OCTOBER 2022: Due to COVID we were unable to travel for nearly two years, which means it’s been impossible to update our vegan travel guides. Therefore we cannot be sure if the below restaurants are still open, so please contact them directly to check. As travel has now restarted we will be updating guides accordingly, but in the meantime please check out the excellent HappyCow, which you can find via the link at the bottom of this vegan guide.
Published June 2018
We loved Myanmar. Our first visit to this exciting and vibrant Southeast Asian country was everything we hoped for and more; we spent 3 weeks exploring and just know we have to go back soon. As you might imagine, we ate lots of vegan food; everything from traditional Burmese street food which was accidentally vegan to innovative and creative vegan delights at some of the finest hotels in the country. This vegan guide to Myanmar is a round up of some of the hotels we stayed in and vegan food we ate whilst in Myanmar that is not included in our more extensive, Vegan Guide to Yangon and Vegan Guide to Bagan. If we’ve missed anything we should have sampled or anywhere we should have visited please let us know in the comments at the bottom and we’ll be sure to check it out when we return…
Our time in Mandalay was short but we were lucky enough to spend it at the brand new Hilton Mandalay where we were well catered for as vegan guests. Dinner was a vegan extravaganza (read Moat entry below) and breakfast offered a mix of the usual suspects including fruit, toast, cereal, soya milk and coffee etc but the star of the show was the dishes that the team prepared for us when we told them we were vegan. We enjoyed traditional local soups, a delicious butter bean curry, fried (naughty but nice) Chinese donuts, Indian lentil vadai and roti stuffed with flavoursome and spicy chick peas. So much vegan food with inspiration from the cuisines of India and Myanmar; the perfect way to prepare for a long day of travel.
Moat Hilton Mandalay Junction of 26th and 66th Street Mandalay
Moat is the all day dining restaurant at Hilton Mandalay which boasts an enviable location adacent to the moat which surrounds Mandalay Palace. The modern and stylish restaurant is open to guests and non-guests with an extensive menu and wine list including vegan wines from Yalumba and Oxford Landing.
There were a couple of veggie options which could be vegan but upon request the chef and his team prepared a veritable vegan feast that was very enjoyable indeed. We started with a selection of salads including one of the tastiest tea leaf salads we had whilst in Myanmar and then moved on to enjoy soups, noodles, curry, chargrilled vegetables and a delightfully rich and smoky eggplant dish. Our vegan extravaganza ended with a dessert of delicate rice flour balls filled with palm sugar and topped with coconut.
Read more about our meal at Moat in our review of Hilton Mandalay and if you head there for dinner be sure to let them know in advance that you are vegan so the chef can work his magic.
We joined a mountain bike tour with Grasshopper Adventures who are one of the leading tour operators in the region, with sustainability and community at the heart of their business. With tours to choose from in 16 countries they offer something for everyone, from single day city tours to multi-day adventures for the serious mounatin bike enthusiasts out there. We loved their strong environmental standpoint, and the fact they were at the forefront of supporting Refill not Landfill, a fast growing Southeast Asian campaign to reduce the damage caused by single use plastic bootles in the tourism industry.
Wherever they took us for lunch or dinner had been pre-warned that our group were all vegan, and every stop delivered even more tasty, local vegan food. Each time we stopped for a break or hopped on the boat with our bikes there was a selection of vegan snacks for us to eat and recharge our energy levels. We even enjoyed local offerings of snacks during Thingyan new year festival that were accidentally vegan. We will certainly plan another tour with these guys at some stage in the future; great communication, first rate product and impeccable service throughout.
Blessed with an incredible location on the never ending beach at Ngwe Saung, Eskala Resort was our chosen base when visiitng this sleepy beach town 5 hours west of Yangon. We were prepared to have to search hard for vegan food when we were here but were over the moon with what we were offered.
A real highlight was the family style sharing plates for lunch at ‘Village House’ where all of the vegetables came from the adjacent organic vegetable garden and the cuisine was based on traditional Rahkine state recipes. Dishes included super fresh bottle gourd tops lightly fried in garlic and a crunchy white fungus salad with lime and chilli. Sounds interesting? How about fried vegetable fritters served with an insanely delicious tamarind sauce?
Trust us when we say the food was good here and anyone visiting Ngwe Saung whether staying at Eskala Resort or not should call in and pre-order the vegetarian and vegan lunch at ‘Village House’. You can read more about this meal and the other vegan delights we enjoyed (including the most addictively delicious spicy noodle salad which we had for breafast every day) in our review of Eskala Resort.
There were plenty of vegan and veggie options on the menu at Home Food and Drink including Myanmar dishes and Thai dishes. We tried a Penang curry which was packed with vegetables but didn’t quite have the ‘pow’ that this dish often has. It was tasty, cheap and very filling which is good and the space is nice making it one of the better options in Ngwe Saung.
This was our favourite spot in Ngwe Saung for a number of reasons. The vegan food was delicous and the portions were generous which is always a good start for us! But in addition to that, the owner was lovely and truly passionate about his food, taking time to chat with us each time we visited. The veg curry and tea leaf salad were very good, as was everything else we tried. We would highly recommend Social House Restaurant if you are in Ngwe Saung.
Inle Lake is a relaxing and serene location to spend a few days. We were lucky enough to stay at the incredible Sanctum Inle Resort which provided the perfect base to explore the surrounding area. Beautifully appointed rooms and suites, an infinity swimming pool with Inle Lake views and some of the most incredible sunsets we’ve ever seen, all made us not want to leave (ever).
The food at ‘The Refectory’ was truly first rate with a number of veg and vegan options on the main menu, a set vegan menu upon request and a la carte breakfast where we enjoyed even more tasty vegan food. Many of the vegetables come from the on site orgainic vegetable garden and this is apparent in the dishes which are fresh and delicious.
Here is our detailed review of Sanctum Inle Resort with lots more tantalising vegan food pictures!
An extension to the British colonial era Salay House (which pre dates 1906), Salay River View Inn not only offers travellers somewhere to stay with stunning river views but the team in the kitchen serve up tasty and wholesome vegan versions of traditional Myanmar cuisine.
The owners were super friendly and speak perfect English, so communication was easy when explaining our requests and we enjoyed salads, soups, fried snacks and curries as part of our lunch, dinner and breakfast here. The food was freshly prepared, plentiful and delicious; this combined with an enviable location on the banks of the Irrawaddy River (also called Ayeyarwaddy) make Salay River View Inn the perfect option in Salay.