Discover Fort Wayne’s Burmese Heritage

While some cities have Chinatowns, Fort Wayne has a “Burmatown” of sorts.

Burma, officially known as the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, is a country in Southeast Asia. The first Burmese immigrants came to Fort Wayne in the early 1990s to escape political turmoil. Since then, the Summit City has become home to approximately 5,000 Burmese, the largest group in the country.

These refugees have made significant contributions to Fort Wayne’s cultural patchwork. Here are just a few opportunities to learn more about their culture:

Food: Just south of downtownMahnin Asian Restaurant, 2701 S. Calhoun St.,  is a great way to experience authentic Burmese cuisine. The storefront is rather unassuming, but the food is rather tasty (and spicy of course.) All meals are artfully prepared, served with a tiny bowl of spiced chicken broth and a dessert of fresh fruit cut and arranged in a design.The best part: most dishes are under $5!

If you prefer to try your hand at Burmese cuisine at home, stop by the Asian Market Inc. Not far from Mahnin at 2615 S. Calhoun St., this grocery has an assortment of Asian ingredients and spices not commonly found in conventional stores. Check out their selection of fresh vegetables and meats!

dancers1 169x300 Discover Fort Waynes Burmese Heritage

Culture: There are several events year-round designed to showcase Burmese dance and art. Most recently, the International Village was a two-day mini-festival in July organized to bring together different cultures and ethnic backgrounds (including Burmese), all living in Fort Wayne. The idea was that food, music and cultural dances, along with musical performances and demonstrations, will foster a greater understanding. Visit the Burmese Advocacy Center’s web site to keep posted on upcoming events.




Lauren Caggiano was raised in Fort Wayne, and returned in 2007 upon graduation from the University of Dayton. The president of WriteOn LLC, she specializes in writing, marketing, and French translation. In her spare time she enjoys travelling, yoga and volunteering. In the summer you can catch her riding around downtown on her vintage green Schwinn. For more information, check out her website:

3 Responses to “Discover Fort Wayne’s Burmese Heritage”

    January 4th, 2012
    Burmese looks like a fun cultural experience. My husband and I are visiting Fort Wayne for a fam weekend. Kids range in ages from 32-16 with 2 spouses. What are our best bets for a glimpse of the real Fort Wayne in a 48 hour weekend?
    January 6th, 2012
    Joanne-My family and I always enjoy visiting the museums and grabbing a bite to eat at a local restaurant. For the age group that you are bringing, I would recommend the Botanical Conservatory, Firefighter's Museum, History Center and the Museum of Art. If you enjoy hands-on science, then Science Central would be a great place to visit. Of course, you can cater these suggestions to what your family enjoys. Fort Wayne really loves sports, so as an evening activity, enjoy a hockey game with the Komets, basketball with the Mad Ants or baseball with the TinCaps. There are maps, attractions and restaurant maps at If you have further questions, feel free to call Visit Fort Wayne at 800-767-7752 and I will be happy to answer your questions in more detail.
    Juan - Myanmar Travel & Food
    September 5th, 2014
    Great article! So interesting to know there is such a big Burmese community in Fort Wayne. I have added the restaurant and market to my blog section "Myanmar In Your City". Cheers! Juan

Leave a Comment