Teashops are important and integral part of life in Myanmar. As a foreigner who first arrives to Myanmar, you will be surprised to see so many teashops in Yangon and everywhere in Myanmar. They are everywhere in every street. And there are always customers in every teashop. Nowhere in South-East Asia would you find such a large number of teashop. When I was young, there were not as many teashops as now. And the attitude of our parents at that time was that “sitting at a teashop” is a waste of time. We, me and my friends, were always told not to sit at a teashop. That was 15 years ago. Now, everything changed. Myanmar people use the word “sit at a teashop” because we really sit at a teashop for a very long time, sometimes even hours, after ordering just a cup of tea. The teashop may sell a few snacks. And there is always free flow of plain green tea. You can order as much plain tea as you like free of charge. So the main reason we sit at a teashop is just to sit, and chat. Well, there is more than just sit and chat Teashops are where friends meet each other, where business is done, where news and gossips are exchanged. You can meet people and hear latest gossips just by sitting at a teashop.
There are many styles of teashops in Myanmar. But the most popular one is the road side teashop, where the teashop is opened on a pavement on the side of the road. Small low tables are laid down on the pavement, and the customers sit on small stools. Usually, nice tea is served with a few snacks, and free flow of plain tea.
A new trend among city dwellers nowadays in Myanmar is to have your first meal of the day, that is your breakfast, at a tea shop. More and more people are having their breakfast at teashops nowadays. For that reason, many teashops serve not only a nice tea but a selection of breakfast ans snacks such as mohinga, coconut noodle, fried rice, samosa (a kind of Indian snack, spring roll and some other snacks.
If you really want to experience Burmese way of life, you should sit at a teashop and have new wonderful experience that you can never have in other parts of the world.
Photo Courtesy of Nice Kitty.