When you visit Myanmar, you might want to try some Myanmar dishes. For most foreign visitors, this can be easily done at a local Myanmar restaurant. There are a number of restaurants in Yangon and all over the country, which offer delicious Myanmar cuisine. The only problem for a foreign visitor would be to find a nice and decent Myanmar restaurant, and what dish to order.
Most restaurants in Myanmar that sell Myanmar dishes are not intended for foreigners. Their main customers are local Myanmar people. Thus, they are usually unprepared for an occasional foreign customer who appears without prior warning. Most Myanmar restaurants don’t have menu. Even if they have one, one cannot expect to have a menu written in English. And even an English menu won’t have any meaning for a foreigner if it is not accompanied with a picture of dishes.
However, there is one very simple way to overcome this potential problem. Unlike European or Chinese cuisine, most Myanmar dishes are prepared in bulk, in big pots. They are usually displayed in front of the food counter. For a foreigner who doesn’t have any idea what Myanmar food look like or how to order one, just go to the food counter where they put all the dishes in big pots, and point to any dish that you want to try.
Although some Myanmar restaurants offer quite a variety of dishes, for most Myanmar restaurants, the choice of dishes available is limited. There is always chicken curry, fish curry (this is always fresh water fish as sea fish is not popular among Myanmar people because of its strong smell), pork curry, and egg curry. Some restaurants offer beef, although many people avoid eating beef in Myanmar. Mutton curry is available in some Myanmar restaurants. Frog may be offered seasonally. Soup is always offered together with any dish, and this is mostly free. There are always some vegetables put on the table, together with Myanmar traditional dish fish paste (nga-pi). But in some restaurants, choice of dishes may be more with some rare and exotic dishes like wild cat, rabbit or wild boar. However, this is quite rare, and usually not available in Yangon.
Now comes to the part of where to find a nice Myanmar restaurant. In Yangon, you can find many Myanmar restaurants all over the town although nice and decent Myanmar restaurants are not as many as Chinese restaurants. Most of the Myanmar restaurants are shops open on the road side or attached to a shop house next to the road. However, you can ask taxi drivers to bring you to a nice Myanmar restaurant. There are many famous Myanmar restaurants not far away from Shwedagon Pagoda. For a guide, ask a taxi driver to bring you to “Shwe Ba” Myanmar restaurant. It is the oldest and the most famous Myanmar restaurant in Yangon. Another Myanmar restaurant is “Feel”, which also caters for foreigners. It is also not far away from Shwe Dagon Pagoda.
In Myanmar restaurants, customers usually order one dish with rice. This cost usually 1,000 kyats to 1,500 kyats. You can also order more dishes. Each extra dish will cost from 500 to 1,000 kyats depending on the dish. Rice is usually unlimited.
There is now a new type of Myanmar restaurants where dishes are offered in buffet style. However, I found only one such restaurant in Yangon (haven’t tried yet) but there are a number of Myanmar buffet in Bagan.
Here are addresses of some of the Myanmar restaurants in Yangon
No. 124, Pyihtaungsu Ave., Dagon Township
Danu Byu Daw Saw Yee
No. 157/117, 29th Street, Pabaedan Township, Yangon.
No. 175/177, 29th Street, Pabedan Township, Yangon (these two addresses, I am not sure which one is correct)
96, Insein Rd, Kamayut, Yangon
13/15, Mahabawga Rood, Myaynigone, Yangon
Aung Thu Kha
17(A), West Shwegondine, Bahan Township
I don’t have the address of Shwe Ba Myanmar Restaurant.
If you want to have a nice evening dance show together with a traditional Myanmar food, head to Karaweik Palace Restaurant. Located in the Kandawgyi Park, the restaurant opens from 6 PM to 10 PM for buffet style dinner with Myanmar traditional dance shows. 2000 kyats per person.
Another high end Myanmar restaurant is Sandy Myanmar Restaurant. Located inside the Kandawgyi Palace Hotel (near Kandawgyi Lake), the restaurant serves nice Myanmar breakfast (although you can have a decent Myanmar breakfast at a cheaper price outside).
The lonely planet guide book on Myanmar (Burma) has a good guide to restaurants in Yangon, both budget and high end, as well as guide to eating in Yangon. Although the book is currently out of stock in most bookstores, you can still buy a copy of Myanmar (Burma) (Country Guide) from Lonely Planet at Amazon online.