What to eat
The food in Myanmar is excellent, inspired as it is by flavours from China, India and Thailand. Do not miss the opportunity to taste local specialties while in Yangon. The most popular and well known Burmese dishes include:
mohinga, which is a fish based broth with rice noodles often dusted with crunchy deep fried scraps; tea leaf salad (Laphet Thokh), made from pickled tea leaves, roasted sesame seeds and peanuts, chopped tomatoes and other beans, and of course many varieties of curry with river fish curries being extremely popular.
When it comes to veggie options, popular vegetable dishes and skewers include morning glory, okra, grilled garlic, peppers and carrots amongst others – bizarrely we found ourselves eating a lot of cauliflower in Myanmar.
Traditional street food in Yangon includes everything from fried spring rolls and samosas, to boiled quails eggs and vegetables and meat skewers grilled fresh in front of you, whilst noodle dishes are also a popular choice.
Some of the best spots for finding great tasting street food are in Chinatown and the Downtown areas, this is where you’ll find the cheapest and tastiest street food. Downtown is central and can’t be missed – try Maha Bandula Road (19th street) for the best spots. Look for temporary stands set up on this and many streets as well as moving rickshaws offering a huge choice of dishes to try.
Note that hygiene standards in Yangon especially can be questionable so it is a good idea to go to places that are busy and look fairly clean to minimise your chances of getting sick! That said, street food is a definite must try in Yangon.
Burmese & International food
Most restaurants at all ends of the spectrum will offer great quality traditional Burmese dishes for low prices – whilst you can expect international and Western food in particular to demand higher prices.
Cafe 365 in Ahlon Rd is a mid-range option and popular with hip locals. It does many traditional Burmese dishes and great Thai food, too.
For high-end international food Rangoon Teahouse (Ground Floor, 77-79 Pansodan Rd; Lower Middle Block) is an amazing spot. They serve cocktails and great Indian inspired dishes. Go for breakfast if you’re on a budget (like we did!) -–the decor is classy and stylish.
Coffee shops & cafés
The city also has a buzzing cafe scene, with many offering great hot and iced coffee as well as delicate and tasty patisserie for jus ta couple of dollars. Whilst the coffee may not be as good as nearby Vietnam, it’s still pretty good and constantly getting better as more travellers flock to the city and demand a slice of cafe culture on their trip.
A bit surprisingly, the best coffees in Yangon was waiting for us at Meringue Cafe (No. 30, Boyar Nyaunt Street, Dagon Township) – it is a tiny venue that also does smoothies and afternoon tea, whilst the rest of Boyar Nyaunt street also offers similar small cafes and eateries.
Skybar at Yangon International Hotel (330 Ahlone Road; Dagon Township) is the place where you’ll find beers and cocktails for only a couple of dollars, as well as great views across the city especially at sunset – it’s one of the cheapest sky bars we’ve been to.