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Myanmar Red Lentil Soup

I feel like this simple red lentil soup from Myanmar is akin to something like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the US. It’s reliable, tastes good, and is satisfying. But it’s not a dish that will cause onlookers to gasp in surprise over your remarkable culinary skills. Don’t get me wrong, this dish is prepared throughout Myanmar and can be eaten for any meal including breakfast. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with simple classics.


  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 large potato, diced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • olive oil for frying


Peel and mince garlic and ginger. Peel and finely dice onion and potato. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium size pot; add garlic, ginger, onion and turmeric, sauté until onion become translucent.

Wash red lentils and add to pot. Stir for 2 minutes until the yellow color intensifies. Add water and diced potatoes. Bring the mixture to boil, then simmer 15 minutes until potatoes become soft. Serve immediately, garnishing with whatever suits your fancy. (Chives, cilantro, Thai basil, etc)

Intha fishermen working in the morning. Location of Inle lake, Myanmar.

Intha Fishermen of Myanmar

The Intha fishermen are well-known throughout Asia for their unique method of rowing and maneuvering in their wooden fishing boats. They use one leg to hold the oar instead of their arms, and exhibit remarkable skill in balancing and multitasking. These talented fishermen stand on the tip of their small and unwieldy boat, and employ a large cone-shaped net made from cane catch their fish.