The Burmese Restaurant & Library

If you've been in Chiang Mai for a while, there's a good chance you still haven't discovered the delectable hole in the wall known as the Burmese Restaurant and Library. And for those who have - you're a fan, aren't you? I've barely tried enough Burmese food in my lifetime, and this is where I should probably mention I've never even been to Myanmar. But Thailand is their neighbour (although not the friendliest of neighbours, if you do a smidgeon of research) and therefore, influences have crossed paths, cultures have entwined, and my favourite thing of all: a food fight of sorts has taken place over the long course of history, resulting in an abundance of unusual dishes that get me very excited.

Burmese cuisine is very much about influences, and share many elements of flavour from India, China and Thailand. Also, because of their diversities in religion and spiritual practices, much of Burmese food is missing beef and pork. Vegetarian dishes are common, although if you dig a little deeper, you will find they are most likely pescatarian, as Burmese cooking requires a heavy use of seafood products, such as fish sauce or shrimp paste. Another important note is that the bulk of Burmese soups are made of meat broth bases, yet the cuisine as a whole still contains very little meat - perhaps this is to do with the state of their meat industry? A little research led to me articles on frequent diseases among their pigs and chickens. Just a tad unappealing.

Anyway, let's get back to the good stuff. I've had Burmese dishes in Chiang Mai a number of times, and a few more times in Mae Sot, which is a town that sits on the Thailand/Myanmar border to the west. It's a place that is usually spoken of in the same sentence as Burmese refugees, as it has either 100k, 200k, or 300k, depending on which numbers you believe. Either way, there are a ton of them, and therefore this is a good place to experience the overpowering influence of Burmese culture, including their food. So, for someone who's had maybe twenty Burmese dishes in total, all of them in Thailand, it says a lot that I now call Burmese cuisine one of my favourites. I can't wait to get over there and explore more of their fresh, unique, creative dishes, but for now I'll just share the ones from the Burmese Restaurant and Library below:

Burmese Restaurant Breakdown:

Prices:Food: Absolute bargain at ฿30 for a dish, and ฿5 for a serving of rice.
Drinks: This is not that sort of place! You get free water, and there is a 7/11 next door where you could buy an iced tea or soda, which is what I usually do.
Location:Opposite the entrance to Nimmanheiman Road, Soi 13, or otherwise opposite The Salad Concept. A great location, right in the middle of Nimmanheiman, but very easy to miss.
Times:Open at random times, unfortunately. We've seen this place open until late at night sometimes, and then close at 4pm other days. It has also been closed without notice once or twice, but it is a popular lunchtime place with locals.
What makes the Burmese Restaurant special?It's got authentic, delicious Burmese food, of course! The actual place (or plastic chairs outside a food stall) is not very impressive, but the food more than makes up for it. This is also a great takeaway place on the way home, when you're in the mood for something that isn't Thai, but still as cheap!

View Market of Eden Vegetarian Restaurant Map in a larger map

Tea Leaf Salad - we think it's the best dish at this place.
Tamarind Salad at The Burmese Restaurant.
Tomato Salad. Fresh, vibrant flavours with peanuts for a crunchy texture.
Tea Leaf Salad. The flavours are so unusual, and it's packed with crispy beans, nuts and seeds.
About to feast!
Mango Salad - not quite ripe mango dressed in peanut sauce.
Pennywort Salad.
Another feast, all for ฿100.
I told you the place is not that glamorous...
The menu is only one page, and this is it!


  1. This place looks freakin' delicious! Burmese food is so surprisingly flavorful and developed. What looks like an average salad is action-packed with mouth watering goodness. And a huge meal for 2 at 100B??? You can't beat that. Great post tootz!

  2. Thank you! I love the food there, and the prices! And "tootz" was a great touch, haha ;)

  3. Awesome pics and great write up! We are definitely going to have to hit this place up soon. The Mango with peanut sauce looks awesome...and the prices = Amazeballs. Thanks!

    1. Ok, so we ended up going today after I picked Angela up from school. It was better than expected! We actually ordered 4 things to take away. Mango salad was excellent, as was the tea leave salad. Thank you again for the recommendation.

  4. Thanks guys! Glad you enjoyed it - I've never been disappointed by them. Excellent take-home food for dinner when you're sick of rich Thai curries and fried noodle dishes! The mango salad is strangely addictive, haha!

  5. Did you know they will sell you packets of laphet thoke (tea leaf salad) to take away to make at home? I think they are about 20 baht... something I didn't know when I spent three days fermenting tea leaves to make it at home! :-)

    1. Oooh! I must try that next time. Although I sort of like the humble ambiance of the place now =) It is hard to go past there and not stop for a salad or two!

  6. I have never had Burmese food: this looks really appealing. Love the photos of all the dishes, my mouth is watering.

  7. I love your insights into Burmese kitchen and Burmese influence in Thailand. Therefore you are now mentined in Chiang Mai's Restaurants and Food Stalls:
    Food prepared with love