Myanmar people eat pork

Food and drinks in Myanmar

Myanmar has no culinary quality cuisine like China, Thailand or India. It can be described more as the kitchen of the common people ’. In Burmese cuisine, however, the customs of neighboring countries are adopted, e.g. the spices from India, the hot taste and fish from Thailand and the Chinese way of preparing food. The Burmese attach great importance to food - it is an important social activity for them.

The Burmese ‘mohinga’ is often eaten early in the morning. This is a thick soup that is flavored with lemongrass, garlic, onions, turmeric, ginger, chillies, and fish sauce. The soup is eaten with thin rice noodles and fried onions, coriander leaves and dried peppers. ‘Mohinja’ is also a popular snack and is available from street stalls.
Breakfast in the hotels consists of white bread with eggs (boiled, scrambled eggs, fried eggs), jam and bananas. You can also go to a tea house. After you have taken a seat, the table is set and filled with all kinds of goodies. There are many different cakes and cookies, samosas (a kind of spring roll), poksi (steamed rolls with vegetables), fried dough in the shape of a baguette, but with the taste of donuts without raisins and white bread without a crust with a layer of fat. You also drink coffee and tea in the tea house (usually a kind of instant coffee). The tea is mixed with a large teaspoon of condensed milk. This tradition dates back to the British colonial times. On every table there is a thermos with Chinese tea, which is on the house.

The basis of every meal is rice. You can also eat vegetarian curries, which are milder than the Indian ones. You can choose beef, pork, fish, duck or chicken with the vegetables. You can also always replace the rice with noodles (rice noodles / vermicelli). A typical dish is ‘ohn-no-khaukswe’, noodles with chicken curry cooked with coconut milk. No meal is complete without lephet ’, a salad that is served as dessert. It contains tea leaves, sesame seeds and coconut. There is an abundance of fruits in Myanmar. Enjoy durians, mangoes, papayas, lychees, rambutans, coconuts, and strawberries.

Tea is the national drink. Most drink Burmese or Chinese green tea. With most meals, tea is served free of charge. There is also the strong black tea with sweetened condensed milk. Local soft drinks are very sweet, except for Lemon Spark Ling. You can sometimes find Pepsi and Sprite in stores these days. Myanmar also brews its own beers, including brands like ‘Tiger’ and Myanmar ’. Myanmar people don't drink much alcohol themselves, a Buddhist tradition of abstinence. Local spirits are Mandalay Rum and Dry Gin. Foreign brands are expensive and often only available in the luxury hotel bars.

The tap water is not drinkable. Buy bottled water that is available almost anywhere. You should always check that the bottles still have their original seal. Ice cubes in your cola are also taboo, as they are usually made from tap water. Brush your teeth with bottled water as well.

You can get traditional food in a Burmese ‘thamin zai’, literally rice shop ’. Different curry pans are offered on tables and you can point to the dish you want to eat. Tourists are given a spoon and fork, while the locals eat with their right hand. Burmese restaurants usually close relatively early, around 8pm. You will find many food stalls on the streets in front of the restaurants and teahouses. Depending on the owner, there is Indian, Burmese or Chinese food. Indian food consists of ‘biryani’, a rice dish with chicken or lamb. For vegetarians there are thali, rice, dhal (lentil sauce), vegetarian curry, chutney and yogurt. You can also eat ‘chapati's thali’, a kind of pancake, cheaply. There are many restaurants serving Chinese and Thai dishes. Western meals can be ordered in the luxury hotels. However, they are expensive and the quality can leave a lot to be desired.