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Learn Myanmar Language in conversational and literary form. Learn to speak and read Burmese. The Free Online Colloquial Burmese (Myanmar language) lessons include Burmese script, MP3 audio, PDF files and easy Burmese grammar study materials with color-coded parts of speech: nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, conjunctions, particles, postpositional markers, and interjections.

Naing Tinnyuntpu Naing Tinnyuntpu is no stranger to systematic and efficient approach. He came from manufacturing environment with Bachelor's and Master's degree in Industrial Engineering (USA). His contributions to semiconductor industry include Administrative Quality Best Practices during his working years as a process engineer with Hewlett-Packard in Singapore. Born and raised in Yangon, he has lived in 6 countries and exposed to different cultures and knowledgeable in unrelated areas. This includes self-taught programming languages. Currently, he is contributing to Tourism in Myanmar by making his online Burmese lessons freely available and accessible to all.





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TONE REFERENCE TABLE
Audio Pronunciation
Ah1 "a" in "art" with silent "rt"
Ah2 "ar" in "Argentina" with silent "r"
Ah3 "ar" in "Artist" with slilent "r"
De1 "de" in "deep" with silent "p"
De2 "de" as in "demote"; "demand"
De3 "dee" as in "deer"; "decent"
Ko1 "colt" with silent "lt"
Ko2 as in "co-author"; "cocaine"
Ko3 "cold" wit silent "ld"
Yu1 "u" in "Youth" with silent "th"
Yu2 "u" as in "university"; "utensil"
Yu3 "u" as in "user"; "Unix"
Shan1 as in "shunt" with silent "t"
Shan2 "shun" as in "chandelier"
Shan3 as in "shun"
Au1 as in "auction"
Au2 as in "Australia";"auditor"
Au3 as in "August"
May1 "maize" with silent "ze"
May2 "may" as in "May I?"
May3 "ay" in "amazing"
Sin1 "sink" with silent "k"
Sin2 "sin" as in "sincerely"
Sin3 "sin" as in "sinful"; "Singapore"
Un1 "aunt" with silent "t"
Un2 "un" in "understanding"; "umbrella"
Un3 "un" as in "under"
Meare1 "melt" with silent "lt"
Meare2 "mel" in "Melbourne" with silent "l"
Meare3 "mare" of "nightmare"
Tain1 "taint" with silent "t"
Tain2 "tain" as in "Captain"
Tain3 "tain" as in "maintain"
Bine1 "Bryant" without "r"
Bine2 as in "carbine"
Bine3 as in "combine"
Dome1 as in "don't"
Dome2 close to "dominate"
Dome3 as in "dome"
Toon1 "doont" in "couldn't"
Toon2 "mon" in "monastery"
Toon3 "oon" as in "cartoon"
Koun1 "count" with silent "t"
Koun2 "coun" in "counter-strike"
Koun3 "coun" as in "counsel"
ate cake, jade, eight, paid, bake
et wet, set, mad, yet
oot cook, put, look
out out, south, mouse, doubt
ike/ite sight, pipe, night, dice, like
ut up, nut, sucks
oat oat, coat, goat, soak
it it, pit, sit

Restaurant Menu with Burmese Script

If you wine & dine in expensive hotel restaurants in Myanmar, you shouldn't have any problem ordering the food because they will have English speaking waiters as well as menu in English. However, if you're one of those tourists who venture on their own eating out in smaller eating houses and establishments, you may need some help in communicating with the waiters.

Of course, the best thing is to learn to say the menu items in Burmese. The easy way out is just to point out the Burmese words to the waiter. Here's exactly what you need. Download PDF file with Burmese Script and English Romanization using 1,2,3 Tone System

Food & drinks menu with Burmese Script

Revision: D
Revised Date: 2015-01-20
File Size: 132 KB
Number of Pages: 11

This PDF file contains Burmese, Chinese, Indian, Local Ethnic and European Menu for breakfast, lunch, dinner, as well as various snacks, appetizers, sauce & side dishes, soups, vegetable dishes, dessert, sweets, drinks & beverages.

CLICK TABLE HEADER COLUMNS TO SORT BY ASCENDING OR DESCENDING ORDER.

Restaurant Menu Items in Burmese (Sortable)
ENGLISH ↑↓ AUDIO ↑↓
Chicken Biryani kjet-tha3 dun2-bout
5 spiced Minced Pork tout-tout-kjau2
Stewed Beef Curry a-meare3-tha3 hin3
Spiced Mutton hsate-tha3 hin3
Fish curry nga3 hin3
Braised Hilsa nga1-tha1-lout poun3
Burmese Prawn dish ba1-zoon2 hin3
Steamed Crab ga1-nun3 poun3
Chili Lobster ba1-zoon2-htoat hin3
Roast Duck beare3 kin2
Roasted Pork Ribs wet-nun2-yo3 kin2
Spring Rolls gau2-byan1 kjau2
Sweet & Sour Pork cho2 chin2 kjau2
Sweet & Sour Fish nga3 cho2 chin2 kjau2
Deep fried Squid pyi2-ji3-nga3 kjau2
Crispy hot eels nga1-shin1 kjau2
Fried vege + pork wet-a-sain3 kjau2
Stirred Fried vegetable a-sain3 kjau2
Fried Gai-lan kite-lun2 kjau2
Fried vege + chicken kjet-a-sain3 kjau2
Fried Chicken kjet kjau2
Fried Rice hta1-min3 kjau2
Fried Noodle khout-hsweare3 kjau2
Fried Rice Vermicelli kja2-zun2 kjau2
Garlic Fried Noodle hsi2-jet khout-hsweare3
Fried Pork Meat Balls wet-tha1-lone3 kjau2
Minced Chicken balls kjet-tha1-lone3 kjau2
Gongbao diced Chicken kone3-boun2-ji3 kjau2
Fried Prawns ba1-zoon2 kjau2
Fried Chinese Sausage wet-u2-joun3 kjau2
Potatoes (fries or chips) ah2-lu3 kjau2
Dumpling (baozi) pout-si2
Dim Sum wet-tha1-boun3
Steamed rice+meat hta1-min3-poun3
Soup hin3-yay2
Tom-Yam (Sour) Soup yo3-da1-ya3 hin3-jo2
Shark Fins Soup nga1-mun3-toun2 hin3-jo2
Chicken Soup kjet-tha3 soot-pyoat
Vermicelli Soup kja2-zun2 hin3-kha3
Hot pot kjay3-o3
Rice Porridge hsun2-byoat
Noodle Soup khout-hsweare3 pyoat
boiled egg kyet-u1 pyoat
half-boiled egg kyet-u1 pyoat ma-kjet-da1-jet
Omelet kyet-u1 khout-kjau2
toast poun2-mone1 kin2
French toast kjet-u1 poun2-mone1 kjau2
bread poun2-mone1
Burmese fish rice noodle mone1-hin3-kha3
Coconut chicken noodle ome3-no1 khout-hsweare3
Noodle Vege Salad khout-hsweare3 thoat
Rice Vege Salad hta1-min3 thoat
Pork Rice noodle(mixian) myi3 shay2
Pickled tea leaves Salad la1-pfet thoat
Vegetarian food thet-thut-loot a-sa2
Muslim Halal food mu2-sa1-lin2 a-sa2
Note: The above list only shows selected menu items. For more complete list of Burmese food including various Myanmar snacks and sweets, please refer to the above PDF file.

Lesson 15: Ordering Food & Drinks in Burmese

lunch

As a foreigner in Myanmar, you will find it very useful to be able to order food and beverages in Burmese. You will have to pick up some vocabulary used in ordering food. Secondly, you need to understand some likely answers from the waiter. That's exactly what we are going to learn in this lesson.

The phrase "xxxx yah1 ma1 la3" MP3 Audio File is used to ask if something is available.

be2-ya2 yah1 ma1 la3" MP3 Audio File means "Beer available?"

The likely answers to that question are:

  • yah1 meare2 MP3 Audio File -- Yes, please wait (to get + future tense)

  • htine2 ba2 MP3 Audio File -- Please take a seat. (sit + suggestion)

  • ma1 yah1 bu3 MP3 Audio File -- Not available. (negative + available + negative ending)

  • kone2 byi2 MP3 Audio File -- has just run out. (run out + present state of condition)

  • kone2 thwa3 byi2 MP3 Audio File -- has run out for some time. (run out + gone + present state)

  • ma1 shi1 bu3 MP3 Audio File -- We don't have it. (negative + present + negative ending)

Myanmar Grammar Notes: yah1 is a verb in Burmese grammar, but it is roughly equivalent to the adjective "available" in English. yah1 ma1 la3" in English is "Is it available?" The actual meaning in Burmese is : "to get" + "can be done" + ? Another example: loat-lo1 yah1 ma1 la3" is a question of whether or not something can be done. ("do as this" + "can be done" + ?)

Why is it taking so long?

If you have ordered something for a while and it is taking a long time, you can ask:

not ready yet?

"xxxx ma1 yah1 thay3 bu3 la3"

or, simply "ma1 yah1 thay3 bu3 la3" without mentioning the food item.

Example:

khout-hsweare3 -- noodle (noun)
kjau2 -- to fry (verb)
ma1 -- not (particle)
yah1 -- to get (verb); to obtain (verb); roughly means "available"
thay3 -- yet (particle)
bu3 -- negative (particle)
la3 -- ? (particle)

khout-hsweare3-kjau2 ma1 yah1 thay3 bu3 la3 MP3 Audio File -- Fried noodles not ready yet?

The word kjau2 MP3 Audio File means "to fry" and khout-hsweare3 MP3 Audio File refers to noodles. So, khout-hsweare3-kjau2 MP3 Audio File means "fried noodles".

The likely answers you will hear are:

  • kha1-nah1 lay3 MP3 Audio File -- Please wait a while. (a short while [noun] + [particle] indicating small amount)

  • ma1 yah1 thay3 bu3 MP3 Audio File -- Still not available. (negative + to obtain + not yet + negative ending)

  • yah1 dau1 meare2 MP3 Audio File -- It will be ready soon. (available + indicating future action + future tense ending)

You can probably follow up with this response:

kja2 lite da2 MP3 Audio File -- Why is it taking so long?

kja2 MP3 Audio File means to be lengthy in time, or to take a long time. lite da2 means to the extreme degree.

You have to be careful with kha1-nah1 lay3 MP3 Audio File by the Burmese waiter asking you to wait a while. He will never tell you kja2 ome3 meare2, MP3 Audio File meaning it will take a long time, even if you ask him:

kja2 ome3 ma1 la3 MP3 Audio File -- Is it going to take long?

It all depends on how busy they are and which eatery you dine at.

Measure Words for food and drinks

You need to remember two primary measure words, also known as numerical classifiers. For food items, use pweare3, MP3 Audio File which can be soften to sound like bweare3. MP3 Audio File It means an order of something to eat. For drinks, use khwet MP3 Audio File meaning a glass or a cup.

Examples:

khout-hsweare3-kjau2 ta1-bweare3 MP3 Audio File -- a plate or an order of fried noodles

khout-hsweare3-kjau2 hna1-pweare3 MP3 Audio File -- fried noodles for 2 persons

khout-hsweare3-kjau2 thone3-bweare3 MP3 Audio File -- fried noodles for 3, and so on.

Please refer to Lesson 12 for numbers and measure words in details.

Similarly, you can say:

be2-ya2 ta1-khwet MP3 Audio File -- a glass of beer

be2-ya2 hna1-khwet MP3 Audio File -- two glasses of beer

Beer, alcohol, and liquors are available in a large number of eating houses and almost all up-scale restaurants that are licensed to sell alcoholic drinks. You can order local Myanmar draft beer in a glass or a jar cheaply. It is easy to remember the measure word for a jar. The same English word "jar" is used, and pronounced as ja3. be2-ya2 ta1-ja3 MP3 Audio File means one jar of beer, and it is about 5 glasses.

In some eating places, you will notice imported cold drinks in tin cans together with local soft drinks in glass bottles and purified drinking water in plastic bottles. They are usually kept inside a refrigerator with a glass door near the cashier's counter. You can have soft drinks like Coke, Pepsi, and Sunkist imported from Thailand. In 2013, Coca Cola manufacturing plant in Hmobi, a town north of Yangon, has started its operations. Coca Cola made a $200 million investment with a projected job creation of 22,000 over five years span. As of 2014, 1.25L bottle of Coke is sold for 700 kyat (approx. US 70 cent). Made in Myanmar Pepsi is also available in Myanmar now. (See Pepsi Cola Myanmar facebook page)

Tiger beer brand from Singapore is also available, but if you read the printing carefully, you will see that it is brewed and canned in Myanmar. Myanmar Beer also comes in tin cans.

Measure word for plastic bottles and tin can in Burmese is bu3, MP3 Audio File while pa1-lin3 MP3 Audio File is used for glass bottles.

Tiger be2-ya2 ta1-bu3 pay3 ba2 - Give me a can of Tiger Beer. (Tiger + beer + one + can + give + suggestion)

yay2-thun1 ta1-bu3 pay3 ba2 - Give me a bottle of mineral water. (water + clean + one + bottle + give + suggestion)

If you have an urge for a stronger alcohol content, you can order Whiskey or Rum in "peg". If you want the whole bottle, then say:

Whisky-ta1-ba1-lin3 pay3 ba2 - Give me a bottle of Whisky. (Whisky + one bottle + give + suggestion)

While in Myanmar, try Myanmar made Aythaya Wine and Grand Royal Whisky. Aythaya Wine produced by a team of German experts is the first Western style wine in Myanmar made with grapes grown in the village of ay3-tha2-ya2 MP3 Audio File located between Inle Lake and Taunggyi at the altitude of 1,300 meter above sea level.

Myanmar Aythaya Wine and Grand Royal Whisky

Grand Royal Whisky is the product of over 17 years of experience by Scottish Master Blender William Arthur.

Those are the affordable gift ideas. As for myself, I am always content with soft drinks or plain water for dinner.

As of April 2012, a bottle of Johnny Walker Black Label in Ocean supermarket is sold for around 20,000 kyat (around USD 25) (Note: there was no sales tax added in Myanmar at that time but tax is now included in the selling price with much higher sticker prices compared to a few years ago.)

Take Out Food

English word "parcel" is used in restaurant and eating houses in Myanmar for take out food packed in styrofoam boxes. It may not be correct English, just like "packet", which is a direct translation of "pau" in Mandarin Chinese is used in Singapore for the take out order.

Example:

khout-hsweare3-kjau2 ta1-bweare3 - pa2-hseare2 -- One fried noodles to go!

Alternatively, you can say :

pa2-hseare2 htoat pay3 ba2 -- Can you put it in the bag? (parcel + to pack + to give + suggestion)

Halal food for Muslims

You will find a number of packaged and processed food with "Halal" printing both in English and Arabic. That means they are approved by Islamic Religious Affairs Council in Myanmar. You normally don't expect a Chinese person to be a muslim, but some Chinese in Myanmar are Muslims, and you can ask the local people where you can get pan3-thay3 khout-hsweare3, MP3 Audio File a type of fried noodle similar to Mee Gorang in Malaysia and Singapore. Their spicy cooking style probably comes from the south-western part of China. You can also get Halal biryani rice with chicken and mutton. Those shops are usually owned by Indian Muslims, and some are wealthy enough to expand into chain-restaurants.

kjet-tha3 dun2-bout ta1-bweare3 -- One chicken biryani, please! (chicken + biryani rice + one + order)

sate-tha3 dun2-bout hna1-pweare3 -- Two mutton biryani, please! (mutton + biryani rice + two + order)

Eating Utensils

Normally, you have a choice of either a spoon and a fork or a pair of chop sticks. Go to an American KFC style fast food restaurant, and you will be surprised to be served with a knife and a fork. This will be a totally new experience if you have considered fried chickens to be "finger licking good!" In early July 2015, the real American KFC opened it's first branch in Yangon near the busy intersection of Bogyoke Aung San Road and Sule Pagoda Road.

KFC in Yangon

As for eating rice, just like other south east asian countries, a spoon using your right hand is supposed to scoop up the rice while use your fork in the left hand to push the rice into the spoon in front. This makes more sense and certainly more efficient than using a fork-- American style, or chinese chop sticks.

zoon3 neare1 kha1-yin3 pay3 ba2 -- Give me a spoon and a fork. (spoon + with + fork + give + suggestion)

tu2 pay3 ba2 -- Give me chopsticks. (chopstick + give + suggestion)

da3 yah1 ma1 la3 -- Can I have a knife? (knife + available + ?)

Burmese Food

For breakfast, Burmese people have peare3-pyoat, MP3 Audio File a type of pea steamed and fried with rice, or eaten with nun2-bya3, MP3 Audio File round baked staple food made from dough of flour. Ethnic Shan or Kachin people eat khau3-boat, MP3 Audio File which is a type of black sticky rice grounded and baked or fried. Ungrounded Burmese version of glutinous rice is called kout-hnyin3-poun3, MP3 Audio File which is served with the mixture of grounded sesame seeds and salt sprinkled over it.

Another breakfast or lunch item favorite with the Burmese people is mone1-hin3-kha3. MP3 Audio File If you have ever tried Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup or Malay Laksa, it is the same idea, except for that the soup base is made from a type of cat fish, and the rice noodle has a distinct fermented aroma.

The soup base of mone1-hin3-kha3 contains baked rice and pea flour, banana stem, hard-boiled duck eggs, onions, lemon grass and fish sauce. The fish is separately fried with minced garlic, onion, ginger, and turmeric powder until golden brown for the appetizing aroma, and added to the soup base. It is eaten with crispy fried onions or fried melon, and garnished with fresh cilantro (parsley), lime or lemon, and sprinkle a little chili powder before serving. It is my favorite; the ingredients of mone1-hin3-kha3 seem to raise the overall endocrine system of the human body and one bowl is never enough. But I have to warn you, if you are a Westerner not accustomed to the taste of fish gravy, you might not find it pleasant.

Then, you should try ome3-no1 khout-hsweare3, MP3 Audio File which is another soup-based noodle, but made with coconut milk, garlic, ginger, onions, hard-boiled eggs, pea powder, chili powder and chicken. It is closer to Malay Laksa.

Another of my favorite is khout-hsweare3-thoat, MP3 Audio File a kind of salad with the mixture of noodle, rice in chili oil, cabbage, bean sprout, green papaya, toufu, shredded dried shrimp flakes, mashed potatoes, fish sauce, tamarind sauce with garlic, and garnished with fried crispy garlic in oil. There are a number of decent restaurants specializing in Burmese food. Contact Asia Pearl Travels for details.

Food Poisoning & diarrhoea

Be forewarned about eating in unclean roadside stalls. For some reasons, local people seem to have developed immunity to unhygienic food preparations in some roadside stalls. Is the immunity in the Burmese gene? No, even returning Burmese living abroad have lost this immunity and develop stomach upset problems. For your own convenience, bring medication for diarrhoea if you want to be adventurous. On the other hand, outbreak of e coli, cholera or hepatitis will affect local and foreigners alike. Learn how to say, "I have a stomach ache" in lesson 21.

Menu Items

I think I have covered enough for you to be able to exchange a fairly good conversation with the waiter, and at the same time introduce you to the background of food in Myanmar. You will just have to build up some more vocabulary on the menu items. The main staple of Burmese is hta1-min3 | rice, MP3 Audio File which is eaten with dishes called hin3. MP3 Audio File

ba2 hin3 yah1 ma1 leare3 -- What do you have? or What dishes are available? (what + dish + available + choice word + ?)

To answer that question, I have listed the vocabulary of food menu items on the left side. Visit Myanmar with Asia Pearl Travels, and enjoy your meal!

CLICK TABLE HEADER COLUMNS TO SORT BY ASCENDING OR DESCENDING ORDER.

Drinks & Beverages in Myanmar(Sortable)
ENGLISH ↑↓ AUDIO ↑↓
coffee kau2-pfe2
Chinese green tea la1-pfet-yay2 kjan3
Red tea + milk + sugar la1-pfet-yay2
Orange juice lain2-mau2 yay2
Lime juice thun2-pa1-ya2 yay2
Lemonade shout pfyau2-yay2
Grass jelly drink kjout-kjau3 pfyau2-yay2
Prune juice zi3 pfyau2-yay2
Coconut water (juice) ome3 yay2
Sugar cane juice kjun2 yay2
Avocado juice htau3-pup-thi3 pfyau2-yay2
Pine apple juice na2-nut pfyau2-yay2
Passion fruit juice pin2-hmeare1 yay2
Tamarind juice ma1-ji3 pfyau2-yay2
Apple juice pan3-thi3 pfyau2-yay2
Water melon juice pfa1-yeare3-thi3 pfyau2-yay2
Lychee juice line2-chi3 pfyau2-yay2
Strawberry milk-shake sa1-tau2-beare2-yi2 no1-ay3
Fruit juice thi3-sone2 pfyau2-yay2
Yogurt dain2-chin2
Beer be2-ya2
Wine wine2
Alcohol / Liquor a-yet
Coca-cola ko2-ka2-ko2-la2
Pepsi pet-si2
Mineral water thout-yay2 thun1