Burmese Food – SOFT TOFU SALAD (tofu thoke) on the Streets of Yangon, Myanmar!

Burmese Food - SOFT TOFU SALAD (tofu thoke) on the Streets of Yangon, Myanmar!
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One of the many street food dishes to eat in Yangon, Myanmar is a salad made from yellow Shan tofu, known as tofu thoke.

Years ago, on my first visit to Myanmar, I was confused as to what that yellow block of something was. I had thought it was cheese, because it looks like a giant wheel of cheese that the vendors sell. But I didn’t think cheese was so popular, and I didn’t think people would just eat a whole plate of cheese either. So I decided to just sit down at one of the street food carts, and order it. The vendor told me it was called tofu thoke, and said it was tofu, but I was still ultimately confused as to what it was – before this, tofu as I knew, was white and silky.

But fast forward a few years, and on my most recent trip to Yangon, I knew that the tofu was from the Shan state of Myanmar, and is a tofu made with chickpeas – that’s why it is so creamy and tasty. On my most recent trip, Ying and I decided to stop at one of the many street food mobile carts in Yangon for a quick bite to eat, two different salads.

When looking for street food to eat in Yangon, there are a number of different clues to look for. One of the common street food carts is a double basket carrier with a bamboo pole in the middle. On one side you’ll see a variety of noodles and that big block of cheese (it’s actually tofu) and on the other side you’ll see a bunch of different sauces that are used for dressing on the salads. Usually the chef sits right in the middle, between each part of the cart, and he / she will set up a wooden plank in the front of the stall to be used as bar front table. The only other thing you need is a few red plastic stools, and you’re good to go. When you see these signs and see an empty chair, that’s all the clues you need to grab a seat and order whatever you’d like.

I got the tofu salad, known as tofu thoke, and I also decided to order the green papaya salad, but I wasn’t sure what the name was, so I just pointed to the shredded green papaya and ordered one of that… however the vendor wanted to prepare it. He made the green papaya salad first, grabbing a handful of shredded green papaya and mixing it with a number of different seasonings and sauces for dressing. The green Myanmar green papaya salad tasted almost like it was dressed in a nutty, almost like a Japanese miso dressing. It was quite delicious.

Next, he got started making the tofu thoke, and first added a handful of slices chickpea tofu to a mixing bowl. He then added in a bunch of different seasonings as well, mixed it up, and then added kaffir lime leaves and fried shallots. The salad was nicely flavored, the zest from the kaffir lime leaves, and the crunch and fragrance from the delicious fried shallots. The yellow Shan tofu was creamy and thick, like harder pudding almost. I’m a huge fan of all kinds of tofu, and Myanmar yellow tofu is something I had never thought of as tofu until eating it in Myanmar.

Yangon is full of street food surprises, and one of the many things you can try is tofu thoke – it’s affordable, tasty, and interesting to eat.

Thank you very much for watching this video, hope you enjoyed it.

The music in this video is all from AudioNetwork.com

I’m Mark Wiens, an eater at: http://migrationology.com/blog & http://www.eatingthaifood.com/blog/
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About the Author: Mark Wiens


  1. Burmese tofu is so easy to make!!! Chickpea or garbanzo flour cooked like polenta, pressed into a mold at room temperature. Than unmold and take to the fridge.

  2. Had a hard time focusing on Mark, was paying attention to the action in the back with that girl trying to feed her boyfriend

  3. Hi there, any hygiene issues with the street food in Yangon? I’d go for hot cooked food, but also love to try their salad! You make the green papaya and tofu salad seem so delicious!

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