As Bagan has become a more popular tourist destination, the infrastructure has developed. The top restaurants, many in Old Bagan, tend to have their own restaurants but those who want to get out into the town to meet the locals during their Myanmar travel can find plenty of places to dine, and quite a diversity of cuisine. It may not be described as fine dining in many places but as a fertile region, with a river running past, there is plenty of fresh produce that can go into the food on offer. It is one of the real pleasures of an Indochina tour.
If your Myanmar tour packages allow for eating out, here are some ideas of places you might want to try. Nyaung has the most alternatives and Old Bagan the least, though that is where the resort restaurants are largely located.
If you want to eat like the locals, go to Nyaung U and sample the noodle soup and coffee for breakfast at Café Bagan; it’s on the market roundabout. Later in the day, which may be your preference, have chicken tikka or fish and chips.
Shwe Moe is a family-run place that is great for watching the daily activity in Nyuang U. Aubergine tempura with a cold beer is a favourite. San Kabar close by specialises in pasta dishes, as well as Chinese and Burmese fayre.
There are several eateries on Restaurant Row with Wonderful Tasty regularly mentioned by tourists; Burmese/Indian with plenty of side dishes in fairly basic surroundings.
Bagan Zay is a Swiss run bistro with plenty of local cuisine using only the freshest ingredients. La Terraza as the name suggests has generous servings of pasta with good local wine.In contrast, Black Bamboo is French but also serves Thai and Burmese food in the open air when weather permits.
All you will find in Old Bagan other than the resorts are a range of simple cafes east of Tharabar Gate. Moon has a simple vegetarian menu which others are now copying. Sit in the shade outside but forget the disappointing coffee! Starbeam Bistro has mainly outdoor seating and has a varied menu including salads and fruit.
There is a fairly rustic curry shop which is an experience; it is just a set of tables around an acacia tree. Finally, Fantasia Café on the river bank is a place for a daytime drink.
There is an equivalent to Restaurant Row in New Bagan;Khayea Pin Street. Black Rose is atraditionalcafé offering good curries and vegetarian dishes.Shwe Ou Food Garden has earned a reputation for its flavours of ice cream as well as having a menu with different main courses.Silver House Restaurant concentrates on local specialities like chicken curry and salads. You can sit in a pleasant outdoor area in the shade.Ma Mae Naing also offers classical local dishes as does Shwe Pauk Kan further down the road.
The other area in New Bagan is the riverside with Sunset Gardenand Green Elephant the pick of the restaurants. Naratheinkhadown Khayae Street from the Pagoda roundabout and taking a left may look fairly basic but the food is excellent.