Myanmar, like most Asian countries, has a deep love for football. They proudly cheer on their men’s and women’s national teams and the younger generation follow the English Premier League. But the country’s two traditional sports- Chinlone and Lethwei- remain popular amongst people of all ages.

Chinlone can be played anywhere, anytime and this is one of the reasons it is so popular. A simple ball (actually chinlone translates in to round basket) woven of strips of rattan is the only equipment needed. Players stand in a circle and, using only their feet, knees, head and chest, pass the ball around with the goal of keeping it off the ground for as long as possible. The sport features more than 200 ‘moves’ for passing the ball. It is common to see groups of friends gathering in the early evening to play chinlone in the street or in front of their house. It is also a popular activity during Myanmar’s festivals and large competitions are sometimes arranged at pagodas.

Lethwei is a martial-art form similar to kickboxing. Lethwei is widely recognized as one of the toughest martial arts as it has fewer rules meaning that fighters can not only use punches and kicks but can also use their knees and heads. Fighters do not wear any protective gear except thin gloves over their hands. In traditional lethwei fights, the winner is declared after drawing blood three times or being knocked unconscious. The sport has been played for centuries but only recently were official rules put into place. As mixed-martial arts has gained popularity in other parts of the world, the interest in lethwei has grown and more and more people are playing.

The Wheel Travel can design a tailor-made Myanmar holiday that includes a visit to a lethwei gym or to see a chinlone match. These are great ways to experience local life- ask your guide or sales executive for more details.

Sar pi bi la? This simple phrase means ‘have you eaten’ and is used as a common greeting in Myanmar. The Myanmar people are passionate about food and the country is filled with delicious dishes. Street vendors offer some of the tastiest light bites, perfect for a quick afternoon snack! Here we share with you our top 5 favorite street snacks.

1- Mont Lin Ma Yar- These bite sized snacks are the perfect salty snack, any time of day. Rice powder and water are mixed together then poured in to a half-cylinder frying pan. Beans, chives and sometimes quail eggs are added to the batter as it cooks. Then, just before they are finished cooking, two halves are joined together thus giving them the name mont lin ma yar, meaning ‘husband and wife’.

2- Samosa Thauk- Myanmar has lots of great salads but this one is our favorite for a snack. The crispy-fried samosa are cut in to smaller pieces and tossed with cabbage, fried beans and other goodies. A ladle of broth is poured over the samosa to add a final layer of flavor.

3- Faluda- Faluda is a sweet milk-based drink that is similar to the Indian dessert of the same name. In Myanmar the milk is poured over ice, mixed with sugar and then with jellies, fruit syrup and sometimes bread mixed in. It is served with a spoon to make it easier to eat and is the perfect snack on a hot day.

4- Fruit- It may not be the most exciting sounding snack, but Myanmar’s fruit is some of the best in the world. Aside from the more common fruits like pineapples and bananas, Myanmar has fabulous mangos, mangosteens, rambutans, papaya and more! Most of the fruits are served with a dipping sauce combining salt, chili and sometimes fish paste!

5- E Cho Kway- These long sticks of fried dough are perfect alongside a cup of tea or coffee. Fried in huge vats of oil, the golden-brown dough comes out soft and chewy on the inside with just a slightly crisp covering. Although they are slightly salty, after a quick dip in your morning tea they soak up some of the sweetness and melt in your mouth.

Check out these five snacks and much more on The Wheel Travel’s Myanmar Culinary Tour.