A Little Burmese Food… Vegetarian Survival Guide to Burmese Cuisine in Myanmar

Last updated on September 29, 2023

I grew up on crossover foods in the U.S.—American versions of a country’s most famous dishes. These foods provided “exotic” dinners for my taste buds back then, but a decade of long-term travel taught me the real thing is so delightfully better. Thai food tasted better when I lived in Chiang Mai, and the Middle Eastern vegetarian foods I sampled throughout Jordan offered sensational flavors. But what about cuisines that never made the leap across oceans and seas?

It wasn’t until my nine months in Northern Thailand that I happened upon delicious vegetarian Burmese foods. Who knew traditional Burmese cuisine while traveling in Myanmar would have so much to offer vegetarians?

A family-style burmese food buffet lunch in Bagan
A family style buffet lunch at the Golden Myanmar restaurant in Bagan (recommended for both vegans and vegetarians!).

Once discovered, dishes and flavors from Myanmar are my passion, and Burmese friends ensured that I spent my time sampling delicious dishes, salads, and flavor combinations my palate had never before considered.

I loved Burmese foods so much that I booked a trip to Myanmar, and my Burmese friends prepped me with advice on how to order vegetarian food in Myanmar; what to eat in Yangon, Inle Lake, and other places; and how to find local safe street eats.

How to Survive Myanmar as a Vegetarian

A Burmese woman makes a tofu salad to order on the steps to one of Bagan's many temples.
A Burmese woman makes a tofu salad to order on the steps to one of Bagan’s many temples.

Actually finding vegetarian Burmese food in Myanmar proved trickier than eating in nearby Thailand because of language differences, sanitation standards, and regional variances. My first three questions when traveling to a new place include:

  • Are there inherently vegetarian dishes in the national cuisine? Yes! Burmese cuisine offers beautiful fresh salads and a couple of bean dishes you can count on as vegetarian.
  • Can I eat the fresh fruits and veggies without risking contamination from the water used to clean the food? Yes and no. Sanitation standards have improved in recent years, meaning at restaurants many fresh salads, tomatoes, and other easily-contaminated vegetables are safe. That said, eating uncooked fruit and vegetables that lack an outer layer you can peel away (think bananas and oranges) do pose a risk in Myanmar.
  • Is vegetarianism understood and accepted? It is accepted as an extension of the country’s large Buddhist population, given that some monks and locals partake in monthly rituals where they abstain from meat (and a few non-meat items). Outside of this, however, fish and soup broths and other things of this nature are not widely acknowledged as nonvegetarian.

Can I emphasize again how wonderful it was to sample the street food stalls throughout Myanmar? The Burmese were friendly and fun throughout every meal, and my niece Ana and I felt immersed in the culture as we packed onto tiny plastic stools, crouched over our dishes, and ate among the locals. This is where our best conversations happened.

We would watch what other people ordered, flock to the crowded street food stalls, and enjoy the accidental orders when what we got didn’t measure up to what we expected (in fact, there are still at least three or four meals I ate for which I have no name, nor any idea how to re-order it!). Ana ate veg for a lot of our travels (by choice), but meat options abound. If you’re traveling Myanmar with a meat-eating friend, check out these general food guides here and here.

Free Chinese tea on the table at our street-side table
Free Chinese tea on the table at our street-side table
Ana chows down on the street food in Nyaung Shwe on Inle Lake, Burma (Myanmar).
Ana chows down on the street food in Nyaung Shwe on Inle Lake, Burma (Myanmar).

In this guide, we’ll cover all the major areas of Burmese cuisine I managed to hunt down and find while traveling in the Myanmar. I’ll also include a thorough guide on not only how to say vegetarian, but how to communicate the concept of vegetarianism in the local language, and some other quick tips to familiarize you with the food culture in Myanmar.

For the food lists, you can quickly jump to any of the sections:

How do you say vegetarian in Burmese?

Thut thut luh.  

Or, for another phonetic writing of it: thouq thouq lo. And some say this is closer “theq theq lo.

The guidebook used another long-winded expression for vegetarian (something for “I cannot eat meat), but “thut thut luh” translates as “lifeless,” and when used with food it is understood with absolute clarity and applies to all meat.

This phrase is easy to say, but hard to put the sounds into the Roman alphabet, so have your first guesthouse teach you once you arrive. Note that I never got served meat when I said it, and even in this list of dishes, always order the dish, then specify “thut thut luh” to make sure that they do not add in fish sauce, shrimp paste, etc.

Also note that this is not a guarantee on the shrimp paste/fish sauce; it really can depend on how well the cook understands Western vegetarianism. I will say this: I never tasted it in the dish, so if it was there it was very light. My philosophy on eating vegetarian while traveling is to do the best I can, but not to ruin my travel experience by refusing to eat foods that could have traces of fish products since it is so prevalent in Asia. If you’re vegan, this should generally work for much of your travels as well since dairy is not prevalent in the region, but note that the phase doesn’t exclude eggs, honey, or things of that nature from your Burmese dishes.

The Simple Rules of Eating Burmese Food

Before we get to the photo breakdown and descriptions of delicious vegetarian Burmese dishes, here are some things any travelers in Myanma should know before going, not just vegetarians!

  • Breakfast and lunch are the big meals of the day. Follow the local custom and eat food earlier in the day, when the food is freshest.
  • Hot, fresh street food is safest (even better if it has a long queue!).
  • Tap water is not safe, but the large jugs of water in front of many businesses are a unique Burmese kindness and are safe, free, and encouraged if you need a glass; they place the water curbside to help people stay hydrated in the often extreme heat!
  • State your case upfront about being vegetarian; they will smile, laugh, and easily acquiesce once they understand.
  • Rice is the base of most/many meals. Except for in the case of soups, you’ll be served rice with almost every meal.
  • Venture out for breakfast. Nearly every guesthouse in Myanmar serves boring eggs and white bread for breakfast—the locals are eating a lot better than that if you venture to the street stalls! (And their breakfast is vegetarian!)
  • The tea on your table is free. It’s usually a fairly bland/weak Chinese tea and it’s a safe way to hydrate since it’s served hot and sealed inside the tea canisters (be sure your cup is dry though when you start pour the tea).

We’re ready to get started with the best Burmese vegetarian food! As a disclaimer: I’m not Burmese, so these descriptions and dishes are given to the best of my ability. I did consult extensively with a Burmese friend, and her input shaped this post. Once you’re in Myanmar, you can sample and discover many dishes that I no-doubt missed on my trip.

Burmese Vegetarian Soups

Soup is a wonderful and usually very safe meal throughout Asia because they boil ingredients just before serving the soup piping hot. If your soup is luke-warm, particularly if you are eating at an off time of the day, consider a pass (but pay for it if it’s at your table) and find a boiling-hot soup option.

Shan Tofu Soup (Tohu Nuway)

shan tofu soup tophu nway burmese food
A traditional Shan soup, severed in the morning, but also throughout the day, at Inle Lake, Myanmar (Burma).

I listed this dish first for a reason, I have a full-on obsession with shan tofu soup. The name is a bit misleading, because although it is made with tofu from the Shan region of Burma, the tofu is actually the thick, yellow ingredient in this dish. Ground yellow peas (or chickpeas) are ground and kept liquidy and warm throughout the day.

When ordered, they flash boil thin noodles, add the liquid tohu and top with the cook’s favorite toppings, including: smashed nuts, sesame seeds, parsley, cabbage, and a huge dose of ground, crunchy chili paste (unless you ask for it not spicy, then it will still come with chili, just not as much :)

I love this dish so much I took several visiting travelers to taste it at the Friday morning market in Chiang Mai.

Fish soup (Mohinga)

(Flavorful but only for pescetarians, which I am not, but I tasted a bit of my niece’s just to understand the flavor of this beloved dish!)

mohinga fish soup is traditional burmese food
Mohinga, pretty much the National dish of Myanmar, this is a mild fish soup seasoned differently each time, with crunchy additions, thin noodles, and dried fish chunks occasionally added. Not vegetarian, but one for the pescatarians to try. This is often served at bus-stop restaurants and late at night road-side stops!

I consider myself a flexitarian, so I wet my mouth with this soup several times throughout our time in Burma from my niece’s dish. Although it’s a common breakfast food, she also ate it all throughout the day at bus stop food stalls. It’s not much to look at, but it is full of flavor and spices. It’s also a great warming dish if you’re traveling up in the cooler north!

Mild Tomato Noodle Soup (Shan Khao Sw, Kau Suetho)

Shan Khao Suethoy is another classic burmese food dish
A soupy Shan khao swe in Hpa-an.

Noodles, basic tomato paste, some crunchy fried beans fritters, and hot broth made this Ana’s favorite breakfast. We ate this daily in Hpa-an. At its most basic, it’s tomato sauce and pork, so make sure you order it “thut thut luh” to get a vegetarian version!

It’s often a bit drier when ordered elsewhere in Myanmar, and tastes different once again when ordered in Shan State, but the beaming vendor next door to the Soe Brothers Guesthouse in Hpa-an sold us on this delicious dish for breakfast; I think his conversation and tips went just as far as the soup in starting our day out on the right foot!

Where: The small restaurant with chairs on the street-side counter that is just next door to the Soe Brothers Guesthouse in Hpa-An (which is where you should stay if you visit, although also consider that Soe Brothers 2 is not in the same location but a bit nicer!).

Vegetable Hotpot (Myae Oh Myi Shae)

Hotpot in Yangon, Burma is easy to find burmese food
Bubbling and boil hotpot dish on the streets of Yangon stuffed with veggies, bamboo hearts, mushroom and tofu!

Hotpot food stalls lined the streets of Yangon in particular, so when we were hungry we would simply walk up to these, point at the delicious veggies and spices, say “thut thut luh,” then they served a tasty steaming hot bowl of tofu, noodles, and fresh vegetables. Expat Kyle noted that: “Myae Oh” is the clay pot and “Myi Shae” is the name of the curry/sauce. And a Burmese reader emailed in to tell me that this is a popular Chinese-inspired street food dish.

Where: All over the streets of Yangon we found long tables with a family working the small fires with bubbling bowls of hot soup and vegetable. They will not assume that you want a vegetarian version of this Burmese dish, so you absolutely must specify!

Best Burmese Salads for Vegetarians

This is the part of Burmese food that delights the most. The flavors in vegetarian Burmese salads that I sampled across Myanmar are quite unlike the lettuce/leafy salads common in the west. Instead, these salads blend a range of veggies, nuts, and flavors. They combine unique textures, and then hold it all together with oils, tamarind juice, lime, fried garlic, and nutty dressings.

Food handling standards are still questionable at times, so this is where it gets trickier to eat safely (since locals may wash fresh veggies in local tap water, or mix the dish with bare hands on the streets). I paid attention to where locals ate, mostly chose salads when at restaurants, and generally lucked out with no one in our group getting massively ill even once).

Note that the Burmese word for salad is something along the lines of: thote, thoke, or thouq when written in the Roman alphabet

Burmese Tea Leaf Salad (Laphet Thote)

Lepheto, Tea Leaf Salad was my favorite burmese food
A delicious fermented tea leaf salad mixed with tomatoes, ginger, crunchy mung beans, fried garlic, toasted peas, and various other ingredients to flavor!

This is a top five favorite for me and for good reason—it’s spectacular. And it’s reliably vegetarian food no matter where you travel in Myanmar. The base of the dish is fermented tea leaves, which are a very, very strong and unfamiliar flavor at first. But local cooks make the strong flavor more mild with the addition of nuts, cabbage, tomato, oils, and various other bits and bots (mung beans, ginger, sesame, bean sprouts, and green tomatoes, among other things, have been known to make an appearance in various iterations of this dish).

If there is a crossover item that you may have sampled from Burmese cuisine, it’s probably this one! Of note is the fact that tea leaves are very high in caffeine, so choose wisely the time of day you consume it! Also, if you want to try it at home, I found a great recipe online.

Where: All over the country. Try it at restaurants and if it’s not on the menu, simply ask because there’s a good chance that it’s on the Burmese version of the menu. :-)

Pennywort Salad (Myin Kwa Yuet Thote)

A delicious pennywort salad. I never managed a good shot of it since I was usually too busy inhaling it to grab a proper photo! Ingredients vary but include onions, pennywort, nuts, and oily dressing.

Tart and delicious, my palate delighted at the new combination of flavors in Pennyworth salad. The dish combines the bright green pennywort plant, lime, toasted sesame, turmeric oil, garlic, tomato … the list goes on, once again, according to local flavor preference.

This was one of my favorite vegetarian salads in all of Myanmar—please seek it out and give it a taste. If you haven’t tried pennywort before (and I certainly hadn’t thought of it as any more than a weed in my garden) then you owe yourself a taste! Check out this recipe to try and make one at home.

Shan Tofu Salad (Tohu Thote)

shan tofu salad is not super common, but delicious burmese food
Shan tofu salad in Nyaung Shwe, near Inle Lake in the Shan region of Burma. A delicious yellow tofu, sliced and complimented with cabbage, nutty sauce, and spicy chili paste.

Think of this as an inverted tohu nway Shan soup. It’s the same yellow tofu, but instead of liquid and soupy, the chickpea-tofu sets firm, and is then sliced and garnished with cabbage, spicy chili paste, pickled veggies, and nuts/seeds/parsley. Really anything the local cook prefers is an accent flavor. This dish is reliably served vegetarian and vegan no matter where in Myanmar you sample it.

A Burmese reader emailed into give this context to the dish: “In Shan state, shan khao swe and tofu nway are usually eaten in the morning as breakfast. Tofu thote is eaten around noon, but only as snack, not as lunch. Even though I grew up in Shan state, I’m still amazed by how Shan people prepare their meals. They use some unknown leaves from big trees.”

Where: Inle Lake is the Shan region of Myanmar so this is where you can most easily find the dish. Ana and I also hunted down several Shan restaurants near the ET Hotel in Mandalay.

Ginger Salad (Gyin Thote)

A tasty treat, but not one for which I have a photo. Imagine it much like the rest of the vegetarian and vegan salads in Myanmar, it’s shredded ginger and the ingredients added to it depend on the region and your cook’s taste buds! If you’re keen to try this one at home, here’s a tasty sounding Burmese ginger salad recipe.

Tomato Salad (Karyanchintheet Thote)

Tomato salad Inle Lake, Burma (Myanmar).
A huge plate of tomato salad is great for adding fresh flavor to a dish of rice.

I have a love affair with tomatoes, it goes back about a decade (before that we were fierce enemies) and now we’ll never part ways. For that reason, I adore this reliably vegetarian and vegan Burmese dish. It usually consists of tomatoes, onions, crunchy peanuts, sesame, and oily dressing of some sort. And that’s it.

This Burmese dish is so good with a bowl full of rice and worked well as a compliment to many of the warm foods I tried.

Seaweed Salad (Japwint Thote)

Seaweed salad from Burma is a tasty burmese dish
A tangy seaweed salad with a bit of a crunch from the lightly cooked seaweed.

This was, admittedly, not my favorite. Though I was on the fence when I first tried it, by the end of my time in Myanmar I appreciated the tart, tangy salad as a compliment to the rest of my food. Give it a try since it’s a favorite of the Burmese friend we traveled with for a week.

I’m told it’s trickier to find, but we sampled this throughout central Myanmar, in both Bagan and Inle Lake—like many of the salads on this list, it’s reliably vegetarian and vegan no matter where you travel in Myanmar.

Fermented Bean Paste (Pone Yay Gyi)

ground bean paste has a strong flavor and complements other burmese dishes
A ground bean and onion paste with a very potent flavor; it’s delicious mixed in with your rice and other dishes!

Pone Yay Gyi is a bit regional. You can definitely find this dish in the Bagan area. It’s a thick, salty dish made from fermented soy beans usually. It’s a delicious condiment to sample with other dishes, or mix into your rice for an extra jolt of flavor.

This Burmese food is reliably vegetarian and vegan no matter where you travel in Myanmar—it’s also a great way to ensure you’re getting protein.

Best Vegetarian Burmese Dinner Dishes

Myanmar is blessed with a huge range of cultural influences based on its history and location. The Chinese influence is strong in the northern border regions, and many dishes and customs flowed into the rest of Myanmar.

This is the case with Indian food and culture as well. Yangon is a haven for Indian food lovers, Mandalay as well, and small restaurants and influences can even be found in small towns all over the country.

Then, beyond these influences from other countries, Myanmar is home to a range of ethnic minority groups with their own customs, language, and foods. In short, this list of foods is so long because the country is rich with flavors and international cuisine influences.

Stir-Fried Chinese Noodles

Stir-Fried Chinese noodles
Stir-fried Chinese noodles: basic but tasty and an easy vegetarian dish when the menu tended toward the meaty.

Pretty standard fare in the tourist spots, we ordered this as a good filler that was tasty, filled with veggies, and pleasing to both the kiddos (Ana and I traveled with a Burmese friend of mine and her daughter while we were in Bagan and Inle Lake). Not inherently vegetarian—you must specify.

Noodles, Made to Order with Wide Range of Ingredients

Shan noodle dish Myanmar
Delicious Shan food at a street stall near Nyaung Shwe, on Inle Lake, Burma (Myanmar).

Noodles are a staple in the Myanmar diet, right under rice as the main source of food. The Burmese severed us boiled noodles, fried noodles, noodles in salads, noodles with crunchy toppings. In short, noodles abound and the toppings and varieties about. This one is particularly tasty with fried garlic, sesame, and other seasonings. They could include most anything as a topping, so specify you’re vegetarian or vegan.

Street-Side Chapati and Dhal

chapati in mandalay
A too-hot-to-hold fresh chapati served with dhal from a street stand in Mandalay.

I converted Ana to what I hope will be a lifetime affair with Indian food after our travels in Burma. Mandalay was the best spot for a our street-side chapati stands. For about 20 cents we were able to get one piping hot chapati and one small dish of Indian food; on offer were: curries, dhal, vegetable, and a potato dish. We’d pick out six and go to town enjoying the flavors and fresh chapati bread.

Go to town with chapati and dhal as the Indian community understands vegetarianism and this is reliably safe (for vegans too) all across Myanmar. The dhal and Indian flavors also offer a nice change after since there aren’t always a ton of hot Burmese foods to sample.

Where: No doubt the best chapati street foods we tasted was at a stand almost directly across from the ET Hotel (29A 83rd, Between 23-24) in Mandalay.

Indian Thali, Dosa, and Biryani

indian dosa yangon
A freshly made Indian dosa with warm dahl and a cool coconut paste in Yangon at the New Delhi Restaurant.

Indian restaurants and options abound throughout Myanmar and they have the wide range of typical fare. There were dozens of restaurants in Yangon and an unlimited vegetarian thali ran about US $2 most places—with veg biryani, restaurants, dosas, and just about anything else you love also available on the menu.

We found the best Indian food in Yangon and Mandalay, which is really no surprise since these are the two major cities. And it works out since some of the major other tourists spots you’ll likely hit have other regional vegetarian and vegan delights.

Where: New Delhi Restaurant (262, Anawrahta St) in Yangon. Thinking we would outsmart the guidebook, we asked a lot of locals for the best Indian restaurant, and they all pointed to this touristy (but so cheap) hot-spot. Down about 10 doors is a fantastic biryani restaurant as well with vegetarian biryani (though they run out by mid-afternoon!).

Snacks, Fried Foods, and In-Between Meals

The Burmese like to snack from what I could tell! There was a huge range of deep-fried, pan-fried, and street-side snacks available all throughout the day. From the simple sweet or savory pancakes on the streets of Yangon, to the more complex  flavors in samosas, we never lacked for food options.

Deep Fried Veggies and Beans

deep fried veggies
Deep fried veggies are served with breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even just a snack.

These deep-fried snacks were offered with nearly every meal and were frying on the side of the road throughout the evening. The bean ones were my favorites actually, and look out for deep-fried yellow tofu at the same stalls, it abounds throughout Myanmar! No meat is sneaking in here, these are reliably vegetarian and vegan no matter where you travel in Myanmar.

Sweet or Savory Fried Dough (Paleada/Palata/Parata)

fried dough
Order this one as you’d like it. We most often ate them with banana, though they are just as tasty if you opt for sugar, or even the savory one with beans!

Stands serving these have a range of options and pointing can work well. This is an Indian-inspired dish that resembles the roti stands evidenced throughout other places in Southeast Asia, but has more options. Ana and her friend Emma campaigned for one of these sweet treats each night, and though not the healthiest dessert on the planet, we loaded our dessert with bananas and everyone in the group enjoyed a few slices.

The savory one, “Beq palata” stuffed with beans and fried up was a tasty dinner and makes a good option for any picky eaters (which we weren’t but Ana wanted a change-up from the soups and salads one night!).

Note that you can also order “jet oo palata” (eggs with palata) and “[name of any ingredient] parata” according to Expat Kyle! :)

Like some of the other snacks mentioned, this is a good one since you can customize the ingredients with eggs or beans, and you watch it made to order, so you know it’s going to come out perfectly vegetarian or vegan.

Where: The night market in Nyaung Shwe (Inle Lake) had a wonderful stand, fast service and all the Shan soup stands are just next door! These are also served at most tea shops if you ask!

Beans and Red Rice (Kauk Nyin Paung)

Rice and beans
Never served to me when I was on my own, this was actually the Burmese breakfast served at our hotel (Westerners got eggs by default!).

I doubt I ever would have found this simple vegetarian breakfast dish if my Burmese friend wasn’t with me. She was served Kauk Nyin Paung  for breakfast one day, while Ana and I were served yet another helping of eggs. Her’s looked a lot tastier, so from that point on, when possible, we opted for this dish! And as a bonus, our friend spotted a vendor from our early morning bus too; once we knew the dish was out there, we were able to pay closer attention and find it on our own!

A Burmese reader emailed in to tell me: “Beans and black Rice (Kauk Nyin Paung) is eaten as breakfast in Shan state. People in Mandalay also eats this in morning. It is usually steamed with a special cooker in Shan state, while the Bamar people seem to cook it just like the normal rice. Steamed glutinous black rice has firmer texture, while the cooked one is soft. Shan people would consider the soft one not good, me too. Kauk Nyin Paung can be prepared with white glutinous rice too.”

Tea Leaf Salad (Laphet Thote)

Lapheto Burmese tea leaf salad
The Burmese tea leaf salad, served with fermented tea leaves, fried mung beans and other various crunchy nuts and seeds, and ginger.

Not to be confused with the actual salad that comes out mixed together, this one has just three ingredients and is served as a snack/dessert, not a full part of the meal. The fermented tea leaves are very tart and strong, so mix to taste with the other ingredients when it’s served to you this way! This is it’s reliably vegetarian and vegan.

Sour Plums

sour plums yangon
A vendor relaxes with the paper, knowing the sour plum fans will seek him out when they’re ready for a mid-morning treat!

These very, very sour plums bake out in the sun and heat, so opt for them early in the day if you’re keen to sample (for health safety reasons). The flavor is a bit more potent than I can handle, but they’re quite popular with the locals! The flavor is so strong that this is more of a fun treat than something you will likely fill up on while traveling Myanmar.

Fried Other Things

Indian samosas abound in Yangon and make a great vegetarian food there. Deep fried donut-sticks were particularly easy to hunt down in Mandalay. Basically, when the craving for something deep-fried struck, there was no shortage of fried vegetarian offerings on the streets in the big cities. Of course, some fried offerings have meat—so always ask!

Sweet and Tasty Burmese Treats

My wicked sweet tooth was beyond happy with the quick sweet options. I love portion control and that was easy in Myanmar since they opt for a small bite of jaggery candy, or a bowl of sweet jelly rather than a huge piece of pie/cake/ice cream like we would in the west! And when all else fails, find the fruit!

Sugarcane and Jaggery Candies Chunks

A street-side stall selling sugarcane sweetened balls of candy. The purple ones are flavored with Sour Plum in the Bagan region of Burma.
A street-side stall selling sugarcane sweetened balls of candy. The purple ones are flavored with Sour Plum in the Bagan region of Burma.
Jaggery candies on the table at a restaurant in the Bagan region of Myanmar.

Where can you find these treats? Look for roadside stands and little jars on your table with light brown solid chunks. Then sample away, like the Chinese tea, they’re free if they’re on the table! Also, I found a home compound making the sweet sugarcane treats outside of Inle Lake, so keep your eyes on the lookout!

Sugarcane Juice with Lime

Sugarcane juice with lime
A popular treat all over, the pressed sugarcane juice with lime is sweet and refreshing, but be careful if it’s served with ice; choose a popular stand with clean ice storage!

Sugarcane juice is available all over the streets of Yangon—and throughout much of the country, really. The vendor feeds sugarcane stalks through the juicing contraption, and Burma’s version of the juice comes with a generous squeeze of lime! Be warned though, this is a street treat, so avoid the ice and choose a vendor with a generally clean machine and stall!

Jellied Sweets and Coconut Milk

I’m a big fan of dessert in general, but I steer well clear of all jellied desserts. These are a hard pass for me. But they’re popular all over Asia, and are served chopped, shredded, or cubed—then with ice, coconut milk, tapioca, or a variety of other sweet concoctions layered on top. You don’t lack on options if you like this style of dessert!

Plentiful Fruit

fruit in yangon
Young boys sell watermelon on the streets of Yangon’s Chinatown.

Like most of Southeast Asia, Myanmar has a huge supply of fresh fruit on every corner and it’s the healthiest way to end a meal. Ana and I stocked up on bananas and clementines before a bus ride and snacked on yellow watermelon for a fun spin on a familiar treat! Fresh avocado is also fantastic in the Inle Lake region.

Tips to Survive Eating Burmese Food

To use a trite expression, I could wax poetic all day about the delicious food I ate in Myanmar. Thank you to the my Burmese friend for her tips, advice, and guidance. She proved invaluable at helping me better understand Burmese food culture before, and on the ground throughout my trip to Myanmar with my niece. Without her translating and introducing me to some of these dishes, I would have blindly passed through regions of Myanmar oblivious to some of the best local flavors, foods, and customs.

street food yangon
A street food vendor right on the sidewalks and in the midst of Yangon’s busy foot and car traffic! He’d doing it all right: clean work surface, 10 minute wait he’s so busy, and fresh and piping hot treats made-to-order.

Being vegetarian means that I am sometimes much more conservative on my food choices than meat eaters, out of fear mostly. But that’s silly to some extent. Yes, there is sometimes a huge language gap in Myanmar. That gap is sometimes scary, but once I was armed with my term “thut thut luh” I felt pretty confident to tackle the menu with a bit more gusto than I might usually. And it paid off.

Best Burmese Foods (Table)

Need a cheat sheet of what to eat and where? Here are popular Burmese dishes, and where you should be sure to sample them.

Best Vegetarian-Friendly Burmese Dishes

FoodDescriptionRegion to Try
Laphet Thohk (Tea Leaf Salad)A salad made with fermented tea leaves, tomatoes, roasted peanuts, and sesame seeds, and flavored with garlic oil, fish sauce, and lime juice.Nationwide/Mandalay
Shan NoodlesRice noodles served with a savory sauce traditionally made with chicken, pork or beef, but can be prepared with vegetables—all sautéed with garlic oil, and chili flakes.Shan State
Pennywort SaladA salad made with pennywort leaves, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and chili, dressed with a tangy tamarind dressing.Yangon
Ginger SaladA salad made with julienned ginger, roasted peanuts, tomatoes, onions, and a variety of crispy fried beans, dressed with a sweet and sour dressing made from tamarind, lime juice, and fish sauce.Mandalay
Pae KyawAlso known as Myanmar chickpea tofu fritters, this is made from chickpea flour mixed with water and various spices, such as turmeric and cumin. The fritters are usually served as a snack or side dish with a dipping sauce made from chili, vinegar, and garlic.Yangon/Mandalay
Tomato SaladA salad made with sliced tomatoes, onions, and fresh coriander, dressed with lime juice, salt, and chili flakes.Nationwide
Shan-style Tofu NoodlesRice noodles served with tofu made from chickpea flour and a variety of vegetables, topped with a savory sauce and garnished with fried garlic, chili flakes, and coriander.Shan State
Myae Oh Myi ShaeA spicy and tangy noodle soup made with rice noodles, chicken, and a flavorful broth made from a blend of spices, including chili, garlic, and ginger. It is often garnished with boiled eggs, bean sprouts, and fresh lime wedges. You’re not likely going to get a vegetarian broth, but you can ask for no meat.Yangon
Pone Yay GyiA traditional Burmese dish made with fermented soybeans, garlic, and chili, and usually served with steamed rice. It has a pungent and savory flavor and is often garnished with fresh coriander and sliced onions.Bagan
Japwint ThoteA refreshing salad made with lightly blanched seaweed, onions, and tomatoes, dressed with a tangy lime and chili dressing. It is often garnished with toasted sesame seeds and roasted peanuts.Rakhine State/Nationwide
Kauk Nyin PaungA traditional Burmese breakfast or snack made from glutinous rice mixed with various nuts, seeds, and coconut flakes, which are then scooped or pressed into a cake and served at room temperature. It is usually served with a sweet and savory dipping sauce made from tamarind pulp, garlic, and palm sugar.Nationwide/Shan State
Palm JuiceA refreshing drink made by tapping the sap from palm trees and serving it fresh or fermented. It has a sweet, slightly tangy taste and is often served with ice.Nationwide
Green TeaMyanmar is known for its high-quality green tea, which is grown in the hills of Shan State. It has a light, floral flavor and is often served with snacks or after meals.Shan State

Traditional Burmese Dishes with Meat

If you’re traveling with a meat eater, here are a few dishes that should be on their radar:

FoodDescriptionRegion to Try
MohingaThis fish and noodle soup dish is the national dish of Myanmar. The broth is made with fish paste and a variety of spices, and served with rice noodles, fish, and crispy toppings like fritters and hard-boiled eggs. It’s a no-go for strict vegetarians, but it’s the national dish, so if anyone feeling flexible should take a sip.Nationwide
Ohn No Khao SweA coconut-based chicken noodle soup dish with a rich and creamy sauce, served with boiled eggs, fried noodles, and a variety of condiments.Nationwide
Kyay OhA rice noodle soup dish with a pork or beef-based broth, served with pork or beef slices and garnished with coriander, garlic oil, and chili.Yangon
Htamin ThokeA salad made with cold rice mixed with a variety of ingredients such as fried onions, roasted peanuts, and dried shrimp, dressed with fish sauce and lime juice.Nationwide
Mandalay Mee ShayA dish made with thick wheat noodles in a rich meat-based broth, topped with slices of pork, chicken, or beef, and garnished with various condiments.Mandalay

Best Burmese Desserts and Sweets

FoodDescriptionRegion to Try
Mont Lone Yay PawA type of sweet snack made from glutinous rice flour, coconut milk, and palm sugar, and steamed in banana leaves.Nationwide
Sanwin MakinA traditional Burmese dessert made with semolina flour, coconut milk, and sugar, which are combined and then steamed in small cups. Once cooked, the cups are turned over and the cakes are served with a drizzle of sweet syrup made from jaggery, a type of palm sugar.Nationwide/Festivals
Kyauk KyawA jelly-like dessert made from agar agar, a type of seaweed, that is flavored with coconut milk and sugar. It is often cut into small squares and served chilled as a refreshing dessert on hot days. Nationwide
JaggeryA traditional sweetener made from the sap of palm trees or sugarcane juice, which is boiled until it becomes thick and viscous. It has a rich, caramel-like flavor and is often used in Burmese desserts and sweets, or served in chunks on the table.Nationwide
Sugarcane JuiceA refreshing drink made by pressing the juice from sugarcane stalks, which are then mixed with a splash of lime juice and served over ice. It has a sweet, grassy flavor and is a popular drink throughout Myanmar, especially in the summer months.Nationwide

Enjoy the dishes, and let me know what I missed so I can keep a running tally of the vegetarian Burmese foods I still need to try! (And so others can try them too). If I got something wrong, please let me know and I’ll correct it!

Planning Your Myanmar Travel

How to Plan the Trip

My guide to backpacking Southeast Asia provides and entire section of planning travel in Myanmar, and if you’re traveling through Thailand, I have an entire free guide with advice gleaned from my more than year of living there. Myanmar is also a country that changes quickly, so online guides usually have the latest information for pre-trip planning. Once you’re on the ground though, the internet infrastructure is still lacking in many ways, so use the Lonely Planet print guide to best navigate.

Make Responsible Travel Choices

Despite the U.S. lifting of sanctions in 2011/2012, Myanmar is plagued by human rights issues. Please, please read up on these before you leave and ensure you understand how to travel better—travel in a way that your money supports local people. This is a completely download on how to travel responsibly in Myanmar.

Staying Healthy

When I entered Myanmar with plans to stay for a month, I had no idea I had picked up a diarrheal illness in Laos. Turned out, Myanmar did not even sell the only medicine that would have treated it, so I was left downing oral rehydration salts every day to combat it until I could get treatment in Thailand. Had this been more serious, I would have needed a medical evacuation. For that reason, I highly recommend using travel insurance for the duration of any trip to Myanmar. Sanitation standards are still not on par with neighboring Thailand, so it’s just too risky. I recommend IMG Global (here’s why). And I also shared essential tips for not getting sick on vacation.

Bests Reading on Food & Culture

There is no denying I am a big fan of Burmese food. It’s also surprisingly easy to bring home some of the best flavors. These cookbooks best capture the flavors of Myanmar; and the cultural reading in the books helps better understand the relationship between Burma’s food, history, and politics.

Books About Burmese Food

  • Vegetarian Mohinga recipe: Traditional mohinga contains fish, but this vegetarian version is absolutely delightful. A family recipe shared by Cho Chaw, who is also the author of hsa*ba Burmese cookbook.
  • Burma: Rivers of Flavor: A beautiful cookbook that not only explores the delicious foods of Burma, but the culture as well. I met Naomi, a James Beard award-winning author, on my travels in the region. She has a wonderful perspective on how food and culture meet and used that to infuse recipes, stories, food, and culture into one gorgeous book.
  • Flavors of Burma: Cuisine and Culture from the land of Golden Pagodas: Another helpful cookbook that details recipes, as well as dining and serving customs, language, and festivals.

Books About Burmese Culture

Essential Route Planning Resources:

Yes, you need travel insurance.
IMG Global is the travel insurance I’ve used for well over a decade of traveling solo, and with kids. Here’s why.

🛏️ Find great accommodation.

Agoda is essentially the only hotel booking site that I use in the region as it has the widest and most affordable selection in Southeast Asia. (And for those unfamiliar, it’s part of the Booking.com family). It has a wide and affordable selection of traditional hotels, but also hostels and vacation rentals, too. Use these pro tips to find the best travel accommodation.

Get Your Guide: Find a collection of the best locally run tours in one spot—you can assess the options, read reviews, and book directly through this trusted platform.

📍Navigate more effectively.
Rome2Rio is super handy to assess the full range of transport options between two cities—it shows everything from flights to trains, buses, minibuses, and more. If you’re booking a rental car, I’ve always found the best deals on RentalCars.com.

✈️ Book affordable flights.
Expedia and Skyscanner are the first places I look for low-cost flights.

🧳 Smart packing can save your trip.
Shop my favorite travel gear, including all of the packing essentials for traveling, gear to keep you safe in Southeast Asia, my favorite travel books, and more.

📖 Read up on any off-the-path activities.
Travelfish is among my go-to resources for anything in Southeast Asia. It’s updated far more often than print guidebooks and has extensive local insight and a fairly active forum, too. If you head off-the-path, this should be the first place you check for tips, transport advice, etc.

Peruse all of my tips for round the world travel, or learn how to move and live abroad.

83 thoughts on “A Little Burmese Food… Vegetarian Survival Guide to Burmese Cuisine in Myanmar”

  1. Finding vegetarian food can be a bit difficult, especially in Myanmar but we are sure this blog will be helpful to many! Corriander Leaf is a chain of vegetarian Indian restaurants in Yangon worth checking out!

  2. Having had a wonderful trip in Myanmar, I came back with assorted bags of crunchy toppings and was a bit unsure what was served with which!! Many thanks for helping to identify in which dishes I can incorporate them!!

  3. Yum! We have more to try, we would like that vegetarian hot pot. One thing we particularly noticed that I didn’t see mentioned was that the papaya seemed extra good.

    • The hotpot is tasty and worth seeking out! Did you find a specific papaya dish that I missed? Otherwise I agree, the raw fruits and veg in the country are just incredibly flavorful and worth sampling. :)

  4. such a fantastic post.

    made good use of it prior to my initial visit to myanmar a couple years back. now i find myself refreshing my memory and salivating at a return visit this month!

    thanks, shannon

  5. this is a spectacular post!

    i’m headed to myanmar next month as a veggie and cannot wait. much appreciation for all your myanmar info, but especially this; my appetite has been thoroughly whetted!

    hope all is well

    • Aw yay! So glad that it was helpful, and I hope that you have a fantastic trip, Myanmar has long been one of my favorite places.

  6. Oh my.. i grew up in Australia but my parents were from Burma and then I lived there for two years in the mid 90s. Looking at your post made me miss living there so much!! Apart from all my wonderful friends.. I miss the food so much and my stomach is craving anything on your list right now!! I have lived in Cambodia since leaving Yangon and don’t nearly enjoy the street food as much as in Mynamar.. ! Thank you for this wonderful culinary trip you just sent me on .. now just to visit there again one day! But the biggest problem visiting was that we would go back and our relatives would feed us so much all the time that we were never hungry enough to really enjoy everything.. quite a dilemma!! Would love to go back to live there again.

    • Hi Sharyn! So glad that the post reminded you of your happy memories in Burma! I haven’t been there in a few years, but this January I have the chance to return and I can’t wait. The flavors of Burmese street food and signature dishes are just so unique. I can’t wait to return myself. Like you, I found Cambodian food lacking, I hope you can perhaps find a good Burmese restaurant in your town. :)

      • Great you get to go back soon.. Look for something called Pear Bpyo (sorry I can’t transliterate very well).. it is a soybean product.. kind of fermented.. they sell it up near Inle area in little dried cakes which they do lots of things with – it is a salty, strong flavour – very tasty – usually eaten with rice .. but can be prepared many different ways .. I had some local vegetarian friends and this was a staple in their house.

        Chim baung is another one – a sour green leaf made into fried curry dish or a soupy curry.. possibly often with fish.. maybe hard to find eating out though.

        Then another dish is the Ohn-no cow-swear (sorry! that is spelt funny).. a soupy coconut noodle dish usually with chicken .. you should have seen it.. but if there is somewhere that does a vege version (which my mum does at home and my friends there).. it is really delish. I should ask my friend if there are any places which sell a vege kind..

        Oh enjoy your trip!!

        • Thank you for the wonderful recs! I haven’t yet tried any of those dishes, so I will hunt them down when I am in the country. They look delicious and I am always game to try to foods. :)

          • sorry the pear bpyo is the dahl like curry they serve with the naan for breakfast at tea shops..

            the soy bean stuff i was talking about is called pear bo.. and the dried cake things are for cooking.. so not sure how where they would sell it already cooked up.. but check around if you go up to inle area.

          • Ah, OK, thanks for the clarification. I might do some homestays in that region, so I will ask my hosts too! See if they could prepare it if I go find and buy the ingredients. :)

    • It’s really tasty food! Some of the most unique vegetarian food I have tried. My reasons are a bit of everything. I never enjoyed eating most meat as a kid. I don’t agree with factory farming practices. We don’t need nearly the amount of meat the food industry claims is healthy. Although I think that meat can be eaten ethically, since I can’t quite stomach the process of watching an animal slaughtered — even gently — I don’t think I should eat them. I am pretty moderate on my views, I don’t shame other people for their food choices but do the best I can to support food practices that I believe are healthy for me, my family, and the environment. :)

  7. This actually helped me even though I live in Burma , haha. Anyways, THANK YOU! I can add more of these dishes into my meals as I am planning on going straight on to being a vegetarian :) hope you enjoyed your stay in Burma :D

    • I am so glad it’s helpful Chole! It wasn’t the easiest thing to do, going vegetarian there, but if you are lenient on the fish sauce thing then you can eat really well without too much stress. Good luck! I do hope to make it back there one day soon. :)

  8. Thanks a bunch for this post! I’ve been in Burma for a week and I’m glad that now I can expand my restaurant vocabulary past the word “lephet tho” and “jezu” :)

  9. So glad you enjoyed the food post! I miss the Burmese food all the time and can’t wait to return one day. Best of luck with your book and site!

  10. Hi Shannon, this post is so good! Congratulations!

    I have tried all of them and I’m in love with this country and food! Amazing!

    I have just finish an eBook – 11 Dishes from Myanmar you Have to Try – and I am currently working on a photobook about Myanmar People, Food and Culture :)



  11. Hi Shannon, a big thanks for this guide, I’m about to go to Myanmar 7th of Jan, and this really helped me, going as a vegan :). Now just to get the pronunciation right!

    • You’re welcome! And have a wonderful time. It’s going to be really tricky to find dishes that strictly adhere, but ask your first guesthouse to help you on pronunciation and you’ll be in the clear. The Shan tophu nuay is delicious, so make sure you hunt that down if you’re in the Inle Lake region. :)

  12. Hey, Shanon there are 2 types of laphet thoke. the one with the veggies and without veggies.Laphet thoke with veggies serve casually.Without the veggies serve occationally (formal), for example,traditional ceremony. But anyway there’s no rules for that, you can eat just the way you like.

    • Yes! Good point, I usually recieved the one without veggies as a little extra at a restaurant when we were waiting for food, not sure if that’s the norm, but I love it both ways! :)

    • Yes! Good point, I usually recieved the one without veggies as a little extra at a restaurant when we were waiting for food, not sure if that’s the norm, but I love it both ways! :)

  13. I’m not at all a vegetarian – closer to paleo – but these pictures look delish! If I hadn’t just had a snack I would be starving. :)

    • Hehe. Every time I think of the post I get a bit hungry — glad it looked tempting, I’m on a mission to inspire people to eat more veggies :::cue my evil laugh:::: ;-)

  14. Shannon, this is an inspiring and comprehensive post.  Although everything looks worthy of trying I must admit I’d like to try the fermented bean paste (pone yay gyi).

    • It’s excellent! The flavor is sooo strong, so it tastes delicious added to rice and with some of the other ones! :)

  15. What an awesome list and set of photos Shannon!  I don’t think we tried even half of what you’ve got here while we were in Burma. I guess that means we’ve got to hit some of these dishes up on a second go-around.  Thanks for a great write-up, and also for some really great travel tips on your blog!

    • I was lucky Marvin that I had a Burmese friend with me, otherwise I wouldn’t have tried even half of these! Glad you have some new ones to add to your next visit, hope you both are well! :)

  16. Thanks a lot for compiling this huge list Shannon. It is definitely going to be very helpful for vegetarians travelling to Myanmar.

    • Glad it’s helpful! The food was delicious, so I hope all vegetarians traveling there get a chance to taste some of the dishes  :)

    • Thanks Amar! It can be really tricky, but all the various ways to say “vegetarian” is one of the first things I learn before i go to a new place! :)

  17. The food looks absolutely amazing! My boyfriend and i are starting out 2 year backpacking trip in Japan in September and traveling through Asia before migrating over to Europe. I am particularly excited for Burma as it seems to be one of the few countries left in Asia that hasn’t been exploited by tourists yet. I also love to cook (I have a food blog – http://avocadopesto.wordpress.com) so I am especially excited for all the food and hopefully will be able to learn some recipes/cooking techniques while we’re over there ! 

    • Good luck on the final planning stages of your trip! Two years will be quite the adventure, and Asia is a wonderful place to start — you will have plenty of recipes for your blog! Good luck and safe travels :)

  18. The food looks absolutely amazing! My boyfriend and i are starting out 2 year backpacking trip in Japan in September and traveling through Asia before migrating over to Europe. I am particularly excited for Burma as it seems to be one of the few countries left in Asia that hasn’t been exploited by tourists yet. 

  19. Wow, this is a pretty awesome guide to the food!  I am not a huge fan of vegetarian food but this looks delicious.  I love the fruit as well.  I am trying to work more veggie options and healthy foods into my diet so these really do look good.  I am not sure when I will have the chance to try Burmese food but now I want to! :)

    • Thanks Jeremy! I think the biggest problem with veggie food in the US is that it’s regular food but then substituted to make it veggie. But in SEA, the food is actually crafted with the flavors in mind — and delicious! As for places, I hear there is a good Burmese restaurant in San Francisco next time you’re in the city :)

  20. Fantastic blog yet again Sharon, though I must be partial when I say that no other country beats India when it comes to pure unadulterated veggie cuisines. 

    I often wonder though….how come most vegetarians-regardless of race, nationalities and cultures- tend to be women? Honestly, I’d reckon out of every 10 vegetarians out there, 8 are women!!!

    • It’s a fair point Rishi, I know a lot of men claim they can’t get enough protein to feel good when they eat vegetarian, but I think the real root of the issue is because so few vegetarians eat really well, instead of bulking up on fresh veggies and alternative foods like quinoa, lentils, and that sort ot hing, they just stick with adding more crap to their diet like chips, sweets, and fake meats. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort to cook well, man, it can be tasty to go vege!! :)

  21. Fantastic article Shannon! 

    Even though I do eat everything (meat and seafood included), honestly, I think some of absolute best Burmese dishes happen to be vegetarian. I just couldn’t get enough gyin thote and lahpet thote when I visited. Love the dishes you highlighted, your photos and descriptions. Great guide!

    • Thanks Mark! I couldn’t agree more about the tea leaf and ginger — it was SO unique and flavorful, and I had also come from Thailand, so it was fun to have some new flavor combinations to try out! Cheers and happy eating  :-)

  22. I know what you mean about crossover foods.  I feel like that’s all I eat (In America)!  My sister is a vegetarian and it’s really helpful to find blogs like this, given that sometimes we have no idea if there will or won’t be veggie options. Thanks for sharing! 

    • Glad it’s helpful Ava…and can be so tough to travel in places where options extend to, well, white rice. I honestly thought I might run into that issue in Burma (like I had in China) but I was delightfully surprised by the options. If you make it to Burma, no doubt your sister will love it! :)

  23. Best post about food in Myanmar, yet!

    For food taxonomy purposes to help you the next time you come (or anyone else who will use this):

    – Seaweed salad is “Japwint Thoke” in Burmese.  It’s not actually seaweed (even though that’s what the menus say).  It’s some sort of freshwater plant that no one can figure out the name for.

    – Vegitable hotpot is “Myae Oh Myi Shae”; “Myae Oh” is the clay pot and “Myi Shae” is the name of the curry/sauce.

    – The dough is “parata / palata” and is at most tea shops.  A “Beq Parata” is awesome…beans with parata bread.  There’s also “jet oo parata” (eggs with parata) and “[name of any ingredient] parata” :)

    Lastly as a word of caution, if you say “theq theq lo” it usually just means that they won’t add meat to it.  It doesn’t necessarily mean that there isn’t fish paste / animal stock in it.  But, they’ll usually get the idea.

    I think I’m going to eat some tohoo nooway tonight; even though I had it last night.  It’s just so yummy.

    • YOU ROCK KYLE! Thanks for weighing in and adding some of the names, I put them in the post along with your tips on the dish. Hope your tohoo was tasty, there are twinges of jealousy creeping up in me right now at the thought. I really appreciate your feedback, it was quite a task to find the names and descriptions since there is so little information about Burmese food on the internets :)

  24. Mmm, looks tasty! I’m not vegetarian anymore but I still love a good vegetarian meal (most of the time, if possible). I really want to eat that Shan Tofu soup!

    • I highly recommend the soup, and even if you can’t make it to Burma if you’re ever in Thailand let me know and I can give you some tips for hunting it down! :)

  25. Wow!  Look at all that food!  Okay…I will be printing off this guide when I travel there…thank you!  :-)  Also, isn’t it funny that it that the translation is “lifeless”, when in fact so many vegetables HAVE life, but dead meat doesn’t?! Just found it slightly amusing…

    • Do you have plans to head to Burma any time soon?  Also, agreed on the term “lifeless,” doesn’t do justice to the nutrients and life inside of the veggies! :)

    • Hope you got a good lunch Lindsey, now I’m hungry just thinking of the veg food! Hope you’re having a great day :)

  26. These all look delicious! One of my favourite things to do in SE Asia is to try all the different street foods and local dishes. Sounds like I will love Burma

    • You will be in heaven in Burma becuase the foods are so different from what you find in Thailand, Malaysia, etc. It was a lot of fun to see how different dishes had integrated into the culture, and sample all of the new flavors! Hope you get over there soon! :)

  27. wow – great pictures. didnt know burmese vegetarian food was so varied and so unique.

    my hsband is allergic to sesame and fish and nuts, which makes eating this kind of food difficult, i wonder if its possible to eat some of these dishes unaltered with still avoiding those elements…

    • That’s really tough if he’s allergic to all three of those ingredients…I would suggest pictorial cards with the images on them. And if you go to restaurants, rather than all street stalls, it could be no issue. The street stalls often cook everything in a single pan, but for things like the soup, you could point to the different jars as they prepare it and indicate which ones you don’t want. As long as it’s not life-threatening allergies, you could get by pretty well I think (and carry an epi-pen through SEA if they are life-threatening). Also, ask your first hotel to write it down for you in Burmese script, and that can help!  Good luck  :)

  28. Thank you Shannon! I have offically added Burma to my travel list because of the food! It looks & sounds so amazing. I do have a question…the term you used to have vegetarian food, how is it pronounced phonetically? I always mix up vowel sounds in other languages and it would be helpful to know the sounds a bit better. Thanks.

    • Hi Eeva! Glad I’ve inspired you to visit, it’s has been such a highlight on my travels. As for vegetarian, it’s tricky, and I am far from an expert but: 

      Thut – kinda close to the English word “tote” like to tote a bag around., but with the o sound a bit more like an “uh”

      luh – like “low” as in the ceiling is low. But again, a bit more of an “uh”.

      That is likely hardly doing it justice, but your hotel your first day will likely break it down for you very happily!  Safe travels! :)

  29. Looks amazing! I have never had Burmese food before but this has inspired me to try it (as well as put Myanmar on my “to visit” list!) I would have to say the one that looks tastiest to me was the tea leaf salad (lephet thote) – those tea leaves are intriguing me!

    • Glad it’s inspired you EM! It can be tricky to find, but I know a handful of the major North American cities have Burmese restaurants (like NYC and San Francisco), so I hope you are able to try it soon…and good call on the tea leaf salad, it’s one of the most famous of the dishes, and so, so unique :)

  30. Looks soooo delicious! As a veggie traveller too, I know how challenging it can be to find vegetarian food on the road. I think I know the word for vegetarian in at least 10 different languages :).  Thanks for this!

    • Yay for a fellow veggie traveler! It’s funny, I forget so much of the tidbits of languages I learn along the way, but I use the “vegetarian” one so much they are pretty ingrained in my memory!    :)

  31. Oh my goodness, what a fabulous resource. I’m determined to make it to Burma sooner or later and I’ll definitely be consulting your veggie eating guide when the day comes. Thanks!

    • I’ll cross my fingers for you that you can make it there soon! The country is so beautiful, and changing quickly with the new reforms and that such…plus you get some tasty foodie delights! :)


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