BURMESE / MYANMA Facts & Figures

Size: 261,227 square miles

Population: 58,840,000

Capital: Naypyidaw

Currency: Kyat

Weather / Climate:

Much of the country lies between the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator. It lies in the monsoon region of Asia, with its coastal regions receiving over 5,000 mm (196.9 in) of rain annually. Annual rainfall in the delta region is approximately 2,500 mm (98.4 in), while average annual rainfall in the Dry Zone, which is located in central Burma, is less than 1,000 mm (39.4 in). Northern regions of the country are the coolest, with average temperatures of 21 °C (70 °F). Coastal and delta regions have an average maximum temperature of 32 °C (89.6 °F).


BURMESE / MYANMA languages

Burmese, the mother tongue of the Bamar and official language of Burma, is related to Tibetan and to the Chinese languages.[159] It is written in a script consisting of circular and semi-circular letters, which were adapted from the Mon script, which in turn was developed from a southern Indian script in the 8th century. The earliest known inscriptions in the Burmese script date from the 11th century. It is also used to write Pali, the sacred language of Theravada Buddhism, as well as several ethnic minority languages, including Shan, several Karen dialects, and Kayah (Karenni), with the addition of specialised characters and diacritics for each language.[175] The Burmese language incorporates widespread usage of honorifics and is age-oriented.[171] Burmese society has traditionally stressed the importance of education. In villages, secular schooling often takes place in monasteries. Secondary and tertiary education take place at government schools.

Taken From:



Burmahas a population of about 56 million.[152] Population figures are rough estimates because the last partial census, conducted by the Ministry of Home and Religious Affairs under the control of the military junta, was taken in 1983.[153] No trustworthy nationwide census has been taken in Burma since 1931. There are over 600,000 registered migrant workers from Burma in Thailand, and millions more work illegally. Burmese migrant workers account for 80% of Thailand's migrant workers.[154] Burma has a population density of 75 per square kilometre (190 /sq mi), one of the lowest in Southeast Asia. Refugee camps exist along Indian, Bangladeshi and Thai borders while several thousand are in Malaysia. Conservative estimates state that there are over 295,800 refugees from Burma, with the majority being Rohingya, Kayin, and Karenni and are principally located along the Thai-Burma border.[155] There are nine permanent refugee camps along the Thai-Burma border, most of which were established in the mid-1980s. The refugee camps are under the care of the Thai-Burma Border Consortium (TBBC). In FY 2009, the U.S. resettled 18,275 refugees from Burma.[156]

There are over 53.42 million Buddhists, over 2.98 million Christians, over 2.27 million Muslims, over 0.3 million Hindus and over 0.79 million of those who believe in other religions in the country, according to an answer by Union Minister at Myanmar Parliament on 8 Sep 2011.[

Taken From: 



Burmese cuisine includes a rich collection of dishes and meals found in various regions of the country, which is also known as Myanmar. Owing to the geographic location of Myanmar, Burmese cuisine has been influenced greatly by China, India and Thailand. However, Burmese cuisine has retained unique preparation techniques and distinct flavours, and there are many regional variations of "standard" dishes.

The diversity of Myanmar's cuisine has been contributed by the Burmese alongside the myriad of local ethnic minorities, neighbouring countries and immigrants from India and China. It is characterized by extensive use of fish products like fish sauce and ngapi. Seafood is a common ingredient in coastal cities such as Sittwe, Kyaukpyu, Mawlamyaing (formerly Moulmein), Mergui (Myeik) and Dawei, while meat and poultry are more commonly used in landlocked cities like Mandalay. Freshwater fish and shrimp have been incorporated into inland cooking as a primary source of protein and are used in a variety of ways, fresh, salted whole or filleted, salted and dried, made into a salty paste, or fermented sour and pressed.

Burmese cuisine also includes a variety of salads (a thoke), centered on one major ingredient, ranging from rice, wheat and rice noodles, glass noodles and vermicelli, to potato, ginger, tomato, kaffir lime, lahpet (pickled tea), and ngapi (fish paste). These salads have always been popular as fast foods in Burmese cities.

A popular Burmese rhyme sums up the traditional favourites: "A thee ma, thayet; a thar ma, wet; a ywet ma, lahpet” translated as "Of all the fruit, the mango's the best; of all the meat, the pork's the best; and of all the leaves, lahpet's the best".

Eating customs

A typical Burmese meal

Traditionally, Burmese eat their meals from dishes on a low table, while sitting on a bamboo mat. Dishes are served more or less at the same time. A typical meal includes steamed rice as the main dish and accompanying dishes called hin, including a curried freshwater fish or dried/salted fish dish, a curried meat or poultry dish instead, a light soup called hin gyo , called chinyay hin if sour, and fresh or boiled vegetables to go with a salty dish, almost invariably a curried sauce of pickled fish (ngapi yayjo) in Lower Burma. Fritters such as gourd or onions in batter as well as fish or dried tofu crackers are extra.

Out of respect, the eldest diners are always served first before the rest join in; even when the elders are absent, the first morsel of rice from the pot is scooped and put aside as an act of respect to one's parents, a custom known as u cha (first serve).

The Burmese eat with their right hand, forming the rice into a small ball with only the fingertips and mixing this with various morsels before popping it into their mouths. Chopsticks and a Chinese style spoon are used for noodle dishes, although noodle salads are more likely to be eaten with just a spoon. Knives and forks are used rarely in homes but will always be provided for guests and are available in restaurants and hotels. Drinks are not often served with the meal and, instead, the usual liquid accompaniment is in the form of a light broth or consomme served from a communal bowl. Outside of the meal, the Burmese beverage of choice is light green tea, yay nway gyan


A traditional Burmese meal includes a bowl of soup, rice, several meat curries, ngapi yay with tozaya (vegetables for dipping).

The country's diverse religious makeup influences its cuisine, as Buddhists avoid beef and Muslims pork. Beef is considered taboo by devout Buddhists because the cow is highly regarded as a beast of burden, although it is increasingly eaten by Buddhists.[1] Pork is avoided by nat worshippers, as nats are believed to be averse to pork.[2] Vegetarian dishes are also common, especially during the Buddhist Lent (Wa-dwin), a three-month Rains Retreat, as well as Uposatha sabbath days. During this time, only two meals (i.e. breakfast and lunch) are consumed before midday to observe the fasting rules (u bohk saunk) and abstainance from meat (thek that lut, literally 'free of killing') is observed by devout Buddhists.

The countries that border Myanmar, especially India, China and Thailand, have influenced Burmese cuisine.[3] Indian influences are found in Burmese versions of dishes such as samosas and biryani, and Indian curries, spices and breads such as naan and paratha. Chitti kala  or Chettiar (Southern Indian) cuisine is also popular in cities. Chinese influence in Burmese cuisine is shown in the use of ingredients like bean curd and soya sauce, various noodles as well as in stir frying techniques. As in neighbouring Thailand and Laos, fried insects are eaten as snacks.


Ingredients used in Burmese dishes are often fresh. Many fruits are used in conjunction with vegetables in many dishes. The Burmese eat a great variety of vegetables and fruits, and all kinds of meat. A very popular vegetable is the danyin thi, which is usually boiled or roasted and dipped in salt, oil and sometimes, cooked coconut fat.


Burmese Pathein Paw San Hmwe

The most common starch (staple food) in Myanmar is white rice or htamin (?????), which is served with accompanying meat dishes called hin (????). Paw hsan hmwe, fragrant aroma rice is the most popular rice used in Burma and is rated as high as the Thai fragrant rice or Basmati rice. Today, Myanmar is the world's number six producer of rice, though in recent times less is exported and even domestic supplies cannot be guaranteed.[4]

Glutinous rice, called kauk hnyin (from Shan kao niew ) is also very popular. A purple variety known as nga cheik is commonly a breakfast dish. Various noodle types are also used in salads and soups. Typically, vermicelli noodles and rice noodles are often used in soups, while thick rice and wheat noodles are used in salads. Palata a flaky fried flatbread related to Indian paratha, is often eaten with curried meats while nan byar , a baked flatbread is eaten with any Indian dishes. Another favourite is aloo poori , puffed-up fried breads eaten with potato curry.


Ngapi is considered the cornerstone of any Burmese meal. It is used in a versatile manner in that it is used in soup base, in salads, in main dishes and also in condiments. Popular varieties depend on the region.

The ngapi of Rakhine State contains no or little salt, and uses marine fish. It is used as a soup base for the Rakhine 'national' cuisine, montdi . It is also used widely in cooking vegetables, fish and even meat.

In the coastal Ayeyarwady and Tanintharyi divisions, the majority of ngapi is instead based on freshwater fish, with a lot of salt. Ngapi is also used as a condiment such as ngapi yay , an essential part of Karen cuisine, which includes runny ngapi, spices and boiled fresh vegetables. In Shan State, ngapi is made instead from fermented beans, and is used as both a flavoring and also condiment in Shan cuisine.


Burmese cuisine is full of condiments, from sweet, sour to savory. The most popular are pickled mango, balachaung (shrimp and ngapi floss) and ngapi gyaw (fried ngapi) and preserved vegetables in rice wine (from Shan State). Ngapi plays a major part in condiments, as a dip for fresh vegetables.

Fermented beans, called pè ngapi, from the Shan State plays a major role in Shan cuisine. Dried bean ngapi chips are used as condiments for various Shan dishes.

Another bean based condiment popular amongst the Bamar and the central dry region is Pone Yay Gyi - a thick salty black paste made from fermented soy beans. It is used in cooking, especially pork, and as a salad, with ground nut oil, chopped onions and red chili. Bagan is an important producer of Pone Yay Gyi.


Myanmarhas a wide range of fruits, and most are of tropical origin. However, some notable Western fruits such as strawberries are also popular. Durian, guava and others are commonly served as desserts. Other fruits include mango, banana, jackfruit, plum, lychee, papaya, pomelo, water melon, pomegranate, mangosteen, sugar-apple and rambutan.

Notable dishes

  • Gyin thohk, ginger salad with sesame seeds
  • Khauk swè thohk, wheat noodle salad with dried shrimps, shredded cabbage and carrots, dressed with fried peanut oil, fish sauce and lime
  • Kat kyi hnyat, a southern coastal dish (from the Dawei area) of rice noodles with a variety of seafood, land meats, raw bean sprouts, beans and fried eggs comparable to pad thai
  • Kyay oh, vermicelli noodles in soup with pork offal and greens
  • Let thohk sohn, similar to htamin thohk with shredded green papaya, shredded carrot, ogonori sea moss and often wheat noodles
  • Mohinga, the unofficial national dish of rice vermicelli in fish broth with onions, garlic, ginger, lemon grass and sliced tender core of banana-stem, served with boiled eggs, fried fish cake (nga hpe) and fritters (akyaw)

  • Mont let saung, tapioca balls, glutinous rice, grated coconut and toasted sesame with jaggery syrup in coconut milk
  • Nan gyi thohk or Montdi, thick rice noodle salad with chickpea flour, chicken, fish cake (nga hpe), onions, coriander, spring onions, crushed dried chilli, dressed with fried crispy onion oil, fish sauce and lime
  • Ohn-no khao swè, curried chicken and wheat noodles in a coconut milk broth similar to Malaysianlaksa and Chiang Mai's khao soi
  • Sanwin makin, semolina cake with raisins, walnuts and poppy seeds
  • Shwe gyi mohnt, hardened semolina (wheat) porridge with poppy seeds
  • Shwe yin aye, agar jelly, tapioca and sago in coconut milk

Taken from wikipedia




Burma, officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar enjoys a predominantly monsoon, equatorial climate on the coast and a humid temperate climate in the extreme north. In formal occasions, lightweight tropical business suits for men and women conducting businesses in the country are appropriate.

For less formal occasions, smart trousers and a shirt and tie for men, or a skirt and blouse for women are sufficient.

Most Burmese men wear a traditional sarong referred to as a "longyi" with a western-style shirt. Women wear a similar outfit comprising a sarong with matching top. Most Burmese business people, however, will wear a western-style suit or shirt and tie when dealing with foreigners.

During informal meetings you can wear a smart shirt or blouse with a collar as an alternative to a jacket and tie.

The use of business cards is widespread in Myanmar and it is not uncommon for the owner of even the smallest tea-house or restaurant to present foreigners with his/her card.

Always distribute and receive cards with both hands as a sign of respect and always take a few seconds to read cards presented to you. Do not place a card immediately into your pocket or wallet. This is particularly important when dealing with Myanmar's sizeable Chinese community, many of whom dominate the country's commercial environment, particularly in the north, around the regional centre of Mandalay.

Burmese names are unique in that they cannot be classified as given names or surnames. Burmese people are given one name, often two or three syllables long, which denotes neither marital status nor family connections. Hence, it is quite common, for Burmese siblings to have entirely different names. Similarly, women do not take their husband's name when they marry.

When introduced to Burmese people, always refer to them by their full name, regardless of whether it is two or three syllables long. Do not shorten a Burmese name as this is considered inappropriate.

Burmese is a very polite language which contains around half a dozen honorific titles. The most commonly-used honorifics are U (as in U Nu) which means "Uncle" and is the approximate English equivalent of "Mr", and Daw (as in Daw Suu Kyi) which means "Aunt" and is the English equivalent of "Mrs", "Ms", or "Madam."

Government offices in Myanmar are generally open from 8am to 11am and then from around 2pm to 5pm.

Private businesses and shops usually keep longer hours.

The national currency is Kyat. Burma has a dual exchange rate system similar to Cuba.The market rate was around two hundred times below the government-set rate in 2006.Inflation averaged 30.1% between 2005 and 2007. Inflation is a serious problem for the economy. In recent years, both China and India have attempted to strengthen ties with the government for economic benefit. Many nations, including the United States and Canada, and the European Union, have imposed investment and trade sanctions on Burma. The United States has banned all imports from Burma. Foreign investment comes primarily from People's Republic of China, Singapore, South Korea, India, and Thailand.

Taken from:








Feefo logo

Quality Accreditations

BSL Interpreting Public Helpline


Check if your interpreter is booked or leave feedback.

Tell your friends and colleagues about our services

Recommend Pearl Linguistics

We are pleased to now offer customers who provide us with a referral a range of incentives from discounts on future work through to champagne or spa days depending upon the work referred.

Separate emails with a comma, limited to 10.


* a copy of this email will be sent to Pearl Linguistics
Subscribe to our newsletter and win prizes!

We compile a newsletter occasionally when we have significant news or information of interest to tell you. These could be anything from our company’s new services or achievements through to interesting information on the languages we work with as well as the related countries and cultures. You will also be the first one to know if we are running any discount campaigns.

Another reason to subscribe to the newsletter is that for each newsletter we hold a prize draw and randomly select a lucky subscriber to receive one of our great prizes such as

Pearl promises your information will never be shared with another party.

And you can easily unsubscribe at any time. Just enter your details below: