When people think of Asian cuisine, Burmese cuisine would rarely be top-of-mind.
Myanmar (formerly Burma) has been closed off from the rest of the world for decades. And while it has opened its doors in recent years, it’s still not getting as much tourists as its neighboring countries. It’s probably one of the reasons why Burmese cuisine is still not that popular.
In the first few hours of arriving in the country, my friends and I sat down at a restaurant. We thought the menu was pretty straightforward. You just have to choose a curry set (choice of chicken, pork, beef, fish, mutton, or venison meat), and that’s it.
But when our orders arrived, it came with bowls of soup, a plethora of side dishes, and a huge plate of fresh vegetables with dipping sauce. Needless to say, we were overwhelmed.
And did I mention they served unlimited rice and even free dessert? Now, that’s bang for your buck.
Honestly, I was a bit worried about food before coming to Myanmar. One, because I don’t eat vegetables, and two, I don’t like hot and spicy food. But Burmese curry, albeit oily, just had the right heat and spiciness for me.
When it comes to salads, Myanmar has a unique take on it.
Their salads can contain tea leaves, rice, noodles, and fish paste among others. Also, the ingredients vary per state and/or season.
On our way to Taung Kalat Monastery (Mt. Popa), we stopped by a roadside stall where they showed us how they make palm sugar candy and palm liquor. We were even served tea and Laphet Thoke.
Laphet Thoke is probably the most popular salad in Burmese cuisine. It consists of pickled tea leaves with a dash of oil, served with crispy peas and beans, fried garlic, and roasted peanuts.
This is like a party in your mouth. It’s sweet and sour with a slight bitter taste then there’s the soft texture of the tea leaves and the crunchiness of the peas/beans.
Obviously, there’s still so much that we haven’t tried. I guess we’ll have to save it for another trip.
If you’re a foodie, I highly encourage you to visit Myanmar. You won’t regret it.
This is my entry to Agoda Partners’ Write & Win Contest.