If you read last month’s post you’ll know that Myanmar surprised me in many ways, not least with its culinary offerings. The food here is so diverse – borrowing influences from Indian, Thai, and Chinese cuisine – and also utterly unique.
I was also surprised by the quality of the food served in Myanmar’s many restaurants. Dishes are well-presented, colourful, and flavoursome, and the majority of staff in the major tourist areas speak and understand almost perfect English. This makes the whole experience simple, hassle-free, and thoroughly enjoyable.
Here are 4 of my favourite restaurants in Myanmar, and the dishes you should order there!
Restaurants in Myanmar
Yangon – 999 Shan Noodle
999 Shan Noodle has become a bit of an institution in Yangon – for locals and tourists alike. It’s a small (although spread over two floors) cheap and cheerful looking restaurant that could be easily missed if it weren’t for the bright red sign above its doors. You’ll also spot a collection of matching red plastic stools set around tables covered in cheap plastic table cloths.
But don’t be fooled by appearances; the food here is some of the tastiest and most budget-friendly in the whole of Yangon. Whilst there are other dishes on the menu, it would be a crime not to try a Shan Noodle dish at a Shan Noodle Restaurant. I loved my Sticky Shan Noodle Soup for just 1500 KYAT (90 pence/$1.08)
Nyaung-U (Bagan) – Weather Spoon’s
Not to be confused with the UK pub/restaurant chain, “Wetherspoons “ (although the owner of Myanmar’s offering has spent time in England, studying balloon-piloting in Bristol), Weather Spoon’s Restaurant is by far and away the most popular (and with good reason!) restaurant in Nyaung-U.
Come here after around 7pm and you’ll struggle to get a table at this cozy little establishment that’s located on Nyaung-U’s ‘main street’, across the road from Thanaka Gallery.
There’s so many delicious dishes on the menu here but my absolute favourites were the Tea Leaf Salad (sounds odd but is one of the tastiest dishes in Myanmar, trust me!) and Ginger Salad, Tom Yam Soup, and Thai Red Curry.
Nyaungshwe (Inle Lake) – Live Dim Sum House
I must admit that most of the restaurants in Nyaungshwe were pretty uninspiring – with the exception of One Owl Grill (serving tasty tapas and an inviting selection of happy hour cocktails) and Live Dim Sum House. As the name suggests, this is a Chinese restaurant specialising in Dim Sum.
Hidden away on dimly-lit side road, it’s not the kind of establishment you’d stumble across, but it still manages to pack the crowds in every night – a testament to the quality and authenticity of its food.
If you order a starter (try the sweet and sour soup or squid with chilli and salt) I’d say that 2-3 Dim Sum portions per person is sufficient. If you’re a non meat-eater there’s a good selection of vegetarian and fish fillings. I can personally recommend the grilled pumpkin and mushroom, and prawn with coriander.
The restaurant is run by a local Burmese family who go out of their way to ensure that you enjoy the entire Dim Sum experience.
Mandalay – Marie Min Vegetarian Restaurant
The wifi here is amazing (it even works at the Rainforest Restaurant over the road) so it’s a fantastic little spot to linger for a long lunch and get a bit of work done (or just procrastinate on Facebook and Instagram!).
Marie Min is located down a little side street that connects 26th and 27th street, in between 74th and 75th street (sound complicated? Try explaining it to a taxi driver who doesn’t speak a word of English; even Google Maps struggles with Burmese addresses!) and is well worth a visit if you’re staying nearby.
There’s a huge variety of mouth-wateringly delicious dishes, as well as an equally large number of smoothies and lassis. Their tea leaf salad was one of the tastiest I ate in the whole of Myanmar, and I can also recommend trying their tofu curry with chapati, and their meal-sized aubergine ‘dip’.
Have you had any fantastic restaurant experiences lately? A dish that totally blew you away or a food you tried for the first time? Please tell me in the comments below!