The Irrawaddy

Uniquely Mandalay Foods

YANGON—Mandalay is the second largest city in Myanmar and the country’s last royal capital. Today it is also known as ‘motorbike city.’ The city has its own history and many famous pagodas and monasteries to visit. But it is also famous for its own uniquely Mandalay foods. This is a list of delicious snacks and dishes native to Mandalay that just don’t taste the same anywhere else.

Mandalay Moat Ti

Mandalay moat ti which is sometimes called Mandalay nan gyi thoke (large noodle salad) is the most popular food native to Mandalay. This noodle salad is a favourite for most Mandalay locals and is usually eaten for breakfast so most moat ti shops open only in the morning. In fact, it’s hard to find maot ti in the afternoon.

For moat ti, thick rice noodles are mixed with chicken curry and fish balls, fresh chopped onion and a few other ingredients but the what makes this dish distinctly the Mandalay style is the addition of a gravy made from roasted bean powder. This combined with some red chili paste and oil turn the thick white rice noodles into a delectable yellow color. Add too little or too much of the main ingredients though, and the dish is ruined. Depending on which shop you try, this dish can taste different every time.

The dish can be ordered with different types of rice noodle sizes such as nan lat (medium-sized) and nan gyi (large-sized). The taste of the noodles is a combination of sweet, sour, salty, and fresh. After one plate, your stomach will be full until the afternoon. Shops serve a free soup broth with it which is also tasty.

Mandalay Mhee Shay

Mandalay mhee shay is another famous food from Mandalay. Mostly, people eat it for breakfast but it can be found in the afternoon as well. While in Mandalay, you will see many small stalls serving mhee shay but the shops located around the corner of 80th and 16th streets are the most famous in town.

One of the places serving the best mhee shay on 16th Street doesn’t have a name so people just call it 16th Street Mhee Shay. Though this simple place uses small stools for both table and chair and it’s not very big—more of a stall than a shop—it still draws a huge number of customers.

Mhee shay is a rice noodle salad mixed with pork, pig’s tail, pig’s intestine, pepper and bean sprouts served with a delicious bowl of pork soup. You can adjust the pork ingredients and turn up or down the spice of the dish by telling your preference to the woman of the shop.

Mandalay Htoe Moat

Htoe moat is a glutinous rice cake topped with cashew nuts, raisins and cream butter. This dessert-style snack is popularly given as a gift. It has a sweet taste and you can choose to reduce the sweetness by ordering the plain version without cream butter and other fruit toppings. Myint Myint Khin and Tin Tin Aye are most the famous htoe moat brands available in Mandalay.

A similar dessert called Mandalay la moat is an adaptation of the traditional Chinese moon cake made to have a slightly different taste and style.

Both versions of the cake are made using roasted glutinous wheat flour to make the soft outer dough covering. Inside is a paste made using sweet bean or white sugar which is mixed with margarine and inserted into the middle and the cake is then baked. The texture is soft and chewy and the fantastic smell will make you instantly hungry. Of all the famous foods from Mandalay, this one is a must-try.