Despite the booming restaurant scene, it’s no secret that Yangon doesn’t exactly cater to its vegetarians and vegans. While we can boast joints that serve some mouthwatering burgers or quirky pet cafés, being a herbivore in Yangon is hard… or is it? Coconuts is a site for the people, and when the people asked us what the best vegetarian restaurants in Yangon were, we answered the call.
Keep in mind that, in general, restaurants will be happy to accommodate your dietary requirements and make a dish vegetarian and/or whip up a few vegetarian dishes that aren’t on the menu. However, that’s a lot of work, and if you don’t speak much Myanmar or are just in one of those moods where you want to enjoy a meal with minimal human contact (we’ve all been there), then check out this list of the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in the city. (In all cases, keep an eye out for small dried shrimps and ask about the use of fish sauce, which is sometimes considered “vegetarian”.)
Corner of Bogyoke Street and 37th Street
Despite being a relative newcomer to the Yangon restaurant scene, Healthy Me was an instant hit, mainly because it was (and still is) one of the city’s few salad bars. But don’t let the “salad bar” in the name fool you — the place serves more than just boring old salads (in fact, they do a few meat dishes as well if you want to enjoy a lunch with your carnivorous friends). Try the all-day morning Combo Set 2, which consists of poached egg, garlic bread, and avocado for a quick pick-me-up, or the spinach wholegrain wrap, which is vegan, gluten-free, and comes with a free iced lemon tea. The vegetarian shepherd’s pie provides a more filling meal, as does the huge Zero Calorie salad, which has lettuce, apple, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, green pea, carrot, cucumber, and celery, topped off with an apple cider dressing (although feel free to ask for the dressing of your choice). If you want to veer a bit into the unhealthy range, their Chocolate Lover smoothie is a nice indulgence; alternatively, there’s the Energy Booster, which reportedly, well, boosts your energy, or the Mr Green, stuffed with the healthiest of ingredients including spinach, broccoli, and celery. The drinks menu isn’t limited to just smoothies, however — Healthy Me also has coffee and other hot drinks, as well as several detox juices including a Liver Detox and a Beetroot Detox. If you’re searching for a healthy snack to munch on while at the office, pick up a few homemade coconut protein bars on your way out.
1. Myanmar Plaza food court
2. Yaw Min Gyi Street (between Shwedagon Pagoda Road and Bo Yar Nyunt Road). If you’re facing Shwedagon Pagoda road, it’s tucked into a side alley on the right side of Yaw Min Gyi Street
3. Go Green, Nat Mauk Road (opposite the Japanese Embassy)
4. 2nd floor of Hledan Center
Due to its semi-private location, the Sprouts in Yaw Min Gyi is our favorite branch, and the perfect retreat for people wanting to get work done while enjoying a delicious smoothie or warm cup of soup. The soup choices include tomato, pumpkin coconut, and good old-fashioned lentil. When it comes to salads, you can make your own, or choose from one of the combinations on the menu, which range from classics such as Greek and Niçoise to more “intriguing” options such as the Jitterbug or the Salad of a Thin Man. In the mood for bread? Try out the Pumpkin Apple Feta Panini, the Three Cheese Panini, or the Mango Tango sandwich. Vegan customers should check out the Veggie Hummus Sandwich with hummus and toasted vegetables, or the Caprese Panini (sans the mozzarella). They also offer a granola bowl complete with fruit and yogurt for a delicious breakfast to start off the day. If you’re just there to catch up with friends over a drink, try out the mango smoothie or cool yourself down with the Lime Mint Cooler.
36/38B Alan Payar Road
Any restaurant that’s jointly operated and located next to a yoga house must serve healthy helpings of fruits and vegetables, which is exactly what Nourish is and does. The restaurant touts itself as offering “plant-based food to nourish your body and soul,” and has an extensive vegan menu, making it one-of-a-kind in Yangon and quite possibly all of Myanmar. First off, they have two all-day breakfast options: a Chocolate Granola Bowl and Coconut Apple Oatmeal, both of which sound and taste so delicious you feel like there’s no way it can be “health food.” Then there are the main dishes, which include a rainbow-colored quinoa salad and the Nourish Burger. On weekends and holidays, order off their brunch menu and get the Breakfast Burrito, or the Full English Breakfast, which replaces the traditional bacon/egg/sausage spread with tofu, vegan sausages, pinto beans, grilled tomatoes, green beans, sweet potato hash, and two slices of sourdough toast. If you want to indulge your sweet tooth, try their vegan carrot cake, the Coconut Chia Pudding, or one of the “bliss balls.” Nourish also serves freshly brewed kombucha, making it probably the only restaurant in Yangon to do so. Their “glo-bowls” are also a vegan/vegetarian’s dream — our favorite is the Latin Black Bean Bowl, which includes black beans and fresh pineapple piled on top of barley, baked sweet potato, roasted pumpkin and grilled corn, and topped off with a cilantro lemon dressing.
104 Bogalay Zay Street (between Merchant Road and Mahabandoola Road)
The newest addition to Yangon’s vegetarian scene at time of writing (although certainly not the cheapest), Paribawga doubles as a vegetarian café and a furniture showroom, which means you get to eat your meal on and surrounded by funky handcrafted furniture. The menu is limited but the location is great, and if you’re looking for a nice date spot or want to impress an important crowd of vegetarians, then Paribawga is a safe bet. If you go between 12pm and 1:30pm, take advantage of their set lunch deal, which includes a soup, a main, and a drink for MMK11,000 (about $8 for you out-of-towners); the choices for the set also change daily, so if you already ate there yesterday, it’s still worth going back today. Their risotto is a fresh spin on the Italian classic, and contains pear, pecorino and gorgonzola cheeses, and beetroot infused rice, and the Roasted Asparagus Fritattas are completely vegan and are served with a pesto-whipped ricotta. If you want something a bit more filling, the roasted red pepper and hummus wrap is a classic, and comes with goat cheese, hummus, red peppers, and caramelized onions, as well as a side of chips. For dessert, try the ginger crème brûlée, topped with honey from Kachin State.
63 Taw Win Road, Dagon Township (near the Thai Embassy)
In addition to being one of Yangon’s best Indian restaurants, The Marina is also one of Yangon’s best vegetarian restaurants. Whether you’re vegan or vegetarian (or neither), there are dishes aplenty for you to choose from, and it’s not hard to see why the place is a star on the city’s vegetarian/vegan scene. The butter naan is to die for, and the Palak Paneer and Paneer Tikka are favorites among both vegetarian and meat-loving customers. If you want to start off your meal with a light snack, try the vegetarian spring rolls, the vegetarian dim sum, and/or the mixed vegetarian kebab platter. Next, flip over to the extensive vegetarian mains menu, which includes perfectly simmered mango curry, a colorful Vegetable Jalfrezi, and the crowd-favorite Jeera Aloo. If you’re really hungry, go for their vegetable biryani. Not in a naan mood? Pair your mains with the Kashmiri Pulao, the Ghee Rice, or go with a classic and order some roti. Wash down your spicy meal with a mango or strawberry lassi, or if you’re trying to warm up during the cold rainy season, the Masala Chai Tea is *makes chef kissing noise with fingers*.
Lanmadaw Vegetarian Restaurant
451 Pyay Road, Kamaryut Township
One of the few entirely vegetarian Myanmar-run restaurants, Lanmadaw is a hit among locals who want to eat affordable vegetarian dishes without having to sacrifice taste. The no-frills restaurant is operated by a Chinese family, making it a good call if you’re really in the mood for quality Chinese food, regardless of whether or not you’re a vegetarian. While it might not look as fancy as the other restaurants on this list, it’s an entirely vegetarian restaurant with not a meat dish in sight. That being said, if you don’t read Myanmar, the menu indicates that there are meat dishes on offer, but don’t fret as it’s all vegan “meat” alternatives. So, if you want to relive your meat-eating days or just feel like tricking your meat-eating friends, choose from fish cake, chicken, chicken wings (separate from chicken), squid, prawn, pork, etc., each of which can be prepared four to six different ways. If you’re not really a meat alternative person, Lanmadaw’s tofu dishes are also really good; we personally recommend pairing the hot and sour tofu with a bowl of white rice or fried rice/noodles.
Vedge Indian Restaurant
158/168 Mahanbandoola Park Street
Due to the limited restaurant choices, a popular vegetarian Yangonite trick is to go to Indian restaurants (see above: The Marina). However, an Indian restaurant that also happens to be entirely vegetarian and pretty damn delicious is a win-win for both vegetarians and Indian cuisine lovers, making Vedge a popular dining spot. A hookah bar is set up on the first floor, but don’t worry if you want to go for a family meal, as the ground floor is still a traditional dining area. To share with your vegan friends, order the Kachumber Salad. There’s a sandwiches and pizza section of the menu for those wanting more of an Indian-European type deal (e.g. Paneer Tikka Sandwich). If you’d rather stick to Indian cuisine, we personally recommend the Rajma Chawal, the Dum Aloo cooked in a Hyderabadi style, or the Dal Makhani. And like any respectable Indian restaurant, the dosas and naan at Vedge are top-notch. If at the end of your meal you still have space left for dessert, ask for the Galja Hawar or Phirni, or just a good old-fashioned kulfi.
Rangoon Tea House
77-79 Pansodan Road (between Merchant and Mahabandoola Roads)
We’ll be upfront: If you want a full-on vegetarian meal that’s more than just rice and a salad, then Rangoon Tea House probably isn’t the place for you. The only vegetarian main dishes they have are a Spiced Aubergine Curry and a Vegetarian Biryani. However, if you don’t really want a proper three-course meal and are just looking for a restaurant downtown where you can catch up with friends over tea and small snacks, then the place checks all of the vegetarian boxes. Almost all of their salads are vegetarian and perfect for sharing; try the rich and spicy Potato Samosa Salad, the tangy Tofu Salad, or the classic Tea Leaf Salad. The Egg Paratha and Potato Samosa (not in soup form) are also good calls. The Pea Paratha and Aubergine Bao are also big hits among vegan customers. For dessert, try one of their fabulous naked cakes —we suggest the Carrot Truffle with its delectable cream cheese frosting, or the BFF which will appease even the most demanding of chocolate lovers. For those who don’t like cake, the House Falooda is sweet yet light, and then there are the Chocolate Samosas, which are not light, but definitely sweet, and most certainly worth indulging.
85/87 Theinbyu Road, Botahtaung Township
Having attracted big names like Bill Clinton, Monsoon and its very, very long menu are a hit among locals and tourists alike. Although the aforementioned length of their menu might seem a bit daunting at first, it’s precisely that abundance that makes the place so vegetarian and vegan-friendly. To share, get the Ah Kyaw Sone (fried vegetable fritters) or the crudité with yogurt dip. In the Myanmar cuisine section, choices include the Pe Thee Sane Thote (bean salad), Kayanthee Hnut (braised eggplant, although ask to remove the dried shimps), or Myin Khwa Ywet Thoke (pennywort salad). In terms of soups, we personally recommend the Buthee Kyarzan Hin Ngar (gourd and glass noodle), or Theesone Chin Yay (assorted vegetables). If you want to dip into other cuisines, there’s plenty more to choose from, including the Cambodian Samlor Chhruoh, or the Thai Pad Thai. Alternatively, go in the opposite direction and order off of their European menu, which consists of staples such as Gazpacho and Spaghetti Aglio e Olio. All of the desserts are vegetarian as well, although we’re partial to the Sago in Coconut Milk. (If you’ve got some spare time after your meal, Pomelo, a social enterprise that sells a wide variety of colorful handmade knick-knacks, is located just a few feet next door.)
Ground floor of Pearl Condo Block C
One of the few authentic Mexican restaurants in town, Mañana has a separate vegetarian menu that’s just as delicious as everything else on their non-vegetarian menu. Mañana is known for their tacos, and their Viva Veggie Taco and Myanmex Meda Taco definitely live up to the hype. Note that the Viva Veggie and Myanmex Meda options are also available as a tostada, quesadilla, burrito, rice bowl, or salad. The Myeik Style, which contains cauliflower, cabbage, green beans, and onions come in burrito, salad, rice bowl, and taco form. The Tortilla Soup is a perfect starter or side, and their house flan is one of our favorite desserts in all of Yangon. Other vegetarian stars on the menu include enfrijoladas cooked in a wonderful bean sauce, the enchiladas that ooze cheese with each bite, and the simple yet excellent Mexican rice and beans. The Designer Nachos are every Mexican food lover’s dream, and are smothered in caramelized onions, toasted corn, cheese, black beans, a brandy and beer sauce… need we go on? Even if you’re not craving a large Mexican meal, Mañana is still a good place to hang out and catch up with old friends over some of the city’s best homemade chips and guacamole, accompanied by a pitcher of one of their several different flavors of margaritas of course.
80 University Avenue
We don’t recommend going to Le Planteur for dinner, as vegetarian options on their à la carte menu are almost nonexistent — there’s the Eggplant Cannelloni served with a green pea coulis, and well, that’s it (unless you count dessert). Instead, we would suggest going here for lunch, during which you can fully enjoy their vegetarian lunch set menu. Like all fancy French restaurants, the meal opens with an amuse bouche, followed by an Asparagus and Eggplant Caviar Salad drizzled with truffle oil. You can then choose between the Vegetable Tartlet, or the Spinach and Feta Ravioli (we prefer the latter). Finish off your meal with a crisp and creamy Vanilla and Raspberry Mille-feuille. Be warned though that the set menus are subject to change, so while they’ll probably always have some form of vegetarian menu on offer, it’s best to call ahead and check what they’ll be serving on the particular day you want to visit. At USD49, the lunch set isn’t cheap, but if you need to take guests to an upscale lunch spot — be warned that the vegetarian menu is the cheapest of the bunch — then the price tag might be worth overlooking just this once.
Taing Yin Thar
2A Kanbae Road, 6th Quarter, Yankin Township
Taing Yin Thar is a favorite among tourists and locals alike who want to try out foods from other parts of the country without having to leave Yangon. They also have a nice array of spicy dishes for those who are jonesing for a little heat. In the appetizers section, you have the Ah Kyaw Sone, which are fried to perfection with batter that is just the right amount of thickness. Among the main courses, there’s the Gawyakhar Nyunt Kyaw (fried gourd leaves), the Shan-style omelette, and the fried potatoes garnished with Shan pickled mustard leaves, just to name a few. A lot of the salads are also vegetarian, so why not give the Kachin Pae Thee Thote (bean salad) or the Pone Yae Gyi Thote (black bean sauce salad) a go? And of course, the restaurant also serves classic vegetarian Shan dishes such as Tofu Nway and Arloo Htamin (potato rice). In all cases, take a precautionary measure and tell the waiter that you don’t want dried shrimp and/or fish sauce in your dishes. To wrap up your meal, try the sweet Sago with Palm Sugar or the rich Steamed Banana in Coconut Milk, or go the vegan route and just get an assortment of fresh fruits.
Jana Mon Ethnic Cuisine
114 Nandawun Street, Bahan Township
Not many people know about Jana Mon. Those who do can’t resist coming back again (and again) to this affordable no-frills establishment. Tucked away within a largely residential street, Jana Mon is a simple, charming, and intimate little restaurant that serves authentic Mon food. The entire menu itself isn’t that long, but there are still enough vegetarian options to keep you satisfied, and the wonderful owner/chef, who is from the Mon Region herself, will happily give you recommendations and cater to your needs. Ask for the Seasonal Vegetable Curry, which bursts with flavor, and pair it with a bowl of steamed or coconut rice for a filling and delectable meal. If you want to try out more dishes, the Long Bean and Papaya Seaweed salads are suitable for both vegans and vegetarians, as is our personal favorite: Banana Leaf Salad. Whatever you order, make sure you try out their freshly squeezed juices, which will help cool down your taste buds after consuming all that hot Mon food.
Happy Café & Noodles
1. 104B Inya Road, Kamaryut Township
2. Myaynigone City Mart, Corner of Pyay Road and Shin Saw Pu Pagoda Street, Sanchaung Township
3. Waizayandar City Mart, 54 Waizayandar Road, South Okkalapa Township
4. Myanmar Culture Valley (opposite Shwedagon Pagoda)
5. 2nd floor, Ga Mone Pwint Shopping Center (Kabar Aye)
6. 4th floor, Ga Mone Pwint Shopping Center (San Yeik Nyein)
Happy does a mix of European, Asian, and European-Asian fusion foods, so if you’re in a group with eaters who are varying degrees of adventurous, then give this place a shot. The good news is that because the noodles — which are their specialty — come with the option of different meats, you can opt out altogether and inform your server that you’d like it completely vegetarian. Because not many of the dishes require the use of milk, it’s also incredibly vegan-friendly. If you don’t read Myanmar, be warned that the Fried Noodle with Fermented Tofu does have pork sausage in it regardless of what meat you (don’t) choose. If you’re looking for a good salad, the Glass Vermicelli Potato Salad is deelish, as is the Green Papaya Salad, a more Myanmar take on the Thai dish. To share, skip the usual Double Fried Tofu for the Stuffed Tofu balls. If you’re in the market for something more hearty and rice-based, notable mentions include the Steamed Black/White Glutinous Rice with Assorted Vegetable Tempura, the Soya Bean Paste Rice Salad, and the Green Rice Salad (say you don’t want the meat accompaniments on the side). The entire dessert menu is vegetarian-friendly, while vegans can choose between the Gyone Cho (Wheat with Coconut Cream) and the Thar Kway Yaing (Black Glutinous Rice with Coconut Cream), although as always, ask beforehand to make sure there’s no milk involved just to be safe.
Savoy Hotel Green Thursdays
129 Dhammazedi Road (corner of Dhammazedi and Inya Roads)
While the Savoy has a somewhat vegetarian/vegan-friendly everyday à la carte menu, we recommend opting for their Green Thursdays’ completely meat-free brunch, which offer a free fresh juice with every meal. Unfortunately, a lot of their vegetarian dishes do contain cheese, so it’s not the best place to go for a hassle-free vegan meal. It’s also a bit tricky to suggest any dishes as the beauty of Green Thursdays is that the menu rotates every week (although not by much, especially for the vegetarian options), so while it’s a bit of a gamble, it’s also a great way to ensure that you’re not stuck eating an identical meal from one week to the next. That being said, you can sort of predict what the menu will be. For starters, it’s almost always a salad, although in the past they have had Fried Camembert complete with raspberry jam, mixed leaves, and a house dressing, as well as Grilled Vegetables with a balsamic dressing. If you like rice and/or Italian food, the good news is that the main course will almost always be some form of risotto; in the past, the menu has featured a Lemon Thyme Risotto, Wild Mushroom Risotto, and an Herb Risotto. The best part is the dessert, which can be anything from an Apple Crumble served with caramel ice-cream and a zesty lime curd, to a tried-and-true slice of warm chocolate cake (paired with ice-cream, naturally). A two-course meal costs USD16, and three courses will set you back USD19.
Nepali & Indian Food
648 Merchant Road (between Shwe Bon Thar Road and 39th Street)
The restaurant’s name is as straightforward as its food, which, as it touts, is strictly vegetarian Indian and Nepali cuisine. The choices are limited compared to a larger Indian restaurant, but on the plus side, you get peace of mind from the knowledge that everything is “only vegetable”. The flavors more than make up for the shop’s deceiving simplicity, with the biryani being among the best in Yangon. For the really hungry folks, order the fantastic and filling Thali set, or go down the traditional route and get a rice and curry set. If you’re with friends, get a few different dishes to share — we really like their Mushroom Matar, Shahi Paneer, and the Chana Masala, all of which come in nice big portions — along with some homemade plain or garlic naan. In the mornings, freshly made Aloo Puri, Chapati, and Dosa are all available from 7:30am to 9am, as is a steaming ginger-infused brew of Masala Chai (vegans can ask for soy milk). Be warned that they’re closed on the 11th of every month, but otherwise feel free to eat to your heart’s content on the other 29 or 30 days of the month.
Shan Yoe Yar
169 War Tan Street, Lanmadaw Township
As its name suggests, Shan Yoe Yar specializes in Shan food. The good news is that a lot of Shan cuisine is vegetarian, and the great news is that it also consists of some of the best dishes that Myanmar has to offer period, vegetarian or not. If you’re tofu fans like us, their Deep Fried Tofu is crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside; the spicy Tofu and Mustard Leaves curry tastes as amazing as it smells; and of course you can never go wrong with the Tofu Nway. Go full-on Shan with the Shan Style potato rice, and if you’re feeling a bit adventurous, get the Steamed Egg with Pepper. If you’re gearing up for a big day, Shan Yoe Yar also has an extensive breakfast menu that’s very vegetarian and vegan-friendly. For a classic Shan breakfast, get the sticky rice, which comes in sets with a side of assorted vegetable tempura, Shan style pounded chili, or tomato or eggplant paste. Honorable mentions also go to the Rolled Lettuce balls, Fried Milk Flakes, and the star-shaped Fried Rice Powder.
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