Photo: Temple outside Monywa.

Burma forum

Restaurants in Burma - a food safety question

Posted by antoniamitchell on 22/3/2014 at 02:27


I've noticed a lot of posters giving their experience in Burma mention getting very sick. I've also been reading the wires and noted from this post about curries in Burma: "It'll have been prepared in advance, not cooked to order and not re-heated."

I suspect that, and the amount of oil in some dishes, helps explain why so many tourists seem to get ill in Burma (although a large amount of oil should theoretically help keep the food safer by insulating it from the air).

So my question is: does anyone know at what time in the morning most restaurants actually cook? What I really want to know is: if you turn up early, when the restaurant first opens, are you likely to find the food has only just been cooked and is still piping hot? Do the teashops serving breakfast cook the noodles to order, or will those all be sitting around at room temperature too?

When I travel, I normally eat a basic breakfast, skip lunch, and then have a hot meal in the evening.... wondering if, from a food safety perspective, it would be better to have an decent hot meal in late morning (or whenever the restaurants first open) instead?
Yeah, I know I'm over-thinking this. Anyone got any suggestions? Thanks

#1 antoniamitchell has been a member since 13/5/2012. Posts: 541
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Posted by somtam2000 on 22/3/2014 at 07:39 admin

On my first trip to Burma last year I was there just over two weeks and lost around 10 kilos.

I'm almost 100% on which was the dish that made me so ill -- I'd had it three times in two days and I think the third time around the cook or the server just hadn't washed their hands. It's very much luck of the draw in this regard, and I tend to eat anything and everything.

On my second trip, I continued with the same eating habits and wasn't sick once in over 3 weeks.

You'll find some good food advice for Burma here -- and the author there gives a good explanation on how meal timing is differnt there - lunch is the main meal of the day.


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Posted by antoniamitchell on 22/3/2014 at 13:30

Thanks Somtam!

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Posted by busylizzy on 22/3/2014 at 19:47

I can't answer your specific question (in terms of what time they cook) - but I was there recently for 2-3 weeks and didn't have any problems either. I ate a mix of street food, local and tourists restaurants. I suspect that while you read of people getting sick, you won't hear from the many more travellers who don't get sick.

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Posted by captainbkk on 24/3/2014 at 01:06

My visit there was quite some time ago_ I remember that after 2-3 days I mainly stuck to directly prepared Thai food, Shan etc. More becse I found the Burmese style really awful.
As to your Q; you westerners simply ask to much. It varies-some shops open early and close early-after lunch, some late end close late-evening. I don not really think the time the food stands is the main factor-bad hygiene is.

#5 captainbkk has been a member since 16/2/2012. Posts: 472

Posted by antoniamitchell on 24/3/2014 at 02:19

Thanks, guys

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Posted by Terry001 on 28/4/2014 at 07:08

I didn't have any problems either. It is very easy to find mineral water or soft drinks everywhere in Myanmar . Tea is available everywhere. Myanmar is a very poor tropical country. Logically, you should avoid all the uncooked food, salad, ice-cream. Green tomato salad from Inle, lemon salad, ginger salad, and a lot of raw uncooked dishes in Myanmar are delicious.

#7 Terry001 has been a member since 10/1/2014. Posts: 18

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