Treat for the Buds – Guide to Burmese traditional food
Amidst the hustle and bustle and the typical hurley burley of an Asian street scene there is always food to be found, a meal time to be made. Yangon is no different. In fact it has one of the best examples of the endless wonder that is Asian street food. As you wander through the unique charm of the colonial heart of this exotic city you do not have to look too far. More to the point, that with any true Eastern city, the food usually finds its way to you. Should there really be any other way?
From sweet breakfast tea with its regular partners of paratas and bread sticks to the best fresh aloo gin thoke there is always a tasty morsel lurking on nearly every corner. Just how it should be. The heat and dust of the middle of the day can be brushed aside easily once your weary senses are re- invigorated with a rewarding choice of exotic delicacies.
Thoke is actually Burmese for salad so you could see it offered as a mixture of just about anything. Traditionally you should find it with a fresh offering of three different melons beautifully blended with a mouthwatering peanut sauce that often comes with a dahl soup. Enjoy!
The sweet tea is like Indian cha so can be enjoyed in the hot afternoon and would go particularly well with a tasty chicken or fish curry cooked up fresh in front of your eyes. With so many neighbouring regions and dialects it is easy to try similar dishes that have been influenced by nearby Thailand or China so you get a new taste to enjoy every day.
No trip to the inner sanctum of the Yangon street food centre would be complete without at least trying the most famous dish of all in Burma the mighty mohingar. If you are feeling really adventurous then just ask the chef how he makes it. You will be lucky not to get a blunt answer. If you are very lucky he may tell you. So when travelling in Burma to you next destination, try mohingar again and see how many different flavours are used.
Rakhine province in the west is famous for using copious amounts of chilies to keep things spicy and they called the burning sensation on the roof of your mouth Aap Iyap. So a Rakhine mohingar literally goes by the name of hot palate hot tongue!
Pickled tea is an absolute must try and if you are a true traveler then you cannot back away from is goat brain with roti. Delicious!
You would not be able to call yourself a true traveler unless you step out of your comfort zone. The food in the streets of Yangon or anywhere else in Burma for that matter would be a good gauge to put your adventurous spirit to a test.