened the Christmas presents and wanted to see what kind of things we will get? This kind of dish stimulates exactly that feeling. Stuffed tofu is basically fried tofu, but the interesting thing is what included in it. It can be anything, from peanuts, fried beans, toasted garlic, dried shrimp, grated cabbage, chillies topped with a sweet or spicy sauce, .etc… It is like a wild ride!
9. Burmese Tea Shop Meal
Normally we expect various types of drink in a tea shop, however, in Burmese cuisine drinks are not the only things available, especially in ethnic Burmese tea shop. As we mentioned before, Burmese cuisine is special due to its usage of tea leaves, herbs in both food and drink so there is no surprise when we can enjoy this combination in a tea shop. In such a place, delicious drinks such as tea are always excellent when served with other dishes like noodles and rice dishes based on traditional Burmese cuisine. In other tea shops influenced by Indian/Chinese cuisine, they have more interesting combinations but it is best to discover them by yourself.
10. Deep-fried Snacks
After a long day travelled in Myanmar, probably we all want something which can satisfy our stomach, some sort of snacks. If that is the case then do not worry, there are tons of snacks in every corners. But for some reasons Burmese people really into deep-fried foods and if you noticed by now, many Burmese dishes have fried food as topples or main ingredient. Their snacks are also often deep-fried with oil. Cast the “fried concern” aside, these snacks are extremely good, ranging from samosas, spring rolls to fritters, sweets, breads. One recommendation is to try out Buthi Kyaw (or roughly speaking: gourd fritter) which is made of rice flour, flavored with garlic, ginger, and chili.
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