When you arrive in Myanmar, you will notice and see many tea shops with small low tables and chairs everywhere. This is part of Myanmar culture. It was influenced by Indian culture and British culture. If you are interested in people and way of their life, you should definitely visit those places and exchange the culture. I would like to recommend to visit tea shops in the morning time from 7:00 am to 9:00 am. It is the best time to meet people and busiest time for tea shops.
Most of Myanmar people enjoy having breakfast at the tea shop nowadays. It is the kind of place for business place or office for some people. They meet their clients at the teashop for business discussion. Some people hang out with their friends, discuss politics, read newspaper, and of course gossip about the other. Some people come to teashop during night time to watch football match and action movies with their friends. They can argue and do gambling which team will be winner.
You will see there one more interesting thing there. When people call their waiter, they call him or her with kissing sound “shu shu’’. We do not say “Excuse me” or “Hello” to call the waiter over, we just make the “shu shu’’ sound to them and they come over. It’s a bit odd for westerners, but normal here. You can try it when you go to tea shop. We drink plain tea or black tea (green tea). As soon as you sit down on the chair, the waiter will bring hot green tea pot and cups as complementary service for you. Then you can order tea and some snacks to eat together.
Top 5 Dishes to Try in Myanmar Tea Shops
Samosa (Indian Snack)
As you might know, our country is between China and India. Of course, their culture and food are a strong influence in Myanmar. Samosa is a fried and crispy Indian appetizer. It is a triangular shaped fried snack and originally from northern india. It is usually filled with vegetables such as potatoes, cabbage, onion, and peas with Indian masala spice. It is very popular snack and street food in Myanmar. You should definitely try a Burmese samosa!
E Kyar Kway (Chinese Doughnut)
This is another popular and favorite breakfast food for Myanmar people that comes from China. We usually dipped E kyar kway in our tea and eat it. If you order Chinese Doughnut at the shop, local people or waiter will not understand what you are saying and will look at you in strange. So you have to pronounce “E kyar kway”. So go for it!
Pa-la-ta (Roti Canai) Prata
It is called Roti in Indian language. But we pronounced “Pa-la-ta’’ in Myanmar. There are different kinds of palata in Myanmar. Sugar Palata and Boiled Pea Palata are the most popular and favorite food for Myanmar People. Some people also like Palata and chicken curry. It is not available at some tea shops. It is served when we celebrate and hold “new born baby birthday or house-warming party”. Don’t miss it when you go to tea shop!
Nan-byar and Pae (Nann served with steamed beans)
It is typical breakfast for Myanmar people. Around 4:00 AM in Yangon, the sellers start going in and out of streets and shouting out loud (Pea Pyote and Nan Byar). There is another reason why it is so popular food for Myanmar people. It is because of our hero, General Aung San. He wrote a love letter to his wife to prepare breakfast which is nann with steamed beans for him. He was very kind and very romantic in his letter. It still popular until now. If you visit General Aung San museum in Yangon, you will see food demonstration and his original handwriting at his house. So you should definitely try that food also.
Pauk-si or Baozi (Chinese steamed buns or Chinese baoxi)
Pauk-si, it is another well known breakfast in Myanmar and available most of the tea shops. It is usually filled with meat or vegetables. Myanmar people prefer pork and chicken pauk-si. In the countryside, some sellers make coconut pauk-si, bean pauk-si and sugar pauk-si. If you do not like and Indian style breakfast, this is another good choice for you.