Backpacking through Myanmar, I made it a mission to find as many delicious, hopefully non-fried meals under $2 as I could. While this is won’t be any extensive catalog, here are a few highlights in different places that’ll fill the belly without breaking the bank.
Great food, great variety, great prices. A collection of smaller stations that you pay at individually for a whole slew of options. It’s an easy walk from the Shwedagon Pagoda for that after-sunset dinner you’ve been waiting two hours for.
999 Shan Noodle Shop
Clean, perfectly fine, and in the center of downtown. The staff can be a bit dismissive because of the place’s popularity, but other than that it’s a pretty good bowl of noodles and salad at a decent price.
Arguably the best meal I’ve had in Myanmar. The food was fresh, delicious, and the prices were fair. The service left a bit to be desired but it was well worth it.
Right by the New Bagan Hotel (which I recommend if you can grab a dorm room for $10). The green curry was delicious, though the beef itself was questionable as to be expected. Other salads and soups were solid all around.
For how many tourists frequent the spot, the food was good and the prices were very fair, especially given there aren’t too many other options for budget eaters in New Bagan.
Would give this place its own article if I could. Between two of us we split a veggie curry, noodles, fried tofu, and a tomato salad and paid 8,000 kyat total. Each dish was delicious and they claim it’s all cooked in healthy oil (which is a first). The room was air conditioned and the service was top notch. On a backpacker budget you can eat like a king without feeling bad, so this place is definitely fighting for that number one spot.
Mohinga (the traditional Myanmar fish breakfast soup concoction) is everywhere. The best bowl I had in the country, though, was served to me by the master of the trade herself. Surrounded by every ingredient, our mohingerator (not a real phrase), looked like the abuela I never had and fed me until I was stuffed for a whopping 400 kyat. With no name to give you, the best I can offer is a map suggestion below. You’ll know her if you see her though.
Sprouting Seeds Cafe and Bakery
This one is a bit of a bonus. I’m normally one to avoid western foods (and prices) while traveling, but after learning that the cafe employs locals from a nearby orphanage and takes part in a great amount of community service, I was happy to pay more than I ever would for a baked good. And it was delicious.
Nyaungshwe (Inle Lake)
Innlay Hut Indian Food
One of the better Indian restaurants I had in Myanmar, with prices to match. As an added bonus, the manager had bumped Eminem the entire time and plans to open his own spot soon, the Slim Shady Family Restaurant, so keep an eye out.
Sin Yaw Restaurant
I figured a place this close to the main road and covered in colorful lights would be touristy and lower quality, but it was the opposite. The Shan noodles were great, especially at 1800 kyat, and the service was excellent.
Solid shakes by any standard, though they were missing a few ingredients on the list (papaya, avocado, and another). Fried dumplings were a surprisingly great pairing, though there aren’t many meals that fried dumplings wouldn’t enhance.