This just in — foreigners in Yangon deserve a much higher standard of street food than the locals. That is, at least according to the government.
According to Popular News, the Yangon Regional government has announced plans to open a market with ‘clean’ food stalls — i.e. the best kind of food stalls — for foreigners visiting and living in Yangon.
The market will be a joint project between the Yangon Regional government, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and the Myanmar Restaurant Association (MRA).
“The stalls in the current night market only target locals and are not hygienic enough for foreigners,” Minister of Karen Ethnic Affairs Naw Pan Thinzar Myo explained to Popular. You know, because only foreigners require clean food.
“Everything needs to be upgraded. We have plans to make the Bank Road market better than the current night market [along Strand Road]. It should attract people, there should be better food handling and preparation policies, and it shouldn’t be expensive. Along with the inclusion of some handicraft stalls, we have plans to make this market of a higher caliber,” said Naw Pan Thinzar Myo.
“The current street food stalls in Myanmar don’t prepare their food properly, which is why foreigners can’t eat there,” a member of the Myanmar Food and Nutrition Society confirmed.
He also acknowledged Thailand’s Food and Agriculture Organization, who are in charge of inspecting all the food and produce that are sold on the streets, noting that Myanmar should have a similar system so that foreigners can confidently and safely enjoy street food.
Earlier this week, the Myanmar Times reported that a YCDC inspection revealed formalin in the food sold at various street food stalls. Of course, by this logic, that shouldn’t affect local customers at all.
The new market will be located on Bank Road near Maha Bandula Park street, and will act as a trial run for potential additional ‘upscale’ markets.
While it’s great to hear that the government is doing something about the fact that our street food has chemicals in it — and that they’re providing more vendors with new places to sell instead of punching them in the face — we don’t get the insistence on mainly doing it for foreigners. Call us presumptuous, but we’re fairly confident in saying that all of Yangon’s residents, local and foreign, both prefer and deserve hygenic rice noodles that don’t come with a serving of formalin.