What we Eat in Myanmar - Part 1

If you read my post about some of the various foods we have been offered over here you're probably wondering what the heck we actually eat over here? 

I'm actually surprised at the many foods the grocery stores here offer. When I moved to Korea I went into a food panic and would order an entire pizza for myself thinking I'd never see Western food again. To top that, we asked for black beans from people back home and received TWENTY SIX bags of black beans. It was epic and we were known as the black bean girls. If you are wondering who 'we' is you should just go read this fun post! 

Anyways, I'm really off topic but I did have a purpose in writing what I just did. When I went to Korea it was hard to figure out food but this time in Myanmar I haven't been as stressed about it. 

Cooking at home is still very very different than in the States but it is still really great. I love being in the kitchen. It's a place where I can wind down and relax. 

Today I'm sharing where we get groceries from. BUT before I do I have to tell you that my friend Pam helped me figure groceries out! She has lived here for 10 years and she took me to each of these places (including the grocery stores in Thailand) and showed me the good products verses the bad ones. She has had ten years of trying out products so I feel very very blessed that she passed on her knowledge to me. I'm positive that her help has saved me from crying many times over. 

Where we Get Groceries: 

1. The Market Across Our Street 

This market is where I get all the fresh fruit. Dave and I walk through here on a daily basis so we often pick something up to go along with our lunch for the day. I also love that I can sit on my balcony and scout out for good mangoes. =) I promise I'm going to post more about the market one of these days. It's on my to do list but I just feel weird walking around the market taking pictures of everyone and everything.

I'd like to say that even though the market has fresh fruit and although I am super super thankful for that market some days it's hard to even walk through there. Many times it is super crowded with people, you get a big whiff of the fermented fish paste, it can be grimy and I even saw a rat once which made me want to fall on the floor screaming with panic. BUT then I'd be on that floor. So I just kept walking, quickly.  

The best part about the market is interacting with the locals! They are so helpful and will help me get fruit that I can eat that same day or in a day or two. 

2. Sein Gay Har

That is the name of the grocery store directly below our condo. It is a real life saver. 

The grocery store is a local one and does not have a huge variety of western options. It does have milk, rice, bread, rice, eggs, rice, coffee, rice, paper products and other basic items. 

They also have a cute aisle full of tea cups. It's fun! 

I have looked at meat in this store and my eyes just get real big and I walk away. 

3. City Mart

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! 

My heart was so happy when I walked into this store. It is basically like an American & Asian grocery store! 

Here I can get chicken, ground beef, ground pork and other meats from a deli. It's really good quality. and I buy meat for 1 month a time. This grocery store is a ways away so I stock up when I can. 

The chicken here comes with the skin on it and sometimes the quills, which kind of grosses me out. Dave and I usually eat 8 chicken breasts for the whole month and I try to buy all the chicken at one time. I then take it home, wash it, cut it up, place it into ziploc bags and put it in the freezer. 

I was thinking "How in the world do we only eat 8 chicken breasts a month?" and I figured it out. I cut each chicken breast in half (they are large), dice it and that is meat for one meal. So I guess essentially we are each eating 1/4 of a chicken breast at a meal. That doesn't sound like a lot but we are satisfied. 

4. Thailand

Yep! You read that correctly! When I come to Thailand I buy some groceries. So far I have bought steel cut oats (sooo good!), cereal, bacon, cheese and a few other items. 

How do I get the bacon and cheese back to Myanmar? Well I freeze them in the little freezer at the hotel, stick it in my suitcase right when we leave and then throw it back into the freezer when I get back to Myanmar. The flight is only 45 minutes so food is only semi thawed when I get back. And frankly, if I bring bacon back I'm eating it! I don't care if it thawed and refroze a few times. 

That is a quick recap of where we get groceries from. It is a lot more work than in the US because we have to carry everything by foot or it all goes in a taxi. Really though, I'm just glad we have food options.

I'm hoping to share more pictures from the grocery store as well as some other foods we can purchase here. I think it is interesting so hopefully you will too.


  1. That market with fruit sounds lovely, well minus the whole rat thing. It is so great to have someone to show you some places to get food. It is amazing how comforting familiar food can be when your living abroad!

  2. In Malaysia, we love the wet market--at this point, my family has been there so long that the aunties and uncles selling fruit, veggies, chicken, pork, and eggs, are old family friends. It's very crowded, and as kids we used to stand and watch rats play in the gutters with great amusement--but I feel like home when I'm there! Where my family lives has changed a ton, since we first moved there--the market is still where they get all the fresh groceries, but now, new Western grocery stores have opened up and they can find all sorts of foods--even things like tortillas and BBQ sauce. They're still pricey so Western ingredients are still a splurge, but they're available.

    Where we live in China, the Western food selection is not nearly as wide as it is in my hometown in Malaysia, but they do have tortillas, which, in a way, is all you need (i'm no fan of bacon, but they have a lot of that). We shop mostly at Walmart for everything--there is a wet market, but it's a bit of a hike and we've found that fruit and veggie prices tend to be a little higher than they are at Walmart. Our home-cooked meals are a lot of fresh veggies and chicken and rice. We eat a lot of chicken though--that Angel has a big appetite for meat, I definitely couldn't get away with feeding him 1/4 of a chicken breast! :)

  3. I love getting to learn these things!

  4. Your black bean story makes me think of our hot chocolate story. While we were living in China my parents decided that they wanted to share hot chocolate with all of their students. So they asked churches and friends back home to mail us some hot chocolate packets... Oh my goodness, that was the first year we lived there and we were still making hot chocolate from those packets FOUR YEARS later! Haha! It's nice when people back home are generous and so thoughtful. :)

  5. It is amazing how food from home is comforting when abroad. In the States I rarely ever ever eat fried chicken and fake mashed potatoes BUT I just did eat that here about an hour ago. =)

    How is food where you live? Can you get lots of western stuff?

  6. Oh my goodness, yes! I remember seeing these big totes of hot chocolate where the contents only cost people a little bit, but the postage was more than twice the cost of the actual items being sent! People "back home" underestimate how much their generosity can mean sometimes!

  7. It is pretty easy to get lots of western stuff here. They have a store that is like a mini Costco but I never go there, everything is ridiculously expensive!

  8. I'm glad it is available. I don't purchase expensive Western foods all the time but it is nice to know it is there.