Gourmands will be disappointed to find that Bagan isn’t a gastronomic destination. Although, with a bit of effort you can find some tasty places to eat and wherever you go food is relatively very cheap. Most of the restaurant choices are in New Bagan, which is just to the south of the temples of Old Bagan. The majority of these restaurants fall into the budget category.
For a sample of traditional local Burmese cuisine, it’s best to try restaurants that aren’t aimed at travellers. The best places are the small noodle and curry shops, and the usual array of street stalls, where you can good, tasty local food. A good guide is to head for a place that’s busy with lots of local people. This way you can usually be sure the food is freshly cooked and less likely to give you any stomach problems.
The Nanda restaurant is considered a good place for Burmese and Chinese food and also has some pleasant views of the Schwezigon Pagoda as well as the occasional traditional show. Other restaurants that have a reputation for serving decent quality international food include Sunset Garden (especially well known for its seafood), River View Restaurant and Si Thu Restaurant (popular for its traditional shows in the evenings). Bagan Golf’s restaurant makes a decent attempt at western dishes.
There are a few places where you can get Thai food in the city. Hotel restaurants can be worth checking out, and the best hotels are the nearest you’ll get to a top meal.
Recent years have seen a few Italian restaurants appearing around Bagan. While the food at these establishments might not be up to the standards you’re used to back home, Sun Gabar Restaurant makes a good stab at popular Italian dishes, which can be a pleasant change from rice and noodles.