Sunday, June 9, 2013

Food in Yangon

In Yangon downtown, eateries can be found in almost every street, serving food prepared in Chinese style, Indian style, and others, which we categorize them as Myanmar style. Food stalls are widely available too, taking up parts of the walkway around the city. As there are a big number of Chinese and Indian citizens in Yangon, Chinese and Indian cuisine are considered as local food. Western cuisine can be found in major hotels only, perhaps it is due to the lack of Western tourists.

If basil leaf is for Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, beef is for Hanoi, spicy and sour is for Bangkok, and gudeg is for Yogya, then oily and spicy is for Yangon. Most of the food served are either oily, spicy, or both. We like Yangon's spices, but the oil is a bit too much. So, during our stay in Yangon, we tried our very best to avoid taking oil from the dishes.

Talking about food in Yangon, for us, the major challenge lies in the menu, which most of them are written only in Burmese language. English menu are rare, but still not impossible to be found.

The food in Yangon downtown is not expensive. During our trip, we could get a dish in air-conditioned restaurants with the price 1800 Kyat to 3000 Kyat (900 Kyat = USD1 = RM3). At the stalls beside the street, the price for a bowl of noodle can be as cheap as 600 Kyat.

The food on the top of our list- "wat thap dot thoe" in local, or pork on a stick. It is widely available at the stalls beside the road, which can be identified by a big steaming hot pot with cooked pork and other parts of the pig, such as the intestine, ear, and tongue lined beside the pot.

Wat thap dot thoe is always served at the stalls beside the street. Different parts of the pig are stuck on sticks and boil-cooked in special soup. Taste good with the price, 200 Kyat per stick. This photo was taken at Chinatown.

We found this stall at Merchant Street, about 50 meters from our hotel at 38th Street on our third day in Yangon. The price offered was 60 - 120 Kyat per stick, much cheaper than the stall at Chinatown.

Photos showed different parts of the pig. Fresh garlics and chilies are served to be taking together with the boiled food.

Next, the fruit and the fruit juice. We like the fruit juice at Bogyoke Aung San Market very much. Highly concentrated and fresh. It was prepared without using a blender. Mango and banana are our favourites. These fresh fruits can be bought at the fruit stalls at the roadside. By the way, banana is served in our hotel as breakfast every morning.

The stall serving fruit juice at Bogyoke Aung San Market. It was full with customers during our visit.

Fruit stalls like these are scattered around downtown area. We can ask for a try before we buy the fruit.

A local dish that has been highly recommended by a few of our Myanmar friends- mot hnin khar (pronounce as moat-him-car). It is a bit similar to laksa in our country, with additional spices and lack in sourness. For us, it is a must try local dish in Yangon. We found a stall serving nice mot hnin khar at Anawratha Street, near the junction to 39th Street. We tried another local dish, khout swal thot (pronounce as cow-dart-tough) or the stir noodle at the same stall. The taste, good.

We tried khout swal thot (upper left) and mot hnin khar (upper right)at the stall by Anawratha Street (lower left). Small tables and chairs are prepared for the customers. The tea is served free, but you need to share the cups with other customers.

We took Chinese and Indian food as well, mostly served by the restaurants. These are the restaurants with good Chinese and Indian food:

1. Food House at the junction between Maha Bandula Street and Seikkan Thar Street. It is about 100 meters from our hotel at 38th Street. The owner could speak in simple English and Mandarin. 

2. Sun Flower Food and Drink at Bagalay Zay Street (near to Tony Tun Tun Shopping Center). Although we found that the menu was in English, the staff there couldn't speak in English. We communicated through body language.

3.  Nwe Moe Saung Restaurant at MGW Center, Bo Aung Kyat Street (next to 40th Street). The staff could speak in English. The restaurant was very clean.

Food House was the restaurant where we took our first lunch in Yangon (upper row). Although the restaurant was air conditioned, a few customers were still smoking in the restaurant. Anyway, there was no rule saying people couldn't smoke in air conditioned room. The food served was good. We tried a few dishes, including the chicken with yellow rice (lower left) and the chicken with vegetable.

First lunch in Yangon.

The dishes we took at Nwe Moe Saung- curry fish, curry chicken, vegetables, and Myanmar salad (a mixture of raw and boiled vegetables and fruits).

Another type of Myanmar salad. The sauce is a bit too hot for us.

We tried several types of food sold at the street, including the fried sweet roll, sugar cane juice, and barbecue chicken and mutton. The sugar cane juice in Yangon is less sweet compared to what we have in Malaysia. It looks murkier as well. The juice was produced using hand-powered squeezing machine. We tried the barbecue food and sweet rolls at Chinatown night market. The taste, not very good.

We saw this hand-powered sugar cane squeezing machine in front of Central Fire Station nearby Sule Pagoda (upper left). Different types of noodles are available (upper right). The barbecue food (lower left) and fried delicacies are available too.

We have stayed in Yangon for three days only, and of course have much yet to try. We welcome recommendation from our friends and readers. Perhaps, we can put them in our next trip.

We would like to share a good video on Youtube regarding the food in Yangon here. We will share our experience about the people, accommodation, transportation, and more in our next post- getting around Yangon.


  1. Dr wong, i never expect i am reading your blog while searching for Yangon's information :-) thank you very much... Your blog is very informative. I am your colleague A3-F18 :-)

  2. Hi sir and madam, your blog is so helpful to people going to yangon. may i ask where can change RM to Kyat in KL? thank u