Burmese food is a blend of Chinese, Indian and Mon influences. Rice is at the core of most Burmese food, and good vegetarian food is widely available. Burmese food is often extremely pungent. Food is inexpensive at most restaurants costing from 500 to 3000 per item at most local restaurants, but can go as high as 8000 at posh restaurants, but there are many upscale restaurants in Yangon and Mandalay for upmarket food.

Keep in mind that the vast majority of low-to-middle class restaurants use a cheap blend of palm oil as cooking oil. This oil may be unhealthy, and common roadside restaurants should be avoided if you are at the slightest risk for hypertension, heart disease, or other fat- or cholesterol-related conditions. Higher class restaurants may use peanut oil instead.

What to eat

Because the Burmese cuisine is a medley of many regional influences, it has many characteristics. Seafood is more common along the coastline, while preserved meats are more common in inland areas. Many Indian, Chinese, and Shan dishes are served throughout the country. Some dishes to try are:

Mohinga pronounced mo-HIN-ga is a dish of rice vermicelli with fish gravyorange in colour and is usually accompanied by corriander and with chilli powder the Burmese eat chilli. Its taste can range from sweet to spicy, and is usually eaten during breakfast. It is considered by many to be the national dish of Myanmar, and is widely available throughout the country, albeit in slightly different styles in different regions.

Onnokauswe pronounced oun-NO-kao-sui is a dish of thicker noodles in a thick soup of coconut milk added with chicken. It is often served with a variety of condiments accompanying it ranging from fried fruit fritters to solidified duck blood. "Khao Soi"means noodle in Burmese often found on the streets of Chiang Mai, Thailand is derived from this Burmese counterpart. It is also comparable to the more spicier Laksa often found in Peninsular South East Asian countries like Malaysia and Singapore.

Laphet thote pronounced la-peh THOU is a salad of fermented tea leaves and a variety of nuts. It is commonly mixed with sliced lettuce, and is eaten with rice. The dish originally comes from Shan State.

Nan Gyi Thoke pronounced nan gyi thou is a special dish of rice noodle salad with chicken source. It is mostly eaten in middle part of Myanmar .

Shan food The Shan are an ethnic group who inhabit Shan State around Inle lake, near the Thai border. Their food is marvelous and spicy. It can be found in Yangon if you search.

Curry Myanma people have a very different definition of curry than other countries. It is very spicy compared to Indian and Thai options, and although you may find it served at room temperature in cheaper restaurants, in a typical Burmese home all curry dishes are served hot. The Burmese curry does not contain coconut milk, unlike its south-east Asian counterparts, and has a large quantity of onion. Myanmar is the highest per-capita consumer of onions in the world. Quite often Burmese curries are cooked with lots of oil, possibly due to a widely regarded notion in the country's culture that being able to afford cooking oilalong with rice and salt is considered a sign of wealth.

Where to eat

Black Canyon Coffee

Found in mandalay next to sedona hotel and in yangon next to international hotel offers air-conditioned dining and starbucks-style coffee for all those yearning for caffeine.