Yangon Street Food
From the minute I landed in Yangon, Myanmar, I knew that the best way to start off my visit was through a food tour. I’ve already tried the one in Delhi and I was looking forward to another hosted by A Chef’s Tour here in Yangon.
I attended the tour with my local friends, Estrella and Aung. I met both of them in Vietnam and despite being locals in Yangon, they also enjoyed the food from the tour! Our food tour guide, Matthew, showed us around Yangon’s local food scene.
What we had for our Yangon Food Tour:
- We started out at the market near the Independence Monument in Mahabandoola Garden. We were served Tilapia grilled fish. This was a common fish in the Philippines, and so it wasn’t new to me. But when I tasted it, it was so fresh and really well made. There was such a rich balance of spices that I was amazed. Right then and there, I knew it was going to be a good tour.
Note: Myanmar cuisine uses a lot of spices and herbs. So for someone who loves chili like me, it’s going to taste amazing, but if you’re not a big fan, be prepared for the heat and combination of flavors. Matthew also told us that this stop is closed on Mondays, so if you book your tour and it’s on a monday, this will be replaced with something else.
- Our next stop was my favorite—Shan Kitchen. We had noodles and it was sooo good! I seriously loved it so much that I went back again the next day.
Note: This is also a spicy cuisine so be prepared when you take a bite. Matthew can request the kitchen for a less spicy seasoning for those who don’t want that hot kick, but, yes—in my case, I left the spiciness untouched and loved it.
- In Little India, we had Samosas and Masala Dosa. Samosas are a popular fried savory Burmese-Indian snack shaped like a triangle dumpling usually filled with onion, potatoes, peas or even chicken or beef. Masala Dosa, on the other hand, is a flat folded pancake paired with different curry dips. The samosas reminded me of the street food in Nepal and in India, but then again, this one was really good. I even had 3 pieces!
- We had Indian sweets at Royal Sweets. It was yummy and not too sweet. This one closes early on a Sunday, so we were lucky we were still able to try it. They have Laddus, Jangri, Coconut Burfi and a whole lot more sweets.
We also took a walk around the different bridges with a view of the Sule Pagoda and old colorful busy buildings around. We went around Little India, the market in the city center, and Chinatown. It was a nice walk to digest what we ate.
- The Chinese have made its mark in Yangon, establishing their very own Chinatown just west of the Sule Pagoda. So of course, we had to try their food as well and we had Tea & Chicken Bao. Chicken Bao’s are steamed stuffed buns, but opened like a taco shell, cradling a chicken patty in its center. They make a great on-the-go snack.
We then had Tea & Chicken Bao just around a giant tree surrounded by a circular ledge. The Chicken Bao’s or Bao Zi are similar to our siopao. My friend, Estrella, explained that this is their version of a coffee shop in Myanmar. They go to a tea place just to sit around and hang out and talk. I enjoyed sitting around the ledge under the tree’s canopy of leaves with a cup of Chase. Chase is their strong coffee, but usually you’ll see a lot of people in Myanmar with just plain tea as a personal preference. This part really felt like an authentic experience into everyday Myanmar
Along the way, we also saw someone selling silk worms. I was curious. I’ve seen vendors in Bangkok selling silk worms but for making scarves and all, but here, they were frying it and selling it as food. The price depended on the size of the silk worm. Even if this bit wasn’t part of the tour, Matthew tried one, and invited us to try it as well. I’m not an exotic food person, so I didn’t try one. The Australian guy, Ken, who was also in our tour, even ordered more! I’ll take his word for it that it must have been good then.
- After that, we had Chicken & Pork Rib Soup, a broth of chicken and pork ribs with fresh vegetables, herbs and a dash of spices. Taking a sip from this hot bowl of soup energized and soothed me at the same time after a day of eating delicious food and walking around.
- We ended the tour with beer & skewers on 19th Street, a popular local night haunt. It reminded me of Khao San Road in Thailand, but you should definitely consider dropping by when you’re here. The street can get quite busy though so expect a lot of people. Be sure to try their delicious barbecue and Myanmar beer to cap off a busy day of touring around yummy Yangon.
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