Burmese cuisine is typically a fascinating combination of various dishes from other regions across Southeast Asia. The favourable geographical position of Burma has allowed for influenced from its surrounding nations to become prevalent in its own dietary culture. Seafood is one thing that is used frequently in Burmese cooking, fish is used extensively, especially as a sauce. The use of fish is much more common in the coastal regions and further inland, inhabitants tend to prefer poultry and meat products. Salads, called thoke in the Burmese language, are also widely used in Burmese dishes, especially in fast food options in the cities.
When it comes to the customs of Burmese meal times, they are a selection of things that are usually considered standard. Meals are usually eaten at a low table whilst sat on a bamboo mat and all dishes will be simultaneously served. The oldest people at the table will always be served first out of respect and a typical meal will consist of steamed rice as a main with several accompanying fish, vegetables and other treats.
During a Burmese meal time, the food will be eaten with the right hand or where necessary, chopsticks and spoons. The presence of knives and forks is a rarity but many will provide them for guests. It is also rare to have a drink served with a Burmese meal and instead everyone will drink from a communal bowl of broth.
Meal times in Burma are a particularly social event and typically the whole family will sit down and eat together. These meals usually take place once in the morning and once again before it becomes dark and after each sitting water and fruit will be consumed.
If you’re travelling through Burma then be sure to sample as much of the local cuisine as you can as you’re sure to find something to tempt your taste buds. Even better, if you get invited to dine with a local family then you can truly experience the customs of this incredible country!