A blog about food in Thailand
and elsewhere.

Breakfast in Mae Sot

Posted date:  December 30, 2008

Making roti at a Muslim restaurant in Mae Sot

Mae Sot, a bustling city near the Burmese border in Tak province is mostly populated by Burmese refugees. Many of those who live in town are Muslim, and have had a huge influence on the city’s food scene. In particular, along the street that runs south of the city’s main mosque, you’ll find several Burmese/Muslim-owned teashops:

At a Muslim restaurant in Mae Sot

They were heaps of fun, and served dishes you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in Thailand.

Although roti, crispy fried pancakes, are available just about everywhere these days, it’s still hard to find a good one. The guy pictured at the top of this post did a good job. His roti began their lives as small balls of greasy dough:

Roti dough at a Muslim restaurant in Mae Sot

Stretched, smacked, pulled, smacked and slapped until the form thin disks, they’re then fried in plenty of oil, shredded, and topped with sweetened condensed milk and sugar:

Sweet roti and tea at a Muslim restaurant in Mae Sot

Sweet tea, also shown above, is available at every one of these places, although some customers choose to circumvent the restaurant altogether and order through the window:

Waiting for tea to go at a Muslim restaurant in Mae Sot

Another fun dish is the tandoor-baked flatbreads known here as nanbya. Much like the roti, the dough is  portioned ahead of time. The balls of dough are then flattened onto a cloth-covered dome and slapped onto the side of the oven:

Baking bread in a tandoor oven at a Muslim restaurant in Mae Sot

A couple minutes later they emerge as steaming hot flatbreads. The bread at the shop above was incredibly popular, and there was a line of people both inside and outside:

Baking bread in a tandoor oven at a Muslim restaurant in Mae Sot

At most places this sort of bread was served with a dhal, a mild, watery lentil curry:

Tandoor-baked bread and dahl at a Muslim restaurant in Mae Sot

I wish we had something like this in Bangkok, although this blog’s occasional investigative reporter Nong A tells me she recently came across something similar to nanbya at a place on Th Ramkhamhaeng. Details to follow soon…

The restaurants are open early, from 6-9am, and are found within about 500m south of the city’s mosque, which I’ve labeled on the map below.

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5 Comments for Breakfast in Mae Sot

Hi Austin – happy new year!

I’m sure you’ve already guessed that “nanbya” is just the Burmese term for (Indian) nan/naan bread 🙂

You can see more Burmese breakfast goodies here: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=CidwD8znY1Y

Really beautiful photos!

I’ve been consistently disappointed with the roti one finds in BKK. The best roti kaeng I have found in the kingdom are in the deep south. Yala has a few great places.

There is an indian/south asian restaurant on Pradipat around Soi 14 or Soi 16 called “Mom’s” and the cooks there are Burmese. They make excellent naan and dahl and I think its one of the best south asian restaurants in bkk…better than the mass of places around nana. Its worth the trip, and is only a 10 minute walk from the sapaan kwai skytrain station.

I am so pleased that I found your blog – gorgeous photos and a a wonderful, informative read too. I’ve popped you on my blogroll so I remember to come back often,
again, thank you

I am impressed by the photos most of all and the travelling bits you have taken us through..
Certainly like the food being described here, it is foreign yet familliar..
I will be visiting this site regularly, it keeps me hooked on…

Nice post. Remembers me of a great time in Mae Sot. The naan with chickpeas and the naan with milk was the best breakfast of my life. i went there every day. In March I will visit Bangkok. Has anybody found something similar in Bangkok?

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