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Sep 25, 2008 04:22 PM

Myanmar/Burma recommendations?

I will be traveling to Myanmar in December. Has anyone been? I would like food and travel recommendations. I eat anything, and LOVE markets....

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  1. Burma is really mixed in terms of food. I really like the Burmese tandoor oven cooked foods. Markets are good. Fried sparrows on a stick and rice field rats in the remote rainfed rice areas are really quite good as well.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

      Can't wait for the rice field rats! Thanks, but I hope someone comes up with something a little more concrete.

      1. re: Elchilango

        My work in Mynanmar was in remote areas where rice is grown -- both upland and rainfed lowland. Most of the places we ate at had no name, or if there was one, I couldn't read it. We were also in places so small that they don't appear on the maps. Overall, however, I really enjoyed the foods -- but a lot of street and no-name place stuff.

        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

          Been there, done that as far as the rat and field song bird eating. It was many years ago in northeastern Thailand. Everyone came up from Bangkok to harvest the rice, that is all except my wife and I came from the US. It was hard work, bending over with a sickle all day. We threshed the rice against a board after placing the rice in a stack near the field hut. The rice was later taken to a mill to grind the husks off. The songbird was very sweet and dripping with fat from the barbecuing. The rat was good also. Let me emphasize, the rats to be eaten come from the fields far away from human habitation, and subsist on mostly a rice and insect diet. The ones near houses are unclean. Rats and songbirds are ordinary foods in the countryside. People there eat them themselves and share their bounty with guests.

          1. re: jnsx

            In Cambodia, where I lived for 6 years, field rats are a valuable source of protein. Here is a pic I took in Battambang of frogs and rats, skinned and ready for the pan:


    2. Only been to the Mergui Archipelago and only had a few meals there. Lots of fish and shellfish, prepared very similarly to Thai food, as one might expect in that part of Myanmar. All I recall specifically from the main market in Mergui were the fried insects and smoked bats. Afraid I'm not as adventurous as Sam Fujisaka. I tried neither.

      3 Replies
      1. re: JoanN

        I've been to Burma a few times and really haven't had much memorable food. I think it's there, but I didn't find it.
        The tea salad thing is worth trying, but overall very oily.
        In Yangon I ended up eating Indian biriyani almost everyday. At a buck a meal it's more expensive than Burmese but well worth it.

        1. re: koknia

          Well, it sounds like I'm going to have to find out for myself. I guess no Michelin 3 stars are forthcoming from my fellow chowhounds.

          1. re: Elchilango

            Sam has it right. The best places are in out of the way areas and rarely have a sign, or menu, in English. I've been to Myanmar 5 times and there are very few restaurants that I'd return to. Most of the restaurants that cater to tourists are ordinary to poor.

            If you make it to Kalaw, try Seven Sisters. There are only a few restaurants in town. Everyone knows it.

            In Mandalay, there's a large outdoor BBQ restaurant (you grill it yourself) near where the Moustache Brothers perform. It has no English name, nor can I give you a better address. In fact I can't guaranty that it's still there, 2+ years since my last visit. You pick the meats and vegetables to grill yourself. Everything was very fresh. Excellent and friendly service despite the complete lack of English. We went twice and didn't see another foreigner in there, probably because it's not listed in any of the guidebooks.

            If you're going to be in Tachilek, I can give better directions to the one restaurant that's worthwhile.

        1. re: mainstreetgourmet

          Street stall Mohinga... perhaps the best breakfast in all of Asia...about 50 cents US per bowl and sold all over the country. Likewise the local 'curry's' are good and you get about 10 plates of side dishes with them... found everywhere. For 'real' restaurants in Yangon, Monsoon has a nice mix of fresh asian dishes. In Bagan the stalls around the Nyaung Oo market are good and the restaurant called 'The Beach' is a nice atmosphere for a few sunset beers (better than the super-touristy places like Sunset Gdn) and a great menu (esp the pork with water chestnuts) Mandalay- the BBQ places are great. Chapati corner is great people watching and cheap cheap indian food (yes, its in the guide books). Kalaw- I don't rate 7 Sisters, but Sam's is excellent- nice folks and dirt cheap. Ngapali- don't eat at the hotels, try the small restaurants on the back road. 3 of us had fresh seafood feasts there every night...with a few large beers the bill was still under $15 US. Inle Lake- out on the lake try the stuffed fish at Shwe Inn Thar restaurants. Back in Ngwe Shwang, Viewpoint is excellent and great presentation/atmosphere (same owner as La Plantuer). Enjoy!