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A Short Guide to Burmese Cuisine

11th November 2014

Tourists have been flocking to Asia in recent years to try the delicious and sometimes unusual culinary delights which have become renowned around the world. Whether you enjoy an Asian style curry, one of the many deep fried snacks or a noodle-based dish - you can find it all in Burma; known today as Myanmar.

But with so many colours, smells and flavours; it can be difficult to know where to start. We've devised a list of the types of dishes and particular food items to keep an eye open for during your Burma river cruise.


Myanmar Curry

Burmese curries are generally mildly flavoured and full of spice. Often greasy, the curries are rather oily and usually contain beef or pork.

Order a curry in Burma and it will be accompanied with a seemingly endless series of vegetable based dishes and dips. The massaman curry is a traditional Burmese dish and is well worth a try.


Salads are very popular in Burmese cuisine and are packed full of vibrant and exciting flavours including papaya, lemon, tomato and ginger. One salad in particular worth trying is Laphet Thohk, or Tea leaf salad, which blends slightly bitter tea leaves with tomato, cabbage, nuts, garlic and peas to create a vibrant dish.

Burma is one of the only countries in the world where the people don't just drink tea but eat it too.


Myanmar Noodles

A dish known as Mohinga is one of the most popular Burmese noodle dishes available; mixing rice noodles with a fish based soup, a boiled egg, deep fried vegetables and lentil batter. In Myanmar, you'll find noodles in almost equal abundance to curry and there are many other noodle-based dishes worth trying.

Dishes of note include Khaosay Thote: noodles with chilli sauce, cloves of garlic and chillies; Shan-style 'tofu' noodles: rice noodles, chickpea porridge, pickled vegetables, marinated meat and chilli oil; and Nangyi Thoke: thick rice noodles, boiled egg, pickled vegetables, broth, slices of fish cake and chicken.

Meat and Fish

The smells and flavours you will experience in Burma are epitomised by the highly marinated fish and meat on display. Fish, chicken and even pork stuffed with mushrooms are cooked on a barbeque and packed full of flavour; but these can also be found in highly flavoured curries.

If you prefer to try something a little different to meat; there is deep fried tofu, stuffed with cabbage, chillies and sauce.

Deep Fried Street Food

Deep Fried Street Food

Burmese fried street food exerts Asian food culture and vibrancy and is available just about everywhere in Myanmar. It has become a strong part of Burmese culinary culture and you can try a range of items including deep fried shrimp, quails eggs, dough balls, pancakes mixed with peas and stranger items such as deep fried bat.


You will find a variety of flavoursome vegetables in Burma, with a lot of them featuring on the barbeque. Vegetables include okra, broccoli and mushrooms from the grill but you can also get fresh and crisp beansprouts, lettuce and gourd with a fish sauce.

You are also likely to find a variety of deep-fried vegetables available.

Sweet Foods

No meal is complete without something sweet to polish it off and there are a variety of different options worth trying during your trip along the Irrawaddy River. Avoiding sugar, the ingredients in Burmese sweet foods tend to include coconut, rice flour, sticky rice, tapioca and fruit.

One item, perhaps influenced by Britain, is semolina cake. This may not sound initially appetising but the Burmese creation - made from coconut, semolina and butter - is utterly delicious and will have you hooked after the first bite.

AmaWaterways provide two Myanmar based cruises: Golden Treasures of Myanmar and Hidden Wonders of Myanmar - both sailing from and returning to Yangon down the Ayeyarwady/Irrawaddy River. If you would like more information regarding these itineraries or you wish to book your Myanmar river cruise with GoRiverCruise please contact our team today.

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