Travel Snacks

Jan 08, 2018 in

Long distance buses which connect to other cities always make several stops alongside the road for the passengers to relieve themselves and to supply themselves with travel snacks or eat lunch at roadside stalls and food halls.

Now, the world of products did not really reach Myanmar yet, so the snacks you can buy for an overland journey are somewhat fresh and local.

Sometimes, when the buses only stop shortly to let passengers in or out, ambulatory vendors come running to the stopping bus to sell their snacks through the windows. I have already seen some exciting scenes where the bus already sped up again and the change was handed back to the passenger in a sprint.

Needless to say, Lena and I ate through (almost) the whole palette on our bus journeys in Myanmar :-)

Here are some impressions:

Tiny clementines, as big as plums, as well as cooked eggs, alternatively from chickens or from quails, are everywhere to be found.

(Fruit sellers on ဘုရားလမ်း (Pagoda Road) train station in Downtown Yangon.)

Another favourite were the cooked fresh peanuts, in the front of the picture. Peanuts are a type of bean, not nuts, in case you did not know. Fresh, they taste a bit different than dried, I’d say, a bit more rich.
Other fruits and vegetables in this picture (that you might not recognize yourself) is the sticky rice wrapped in those leaves, bamboo sprouts and in the back, (sweet-sour) mangos, guavas and apples. The latter, we believe, are imported from China.

If you buy fruits there, they will slice it into pieces, put it into a plastic bag for takeaway, add a wooden skewer and add spice mix on top. It may appear somewhat odd to spice fresh sweet fruit with some salty spice mix, but actually it is quite a good combination, once you adjust your expectation how a fresh fruit is supposed to taste.
I have seen this throughout all of East Asia. I remember that the first time I bought this, in India, through a bus window, I thought the fruit I just bought was covered in dirt or ants (it was night time) and so I felt ripped off and did throw it away. Now, I know better :-)

In terms of meat, we saw fried parts-of-a-chicken and tiny birds, fried as a whole. I guess, this falls under the same category as roasted chicken claws, a popular snack in China, available in every supermarket there. Buarghs.

Apart from the fresh stuff, there are also many unlabelled locally produced sweets and crisps, especially at the bigger bus stations, such as banana crisps (salty, of course), popped rice crisps and Mr. Tom-style peanut bars.