Finding vegetarian food in Yangon, Bago Myanmar

This post is for those worried about not being able to find proper vegetarian food while visiting Myanmar.
Yangon has a good number of Indian restaurants. Here’re a few that I visited.

1. Vedge Indian restaurant (Pure Vegetarian)
This one is within walking distance from Sule Pagoda on the ground floor. I ordered a hot n sour soup, a glass of butter milk, a plate of rice and a potato curry. Didn’t like the potato curry much but other items were great. Is a pure vegetarian hotel- one of the very few in Yangon to offer pure veg dining. All other Indian restaurants serve veg as well as non veg items.

I asked for a glass of normal water and the waitress promptly gave me one, but when I asked for a refill, she refused, stating her manager reprimanded her for giving free water- guests are expected to buy drinking water, which is typically billed at twice its MRP.  Thus carrying your own water will save you a few bucks. Good Indian bollywood music and a TV showcasing Hindi stuff are bonus.

My dinner cost me around 12000 MMK or INR 600 here. Not a huge place- some 20-30 seats I am guessing. Good option if you're staying in Yangon Downtown.

2. Corriander Leaf Indian Family Dining- They have multiple restaurants in Yangon
Coriander Leaf restaurant group have multiple branches in Yangon- I visited one near Shwedagon Pagoda- beyond People’s park and one more next day (refer below). Ordered a soup that was too spicy, so they got me a fresh bowl with less spicy stuff. Ordered a Biriyani and Raita- was good- my bill came to 18000 MMK- including a designer water bottle at 1000 MMK- the most expensive meal I had during all of Myanmar trip. Taste was good.
3. Corriander Leaf Restropub
Accidentally spotted this one located in between Ngar Htat Gayi Pagoda and Chauk Ktat Kyi Pagoda.  It is a bar + restaurant, serving Indian, Chinese and Thai food. Thought of trying Pav Bhaji but they didn't have. Veg biriyani was very expensive at about 9000 MMK compared to other rice items such as curd rice, rasam rice, pulao etc (2500-4000 MMK). Ordered Rasam rice, veg spring roll, potato vedges etc. Didn't like the veg spring rolls but other items were good. My bill here came to around 12300 MMK
Staff were kind, allowed me to charge my phone.

Myanmar seem to have a different way of paying taxes- restaurants affix stamps of specific value on the bill upto the tax amount. While many Burmese restaurants readily affix stamps, I have a feeling that Indian restaurants are cheating on this aspect where possible. (I don't know if they had a different way of paying taxes) The Vedge bill I got didn't have tax stamp, the Corriander Leaf Indian family dining staff didn't affix tax stamp. The Corriander Leaf Restropub guy hurriedly affixed stamps when I asked to take the bill back with me.

There're many more Indian restaurants in Yangon- I didn't have the time and need to visit all of them.

If you're not particular about Indian veg food and comfortable with any Vegan food then there're lot more options- use apps like Happy Cow or check on Tripadvisor for some of the vegan/vegan friendly restaurants near you.

4. South Indian eateries
In down town Yangon I spotted at least two South Indian outlets like above- they serve Dosa, Poori, Idli and other items, but often along with various non-veg items as well- so not pure veg. But good for a quick grab or if you don’t want to spend 10000 MMK in a popular Indian restaurant.

How was hostel breakfast?
Most hostels serve bread, coffee and some fruits for breakfast (vegetarian items)- this is the best one can manage in budget hostels. A more expensive hotel in Bago had veg noodles and Banana as well. 

I usually manage with whatever veg item I can get during breakfast, one proper meals in Indian restaurant per day- usually dinner and the other time I manage with whatever I can grab on the way- buns/bread items, coffee, fruits, tender coconut and so on.

Managing veg food in Bago
I spent a night in Bago. In Bago town I didn’t see any Indian/veg outlets. The hotel where I was staying- Kanbawza Hinthar- a bit expensive 40 USD a night one- had a restaurant that served veg spring rolls- had to manage with this as there were no other veg items in the menu, except Veg tempura- which is vegetables fried. But they had good breakfast next day so I could manage. 
The other resort- MoeYunGyi was worse- they had just one veg item- Veg tempura. Managed with biscuits and few items I had carried with me. Next day breakfast was ok with bread and watermelon. Thus if you simply walk into any Burmese restaurants unplanned then your probability of finding some veg items will be bleak. A bit of research and planning is highly recommended.
Typical pricing of food items in Yangon’s Indian restaurants- 5% tax and 10% service charge extra
  • Soups- around 3000-4000 MMK (INR 150-200)
  • Light snacks-like Masala Papad, veg spring roll etc- 2500-3000 MMK
  • Rice items-like veg pulao, curd rice etc- 3000-4000 MMK, Veg Biriyani- 5000-9000 MMK
  • Juices: 2000-4000 MMK
  • (Conversion: 1000 MMK= INR 50)
Expect 10% service charge and 5% tax on top of whatever amount mentioned in menu.

A decent meal will cost you around 10000-15000 MMK (INR 500-750) per person. Of course depending on your hunger, budget and apetite you can spend more or less.

Following items are easily available in various supermarkets and mini super markets/shops
  • Banana
  • Apple
  • Coffee
  • Bread items and buns
  • Cashew/ground nuts/chips
Tender coconut was available in select areas only (I was expecting it to be available at more places)- a shop near downtown Yangon between Strand Hotel and British Embassy,  lots of shops leading to Shwedagon Pagoda and on Radio station road leading to airport. Priced around 800-1000 MMK, these were of decent quality and taste. Also spotted a guy with a mobile cart selling tender coconut- he was from Tamil Nadu and asked me about Karunanidhi's death.
Thus going by my experience, you can easily manage within Yangon city if you’re pure vegetarian. It gets more complex in other less popular cities- you can either do a day trip from Yangon, or manage with some pre-packed food or light snacks.

Similar: Managing veg food in KLIA2 * Managing veg food in Vietnamveg food in Srilanka *

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