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Buying Meat, Fruits, Vegetables, Eggs & Bread

If you decide to live in Yangon for an extended period like a number of foreign businessmen, sooner or later you will need to do some grocery shopping on your own. There are a number of supermarkets in Yangon like Ocean Supermarket, City Mart, and AEON Orange where you don't need to speak anything. However, if those supermarkets are not in the vicinity of your home, it will be much more convenient to rely on your neighborhood shops and markets to buy fresh fruits, meat, vegetables, bread and eggs.

City Mart Supermarket in Yangon

The Burmese word for market is

zay3. MP3 Audio File

If you can't go to zay3, then it will come to you. In many residential areas, the sellers go around the neighborhood with a big basket of meat, fish, and chicken balanced over their heads. Some fruits and vegetables sellers use trolley carts to push around the streets and cry out what they are selling using their trademark sales pitch.

You may not always understand what they are shouting even if you know some Burmese. Even Burmese like me sometimes don't know what they are shouting. In one case, I heard someone selling

ga1-nun3 dway2.. ga1-nun2 dway2..

I ran out to catch the seller expecting some fresh or cooked crabs but it turned out to be the print out results of the state lottery.

ga1-nun3 in Burmese also means "numbers".

If you don't know what's inside the basket, just ask:

ba2 - What

pa2 - accompany

leare3 - ?

ba2 pa2 leare3

What are you carrying? What do you have there?

(what + accompany + ?)

The respond will be something like:

kjet tha3 pa2 deare2...

I have chicken... (chicken + accompany + affirmation)

nga3 pa2 deare2...

I have fish... (fish + accompany + affirmation)

wet tha3 pa2 deare2...

I have pork... (pork + accompany + affirmation)

You may still not understand the person if you have a limited vocabulary. Don't worry. Just say:

kji1 chin2 deare2

Let me have a look. (look + want + affirmation)

kji1 means "to look".

kji1 chin2 is the desire to look.

kji1 chin2 deare2 can also be translated as "I want to look." But, the feeling tone is not so blunt as such. It's more like, "Let me have a look."

The seller will put the basket down and you can take a look what's inside. If whatever inside is not what you want, say:

ma1 - negative (particle)

weare2 - buy (verb)

thay3 - yet to be (particle)

bu3 - negative ending (particle)

ma1-weare2 thay3 bu3

Not buying this time.

(negative + buy + yet to be + negative ending)

If you are interested, the next logical step is to ask the price:

beare2 lo2 youn3 dtha1-leare3

How much are you selling? (How + sell + ?)

or, simply ask:

beare2 lout leare3How much?

Weight & Measurements

How much are you selling?

In supermarkets, kilogram is used to measure weight for meat, cooked food, fruits and other food stuff such as bags of rice. The local weight scale used in neighborhood shops and markets is called

pate-tha2 MP3 Audio File — viss, which is divided into 100

kjut-tha3MP3 Audio File — ticals.

If you buy

da1-bate-tha2 MP3 Audio File — one viss

of meat, you will get about 3.6 lb (1.6 kg), which is simply too much for a typical Burmese family who buys fresh vegetables, fish or meat almost every day. if you ask:

beare2 lo2 youn3 dtha1-leare3" MP3 Audio File — how much are you selling ?

the seller will reply you in terms of

kjut-tha3, which is shortened as



a-meare3-dtha3 beare2 lo2 youn3 dtha1-leare3

How much do you sell the beef?

(beef + how + sell + ?)


Updates: 10 tha3 of beef that cost 600 Kyat in 2012 shot up to 900 Kyat in December 2014, 1000 kyat in June 2015, and remained the same as of July 2016 in Yangon.

The price of chicken relative to beef and pork came down and cost about 700 Kyat. Pork, depending on which part, cost around 700 to 900 on the average in July 2016. The meat part without fat was around 1100 Kyat and spare ribs were 550 Kyat. The premium spare ribs with soft bones were expensive and ordered by hotels and restaurants in advance, so you would not find it in the market.

Despite the inflation which went past 8.5% in mid 2019, the price of chicken remained stable and cost about the same as in 2016.
Myanmar Grammar Notes: Question words such as beare2 lo2 and beare2 lout can be either pronoun or adjective depending on the sentence. In the above question, beare2 lo2 is a clear reference to a-meare3-dtha3 (noun) so, it is an adjective. If the word da2 - pronoun "this" is used in place of beef, beare2 lo2 becomes a pronoun.

You will get the same answer if you ask:

ta1-hseare2 dtha3 beare2 lout leare3

How much for 10 tha3 ?

(10 + ticals + how much + ?)

Sometimes, you may hear the word ba2 appended to the answer to soften the tone.

chout ya2 ba2Oh, it's 600.

Please refer to Lesson 2 for the use of the word "ba2".

Unlike in the supermarkets, fruits and some vegetables in neighborhood markets are sold in quantity, bunches, or in bundles.


tha1-yet thi3 beare2 lo2 youn3 dtha1-leare3

How much do you sell the mangoes?

(mango + how + sell + ?)

thone3 lone3 ta1-htoun2

3 for 1,000. (3 + unit for fruits + 1 + thousand)

Updates: The price of mangoes as of June 2015 cost about the same as they were in 2012. The more expensive export (to China) variety called "sain2 ta1-lone3" were sold 3 for 2000 Kyat in 2016 rainy season and 800 in 2019.

kjet u1 beare2 lo2 youn3 dtha1-leare3

How much do you sell the eggs ?

(chicken + egg + how + sell + ?)

ta1-lone3 ta1 ya2 ba2

1 for 100. (1 + unit for eggs + 1 + hundred)

Updates: The price of an egg (medium to large size) as of June 2015 cost around 120 Kyat and remained stable at this price in July 2016 while duck eggs were sold 150 Kyat each. In early 2019, the value of 1000 Kyat was worth 6 chicken eggs.
Myanmar Grammar Notes: ta1-lone3 refers to the quantity of eggs without mentioning the word "egg" (noun) so, it is a pronoun. On the other hand, ta1-lone3 in kjet u1 ta1-lone3 is an adjective.

mone2-nyin3 beare2 lo2 youn3 dtha1-leare3

How much do you sell the mustard greens?

(mustard greens + how + sell + ?)

thone3-zi3 hna1-ya2 ba2

Oh, its 200 for 3 bundles.

(3 + bundles + 2 + hundred + polite ending word)

2015 Updates: The prices of some vegetables such as watercress, spinach, green pepper, cucumber, and tomatoes are relatively stable and abundantly available. But, there appear to be less amount in the size of the bundle.

2016 Updates: Roselles (chin2-boun2) are most affordable with 50 Kyat a bundle, while watercress (ga1-zoon3 ywet) are fresh and abundant at 100 Kyat a bundle. Djenkol bean (da1-nyin3-dthi3) is 50 each. Those three are luxury items for Overseas Burmese people who are dying to have those, and pay high price in some other countries if available at all.

2019 Updates: Mustard greens are 100 for 1 bundle.

Although the phrase:

beare2 lo2 youn3 dtha1-leare3

sounds more colloquial for an item that the seller can mark up the price and sell it as he or she wishes, the phrase

beare2 lout leare3 - How much?

sounds more natural for items with more or less fixed prices, such as bread that is distributed by the wholesaler.

poun2-mone1 beare2 lout leare3

How much is bread ? (bread + how much + ?)

How much for any item?

If you don't know the name of the item or its measure word (unit) in Burmese, there is an easy way out:

da2 beare2 lout leare3

How much is this? (this + how much + ?)

Poultry, Beef, Pork, & Seafood

You are almost certain to get

nga3 MP3 Audio Filefish

everyday from the neighborhood shops and sellers who go around the residential areas. In special occasions, Burmese people


nga1-tha1-louthilsa fish

for several hours until bones are tender and can be eaten. If you want to try out the taste of

nga1-tha1-lout poun3 MP3 Audio Filesteamed hilsa

you can buy it in the canned food sections of the supermarkets (and even in neighborhood shops) on the same shelves as tuna and sardine.

Hilsa is found in the rivers of Myanmar and Bangladesh. It is oily and somewhat like Salmon. Polyunsaturated fatty acids found in Hilsa is healthful for human consumption just like Salmon fish. Contrary to popular Burmese belief, a study has shown that eating Hilsa will not increase the blood pressure (because its oily) , but will reduce the cholesterol level. Here's a link:

Average Burmese will be familiar with

nga3-thit-ta2 nga3 MP3 Audio Filesardine

both fresh and in tin cans, but imported tuna is much more expensive, and can only be bought in tin cans.

Some Burmese Buddhists avoid taking

a-meare3-dtha3 MP3 Audio Filebeef

which is probably an Indian Hindu tradition. Another reason could be that for generations, cows and bulls are used in the fields for growing crops and for transportation that they are considered

kjay3-zu3 shin2

(someone or something to be thankful for.)

ba1-zoon2 MP3 Audio Fileprawns

and smaller

ba1-zoon2 zate MP3 Audio Fileshrimps

are abundant in Myanmar, and you can get those fresh from the markets. There are shrimp farms in Myanmar, but since shrimp farming is a lucrative business for export with more profits, fresh seafood you get from the local markets are most likely from the rivers and coastal areas caught by the fishing boats.

beare3 dtha3 MP3 Audio Fileduck

is less common than

kjet tha3 MP3 Audio Filechicken

and they are often bony. However, you can easily get

beare3 u1 MP3 Audio Fileduck eggs,

which the Burmese use for cooking

mone1-hin3-ga3 MP3 Audio File — Burmese favorite for breakfast with rice noodle in fish gravy.

If you have craving for Chinese Peking roasted ducks, the best is to go to restaurants like Golden Duck where you can get ducks with more meat than bones.

There are two types of

kjet MP3 Audio Filechicken.

The first type is grown in big chicken farms and those come in the same size as in Western countries. Those big size chicken are called

mway3-myu2-yay3 kjet MP3 Audio Filepoultry farm chicken.

Second type is

ba1-ma2 kjet MP3 Audio FileBurmese chicken

preferred by some people for its "sweet" taste.

The first type for big farm chicken is better known as

PC kjet, which by the way, is fried and barbecued chicken franchise brand name called "PC" from Thailand with outlets all over the places.

There is a Burmese saying: When it comes to meat, pork is the best; for fruit, mango is the one; pickled-tea is chosen among the leaves.

wet tha3 MP3 Audio Filepork

is sold in different prices. The most expensive part is meat only without any fat. But, the price difference is not that substantial.

Interestingly, some Burmese also avoid taking pork just like Muslims. When I was young, for example, you could not bring pork to Mount Popa because local people believed that certain Nats (supernatural beings) like shway2-pfyin3-ji3 and shway2-pfyin3-ngeare2 the two sons of byut-ta1 who was a Muslim seaman during King A-nau2-ra1-hta2 time disapproved of it. I am not sure if this custom has changed, but it does make sense to avoid animal fats for health reasons.

Fruits & Seasons

Fruit seller in Yangon

Myanmar has three seasons. The cooler "tourist" season is from October to March when nights are pleasantly cooler than hot summer months from April to about June. You can expect heavy rains and thunder storms from June to September. The rain seems to be heaviest around July, and then tapered off towards the end of October.

You can get

sa1-tau2-beare2-ri2 MP3 Audio Filestrawberry,

za1-byit thi3 MP3 Audio Filegrapes

pan3 dthi3 MP3 Audio Fileapples

kjweare3-gau3 dthi3 MP3 Audio Filegrapefruits


lite-chi3 MP3 Audio Filelychee

grown in highland regions during those "tourist" seasons when the temperature could drop below freezing point in some parts of the country.

Around Christmas to Chinese New Year, you can get oranges and tangerines of different sizes, types, and names.

If you visit Myanmar during the rainy season, you can eat

tha1-yet thi3 MP3 Audio Filemangoes

all you want, and they are not expensive like in the US or Canada. You can also get durians during summer till the end of the year. Rainy season is the season of fruits when you can have your stomach filled with

na2-nut thi3 MP3 Audio Filepineapples

min3-goot dthi3 MP3 Audio Filemangosteen

au3-za2 dthi3 MP3 Audio Filecustard apples

met-moon2 dthi3 MP3 Audio Filepeaches

thit-tau2 thi3 MP3 Audio FileAsian pears

ma2-la1-ka2 thi3 MP3 Audio Fileguavas

pain3-neare3 dthi3 MP3 Audio Filejack fruits

zi3 dthi3 MP3 Audio Fileplums


kjet-mout thi3 MP3 Audio Filerambutans

There seems to be two seasons for

pfa1-yeare3 dthi3 MP3 Audio Filewater melons.

You can get it in the summer till the start of rainy season, and again around October to December.

You can get papayas and bananas in all seasons. Bananas are sold by the bunch. In some small roadside shops, you can buy just one or two bananas if you don't want the whole bunch.

Grapes and a type of small size oranges called

pya3 lain2-mau2 MP3 Audio Fileclementine

are weighed, and strawberries are sold by the basket or in plastic containers. Bigger fruits like durians, and pineapples are sold by a single quantity, whereas mangoes are sold in either single quantity or in the quantity of 3 or 5.

Grocery Items and Cooking Ingredients

You can get eggs, bread and grocery items in neighborhood shops and corner stores. But, be sure to stock up enough food (especially bread) before thin3-jan2 (water festival) and Burmese New Year in mid April. Shops will be opened for limited hours if not closed for a few days. Also beware of price hike ups for items like fish and meat just before the shut down.

Rice, Cooking Oil and Soya Sauce in Burmese

Smaller Change

It must have been a long, long time since Burmese people last used coins. In the past, Kyat ( pronounced kjut with silent "t" ) was divided into 100 pya (pronounced pya3.) Pyas were coins, such as 5 pya, 10 pya, 25 pya, and 50 pya coins.

Due to inflation that had shot up several folds in the 1980's, the smallest denomination you see today are 5 kyat notes, and 10 kyat notes. They are sometimes stapled together in 50 kyat amount; only then they become a meaningful amount to buy anything at all, or to return as a small change. As of 2014, even those have disappeared, and the smallest note you see is 50 kyat note.

Burmese kyat notes in the denominations of 50 kyat, 100 kyat, and 200 kyat notes are considered small changes, and called

a-kjway2. MP3 Audio File

Those small notes used to be notoriously dirty, worn-out and in sorry conditions, but in the year 2011, the government banks have started to replace those with newly printed notes.

Shopkeeper to the customer:

a-kjway2 pa2 la3

Do you have small change with you?(small change + accompany + ?)

Customer to vegetables seller:

a-kjway2 un3 nine2 la3

Are you able to return change?

(small change + to return change + able to + ?)

Here's how the question of small change should be answered:

a-kjway2 pa2 deare2

I have small change.

(small change + accompany + affirmative)

a-kjway2 ma1-pa2 bu3

I didn't bring any change.

(small change + not + accompany + negative ending)

a-kjway2 ma1-shi1 bu3

I don't have any change.

(small change + not + present + negative ending)

a-kjway2 ma1-un3 nine2 bu3

I cannot return small change.

(small change + not + to return change + able to + negative ending)

In that case, you will end up buying something extra to make the total amount closer to the multiple of 1,000 kyat notes. As a last note on the subject of small notes, don't be surprised if the shopkeeper gives you some sweets in place of the change.

Myanmar 50 Kyat Note

Color Codes: nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, conjunctions, particles, postpositional markers, interjections.

Read this page with Myanmar Script


List of Fruits (Sortable)
Apple pan3 dthi3 🍎
Asian Pear thit-tau2 dthi3
Avocado htau3-but thi3 🥑
Bael fruit / Stone Apple oat-shit thi3
Banana nga1-pyau3 thi3 🍌
Carambola / Star Fruit zoun3-lya3 dthi3
Clementine pya3-lain2-mau2
Country Fig ga1-doot thi3
Custard Apple au3-za2 dthi3
Coconut ome3 dthi3 🥥
Damson met-mun3 thi3
Dates soon2-ba1-loon2 dthi3
Dragon fruit na1-ga1-mout thi3
Durian du3-yin3 dthi3
Fig tha1-pfun3 dthi3
Grapes za1-byit thi3 🍇
Grapefruit / Pomelo kjweare3-gau3 dthi3
Guava ma2-la1-ka2 thi3
Hog Plum gway3-jo2 dthi3
Jackfruit pain3-neare3 dthi3
Lychee lite-chi3
Malay Rose Apple hnin3 dthi3
Mango tha1-yet thi3 🥭
Mangosteen min3-goot dthi3
Marian ma1-yan3 dthi3
Morinda yeare3-yo2 dthi3
Muskmelon / honeydew tha1-khwa3-hmway3 dthi3 🍈
Myanmar Grapes ka1-na1-so2 dthi3
Orange / tangerine lain2-mau2 dthi3 🍊
Papaya thin3-bau3 dthi3
Passion fruit pin2-hmeare1 dthi3
Peach met-moon2 dthi3 🍑
Persimmon teare2 dthi3
Pineapple na2-nut thi3 🍍
Plum zi3 dthi3
Pomegranate tha1-leare3 dthi3
Rambutan kjet-mout thi3
Strawberry sa1-tau2 beare2-ri2
Water Chestnut kjweare3-goun3 dthi3
Watermelon pfa1-yeare3 dthi3 🍉
Poultry, Beef, Pork, Mutton & Seafood (Sortable)
Beef a-meare3 dtha3
Carp nga1-myit-chin3
Catfish nga1-khu2
Catfish (small) nga1-ji3
Caviar (salted roe) nga3 u1
Chicken kjet tha3
Clam khone3 goun2
Congereel nga1-shway2
Crab ga1-nun3
Cuttlefish kin3-moon2
Duck beare3 dtha3
Eel nga1-shin1
Featherback nga1-pfeare2
Fish nga3
Garfish nga1-pfoun2-yo3
Globe Fish nga1-pu2-din3
Goose beare3 ngan3
Intestine u2
Hamilton's Carp nga1-jin3
Hilsa nga1-tha1-lout
Prawn ba1-zoon2
Liver, heart, gizzard a-theare3 a-myit
Loach nga1-tha1-leare3 hto3
Lobster ba1-zoon2 doat
Mackerel nga1-koon3-shut
Mutton hsate tha3
Oyster ka1-ma2
Perch kut-ka1-dit
Pomfret nga1-moat
Pork wet tha3
Red-eyed gudgeon nga1-jin3 myet-hsun2-ni2
Roe nga3 u1
Salmon pin2-leare2 nga1-tha1-lout
Sardine nga3-thit-ta2 nga3
Shrimp ba1-zoon2 zate
Snakehead fish nga1-yun1
Squid pyi2-ji3 nga3
Star fish kjeare2 nga3
Tuna fish nga1-meare3-lone3
Venison hsut tha3
List of Vegetables and Roots (Sortable)
Arrowroot ah2-da2-loot thi3
Asparagus ka1-nyoot
Bamboo shoots hmyit
Basil pin2 zain3
Bean sprouts peare3 pin2-bout
Bell pepper nga1-yoat bwa1
Bitter Melon/ Bitter Gourd kjet-hin3-ga3 dthi3
Bok Choy mone2-nyin3 byu2
Broccoli pan3-gau2-be2 zain3 🥦
Cabbage gau2-be2 doat
Carrot (red) mone2-la2-u1 ni2 🥕
Carrot (white) / radish mone2-la2-u1 byu2
Cauliflower pan3 gau2-be2
Celery Stalk ta1-yoat nun2-nun2
Chayote gau2-ra1-kha3 dthi3
Chilli nga1-yoat thi3
Cilantro / Coriander nun2-nun2 bin2
Concinna leaves hsu3-boat ywet
Corn / maize pyoun3 bu3 🌽
Cucumber tha1-khwa3 dthi3 🥒
Djenkol bean da1-nyin3 dthi3
Drum stick; Moringa oleifera dun1-dtha1-loon2 dthi3
Eggplant/ Brinjal/ Aubergine kha1-yan3 dthi3 🍆
Green pepper nga1-yoat cho2
Kai Lan kite-lun2
Lady's finger / Okra yone3-ba1-day2 dthi3
Lettuce hsa1-lut ywet
Marrow kjout pfa1-yone2 dthi3
Melon / Gourd bu3 dthi3
Mint pu2-di2-na2 (pu2-si2-nun2)
Mushroom hmo2 🍄
Mustard greens mone2-nyin3
Pennywort myin3-khwa2 ywet
Pumpkin shway2-pfa1-yone2 dthi3
Ridged gourd kha1-weare3 dthi3
Roselle chin2-boun2
Snake Gourd bone2-lone2 dthi3
Spinach hin3 nu1-neare2
Spring Onion / Leek kjet-thoon2-mate
Sweet Potato ga1-zoon3 u1
Tamarind leaves ma1-ji3 ywet
Tomato kha1-yan3-jin2 dthi3
Taro pain3 u1
Water-crest(Kang Kong) ga1-zoon3 ywet
List of Seeds and Nuts (Sortable)
Cashew nut thi2-ho2 zi1
Chestnut thit-cha1 dthi3
Indian almond ba2-dun2 dthi3
Peanut myay2 beare3
Sunflower seed nay2-kja2 zi1
Walnut thit-kja3 thi3
Water-melon seed kwa2 si1
Rice, Bean, Staples, Cooking Ingredients & Spices (Sortable)
Aniseed sa1-mone2 za1-ba3
Baking powder hsau2-da2
Basil pin2-zain3
Bay leaf ka1-ra1-way3 ywet
Bean peare3
Black cumin sa1-mone2 net
Cardamom seed pfa2-la2 zi1
Chilli powder nga1-yoat-thi3 hmome1
Chilli sauce nga1-yoat hsi2
Cinnamon thit-ja1-bo3 khout
Clove lay3-hnyin3 bwin1
Coconut milk ome3 no1
Cooking oil hsi2
Cumin zi2-ya2
Curry powder ma1-hsa1-la2
Dried Shrimp ba1-zoon2 jout
Eggs kjet u1
Fennel sa1-mone2 za1-ba3
Fish sauce ngan2-bya2 yay2
Five-spiced powder ta1-yoat ma1-hsa1-la2
Flour (wheat) jone2 hmone1
Garlic kjet-thoon2 byu2
Ginger jin3
Gram ka1-la1-beare3
Lemon grass za1-ba1-lin2
Lemon leaf shout ywet
Lentil peare3-ni2 lay3
MSG a-cho2 hmone1
Olive oil thun2-lwin2 zi2
Onion kjet-thoon2 ni2
Oyster sauce kha1-yu1 zi2
Palm oil sa3 ome3-zi2
Pea flour peare3 hmone1
Peanut oil myay2-beare3 zi2
Pepper nga1-yoat-goun3
Potato ah2-lu3
Rice hsun2
Rice flour hsun2 hmone1
Salt hsa3
Seasoning powder kjet-tha3 hmone1
Seaweed kjout-pwin1
Sesame oil hnun3 zi2
Soya Sauce (thick) kja2-nyo1
Soya Sauce (thin) peare3 ngan2-bya2-yay2
Spices hin3-khut a-hmway3 a-kjine2
Tapioca powder pa1-lau3-pi2-nun2 hmone1
Tumeric hsa1-nwin3
Vinegar sha2-la1-ka2 yay2