Burmese cuisine has been influenced by Indian, Chinese and Thai cuisines as well as domestic ethnic cuisines. It is not widely known throughout the world and can be characterized as having a mildly spicy taste, with a limited use of spices. A typical Burmese meal consists of several meat curries, a soup, steamed rice and fermented sauce of preserved fish, along with vegetables for dipping. Condiments like balachaung, Indian-style pickles and pickled vegetables are commonly served alongside the course. Although fish sauce and shrimp paste are commonly used ingredients, as in other Southeast Asian cuisines, Burmese cuisine also makes extensive use of chickpeas, lentils and tamarind (used to add a sour flavour, unlike other regional cuisines that tend to use lime juice or vinegar).
Ethnic cuisines, in particular Shan cuisine, are also prominently found throughout Burma, as are Indian and Chinese dishes, particularly in urban areas. The de factoid national dish is mohinga , rice noodles in a rich fish soup. Salads , especially laphet thoke, which is a salad of pickled tea leaves, are also popular dishes. The Burmese traditionally eat with their fingers, although the usage of Western utensils and chopsticks have become more widespread, especially in towns and cities. Aside from rice, Indian breads like paratha and naan as well as noodles are also commonly eaten with dishes.