Mama Dosa – A Meal Fired on the Streets of Burma

By Mark Wiens 49 Comments
Indian Dosa in Burma
Indian Dosa in Burma

There’s nothing better than a home cooked meal.

In almost any country I visit, there’s one (or more) of those sweet lady’s that serves a dish where the power of their motherly hands radiates with love through their irresistible cooking.

Mama Chapati in Morogoro, Tanzania had seduced me and Mama Mumtaz with her Zanzibari Mix had filled me with joy that could only be the result of a freshly prepared recipe by a motherly figure.

Mama Dosa – Yangon, Burma (Myanmar)

Dosa in Myanmar
Mam Dosa - Checking the Flames

It was almost a torturous personal moment as I waited on a plastic stool on the street of Yangon and watched Mama Dosa as she spread a ladle of batter on the flaming iron skillet and let it linger.

The painful test of patience was merely 20 seconds yet as the smoke billowed from the charcoal and the smell drifted towards my nose, it felt like an eternity.

I was so excited I couldn’t control myself, vainly attempting to ease my restless legs with my mouth already watering.


Dosa, Myanmar
Adding Oil to the Dosa

Part of the reason Burmese cuisine is so fascinating is because of its unique mixture of food that includes many Indian and Bangladeshi specialities.

A dosa is basically a thin pancake that is cooked on a griddle and served along with an array of curries for dipping flavor. This dosa on the streets of Yangon came with a little bit of daal, a creamy spiced curry and a little bit of Indian style pickles.

Dosa Yangon
About To Dig In!

As soon as the dosa was brought to the little plastic table, nothing else really mattered. The boisterous calamity of the streets of Yangon went silent as my eyes focused on the piping hot dosa laid before me.

It was more than I had expected. The dosa, along with the street atmosphere and the expert cooking technique all added up to a dosa that was truly magnificent.

After licking my metal plate clean, I knew what I absolutely had to do: Order another round!



49 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • Gerard ~ GQ trippin

    6 years ago

    So glad I found this site because I love street food. Can’t wait to try some good streets eats all over Asia next year.

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hey Gerard, glad to hear you are also a street food fanatic! Though there is good street food all over the world, the Asian continent really stole me heart for food!

  • Mica

    6 years ago

    I had one of these in Kuala Lumpur, at a ferry terminal. It was a sweet one, filled with strawberry jam and another one with chocolate…so yum!!!!! Yours looks amazing! Were the curries spicy? My spice buds are so underdeveloped!

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hey Mica, those sweet ones sound good too. The curries were not overly hot, but they were well spiced. This was sort of a morning dosa, so I think it was quite mild to start the day off!

  • Arti

    6 years ago

    Hi Mark,
    Coming from India. I love Masala Dosa, its one of my favorite dishes! Crisp and light, its a great dish to have at any time of the day.
    My first visit to your blog, look forward to many more.
    Have a fabulous Sunday:)

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hey Arti,
      Thanks for the comment. I haven’t been to India yet, but I’m sure the masala dosas there are truly amazing as well. Thanks for visiting my blog and look forward to checking yours out as well!

  • Traveling Ted

    6 years ago

    I love the way your writing captures the anticipation of waiting for the food. It is also contagious as now I want a dosa.

  • jenjenk

    6 years ago

    that looks seriously amazing. it is just my style!! love street food!

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Awesome Jen, I know you love street food as well!

  • Alex

    6 years ago

    Mark I should never read your blog right before dinner. Now Im craving for this delicious meal and i have no idea where to find it in Berlin!!

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Haha, thanks Alex – hope you can find something good in Berlin!

  • flipnomad

    6 years ago

    looks delicious! i think it’ll taste good with some sweet spreads like peanut butter or chocolate

  • Nomadic Samuel

    6 years ago

    Nothing beats a good Dosa!

  • Gladys | ByahengBarok.com

    6 years ago

    looks delicious… it’s street food, so it must be! 🙂 i love ’em 🙂

  • Nicole

    6 years ago

    We have the best dosa place by our house here in Vancouver. On monday night they offer all dosas for $5.99!…..we spend a lot of our Mondays eating there 🙂

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Sounds great Nicole – I would be there on Monday nights too!

  • Claire

    6 years ago

    Somehow, I clearly missed this delightful little snack when I was Burma. Burma for me marks the first and the last time that I ate dog meat. Where was this slice of heaven when I was staring at that plate??!! Seriously, I wish I had better food memories of Burma, because I left there both times thinking the food sucked. Glad to hear it’s not true!

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Thanks for the comment Claire. I didn’t even see dog meat when I was there… I only spent time in Yangon though, haven’t been to other parts of the country, but I was able to find some really great food in Yangon. Hope you’ll find some “dosas” next time!

  • Jim

    6 years ago

    Street food, no matter what, has to be the best, cheap, tasty, fresh and right in the heart of all that’s going on.

  • Christy @ Ordinary Traveler

    6 years ago

    I really want to try this now!

  • Fida

    6 years ago

    Dosa’s are my all-time favored food. I could eat them morning, noon and night. At the moment I have to do with my own, though I NEVER mange to make them as thin as they should be.

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Awesome to hear that Fida, I’m sure you make a delicious dosa!

  • The Travel Chica

    6 years ago

    I’ve never eaten food like this, but it looks fantastic. I have come to discover that street food is usually the best.

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Right about that – eating street food around the world is probably my all-time favorite activity in life. Hope you get to sample a dosa soon!

    • Manoj

      3 years ago

      Chika wouldn’t have visited India. Mark was here!

  • Jeremy Branham

    6 years ago

    The dosa looks delicious!

  • robin

    6 years ago

    Yummy!

  • Scott – Quirky Travel Guy

    6 years ago

    The dosa looks enticing. I would probably like the pickle sauce best.

  • Renee King

    6 years ago

    There is something special about eating food that you know was prepared with love and you can taste it! There are so many competing flavors that you can’t decide which one your taste buds like better. Yum! It does look delicious, Mark.

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Thanks Renee, the love from food really comes through! I love the competition of strong flavors all combined into a single meal!

  • Michael Figueiredo

    6 years ago

    That looks delicious! 🙂

  • Technosyncratic Travel Blog

    6 years ago

    Cool little tables (and delish food, of course). Were there only two tables? Do most people sit at them to eat or stand around and then return their platter afterward?

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      I think most people were either sitting down, gobbling their food in a hurry and then leaving or getting it for take-away. I was shooting some video there during and after eating, and I know people were waiting for my seat…

  • Annie – FootTracker

    6 years ago

    mmmm, I love food like that (bread/or crepe like stuff and comes with sauces). Thanks for sharing, now I am hungry DX.

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Haha, various breads dipped in spicy sauces around the world is a recipe for delicious!

  • Sophie

    6 years ago

    Asian street food… nom nom!

    Is there any Thai influence in Burmese cuisine as well?

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hey Sophie,
      I think from what I ate in Burma was mostly Indian and Chinese, maybe with a few Thai additions as well (though I’m not sure if the Thai influence would have originally been Indian). Burmese fusion of cuisine is fantastic!

  • Caanan @ No Vacation Required

    6 years ago

    Looks absolutely delicious.