Taste of Myanmar: Food and drinks
Many travelers can agree that when traveling, tasting the exotic food and drinks of different countries is one of the most exciting and memorable experiences of their travels. Myanmar will not disappoint with its variety of local dishes and drinks that set it apart from the rest of Southeast Asia.
If you are a beer lover, then Myanmar will provide you with an opportunity to try some new brews and immerse yourself in the local scene. In every city and village in Myanmar, there are a multitude of “beer stations” where one can stop throughout the day and sit back with a cold, local beer. While beer stations are a usual hangout for men, don’t be intimidated because like everywhere in Myanmar, foreigners are welcomed and many will be excited by the opportunity to share a drink with a foreigner.
Beer in Myanmar is cheap, usually around $.50 for a glass. The beer stations usually sell draft beers and you will typically be served roasted peanuts to snack on as well. The most popular beer is Myanmar Beer and it is probably the most favorite among locals. Burmese are very proud of this namesake beer and other popular local beers include Dagon and Mandalay Beers.
Throughout Myanmar you will find a plethora of beer stations with servers just waiting to serve you some pints. So don’t be shy and immerse yourself in one of these popular, local hangouts! If you’re more interested in tasting beers at a bar, there are several Western bars in Yangon including 50th Street Bar, Vista Bar and Union Bar & Grill.
Another Myanmar specialty not to be missed is Tea Leaf Salad! This dish is uniquely Burmese and cannot be found anywhere else in Southeast Asia. If you wander into any local tea house you will find Tea Leaf Salad on the menu or you can ask the server for “La – Pet -Tdoe” in Burmese. It is served throughout the day and usually treated as a snack and accompanied by a cup of tea or local brew.
The dish is comprised of fermented tea leaves, fried beans and peanuts tossed in alight oil. Some restaurants will provide you with a side of raw garlic and if you have adventurous taste buds, try a spoonful with a clove of garlic and you won’t be disappointed! It is usually served on a plate with several small spoons so that it can be shared amongst a group or with rice to make it a complete meal. This is definitely a savory dish and the taste is slightly sour since the leaves are fermented, but the fried beans and peanuts add a pleasant salty crunch.
Keeping with the topic of traditional Burmese food, you should also try the delicious Burmese Coconut Soup. This delightful soup is made with coconut milk, fragrant spices, chicken and rice noodles. It is a savory dish with an earthy sweetness. It is typically not spicy, although if you wish to add some chili that can always be provided!
As this is a noodle soup, it is eaten with chopsticks and a small spoon so you can slurp up every last drop of the delicious broth. It is typically enjoyed throughout the day and since rice is a staple in the Burmese diet, it is usually available at restaurants from breakfast, lunch or dinner. Every region of the country will have its own variations, but all will be equally delicious!
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