Archive for January, 2012

[This is a backdated post.]

Part 1 (School)

It is not difficult to believe that majority of Myanmar people love Myanmar food but it would be kind of weird (actually it’s cool for me) that they prefer Chinese / Indian food in Myanmar rather than those in their original style and preparation. Very few Myanmar would prefer real Indian Briyani over those oily Briyani in Myanmar. Like wise, any kind of Chinese food in Singapore has almost no taste at all for us. (Patroit?)

Dim Sum

So, a must eat in Myanmar for me was Dim Sum. I know right, it might be unbelievable for most of the Singaporeans that we prefer Dim Sum in Myanmar. It is not only about price but also about taste and culture. I went to Oriental House Dim Sum, the only famous Dim Sum restaurant in Myanmar.  (It has branches in Singapore but none of those provide Dim Sum, unfortunately. :{ )

Okay, so I went there to have Dim Sum. In fact, it was more to hang out with my university friends. One more valid reason to go there was it was very close to Shwedagon Pagoda. Our family had used to have breakfast there whenever we visited the pagoda in some early mornings. For this very visit, both of my lovely (just in case they might read this) friends paid for me and my boyfriend. ^^ It was around 500 kyats (est. 4 USD) per basket (basket?) and I guess we finished about 30 baskets.

Isn't it lovely just by seeing this???

Isn’t it lovely just by seeing this???

Indian Snacks

Then, I joined my mom and her mother-in-law (yes, of course my grandma!) at a township tea house. They specialized in Indian snacks. Do I need to say it again that Indian food is better in Myanmar?

I sampled Samosa (we pronounce it as Samusa), Ba Yar Kyaw (fried mashed pea) and Nan Pyar (kind of Roti) which were completely match with Myanmar style tea with Malaing. It was delicious but I had to control my limit as I would have a long long long list to go on during that two week period.

Clockwise - Samosa, Ba Yar Kyaw, Tea with Malaing, Nan Pyar

Clockwise – Samosa, Ba Yar Kyaw, Tea with Malaing, Nan Pyar

Chinese Snacks

Don’t every ask me why I am not writing about Burmese food, Shan food etc. which belong to Myanmar food. Because it’s too mainstream! You can easily google it. And I just somehow prove that Myanmar can also be kind of food paradise if you know where to look for. That does NOT mean that there is no “unique” traditional food in Myanmar. You can’t really remember all.

Okay, so I went to my most most most favourite tea house. It was near Chinatown. Believe me, Chinatown in Myanmar is way more awesome than that in Singapore. (Or perhaps, I am the one who don’t know what and how to look for interesting thing in Singapore Chinatown!)

The most irresistible food that I had made up my mind to learn how to make it one day is called “Wet Thar Paung” which can lit-translated into “Steamed Pork” but it comes with a thin dumpling sheet. It’s sweet. It’s piquant. It has good smell. It’s just irresistible!

Too much intro. It’s time to explain what I did with those. I finished all 3 pieces of those Wet Thar Paung at one shot! Plus, I could input   to my poor stomach with long awaiting Kaw Pyant (Spring Roll).  Please don’t be confused. Normal spring roll in Myanmar is very similar with popiah in Singapore and you can find anywhere in Myanmar. But this very roll I tried was made up of pork with thicker dumpling kind of sheet (Remember I have lachanophobia!) and you can find only in very few tea houses. The inner part was too delicate it was always good to have with spicy sauce. If you wish to have one, try go there. Its name is “Hlyan Htet”, situated at lower block of Latha St. in Yangon and definitely not a tourist spot. It may look unhygienic but I have had no problem eating out there for uncountable times.

Wet Thar Paung (Steamed Pork) and Kaw Pyant (Meat Spring Roll). I did have another cup of tea there, too.

Wet Thar Paung (Steamed Pork) and Kaw Pyant (Meat Spring Roll). I did have another cup of tea there, too.

Kyay Oh

It’s the most special food and I mean it. Kyay Oh still kind of Chinese food but I can’t find it anywhere in Singapore with that much delicious meet balls.

The arguably most famous Kyay Oh restaurant is YKKO. Almost all YKKO branches are cozy, family-friendly and wifi-available. What more you could ask for?

If I were super hungry, I might be able to finish at least one and a half bowl of Kyay Oh but I left some soup after I finished all flat noodles (people usually have it with vermicelli like noodle called “Kyar San”) and meat balls. It was costly – around 2800 kyats (est. 3.5 USD) but it was worth to try as usual!

It looks so pale because I opted not to add the veggies.

It looked so pale because I opted not to add the veggies.

So, it’s all about derived food in Myanmar that I enjoyed during my vacation. Next, part 3 will be about Randomness in Yangon.

[This is a backdated post]

If there is one thing good about living abroad for few years, it could be appreciating one’s hometown more and more. Okay, technically speaking, Yangon is not my hometown. But I believe my soul is there. It is where I studied, it is where I played, it is where I grew up and it is just everything about me.

Though you may have learnt that Yangon is no longer the capital of Myanmar, let me say that it is true only in news and official documents. Believe me, nobody in Myanmar would recognise Nay Pyi Taw as the true capital of Myanmar by their hearts. Whether they like or not, majority of locals would mention Yangon is still the largest city of Myanmar.

And please please do not tell me that Yangon is the city of “Bamar” ethnic, not of other 7 major ethnics. I am not a pure Bamar, (if you are a Myanmar), only few percent of you would be pure Bamar while other mixed mixed mixed blood people have been living in Yangon for decades. (If you are not a Myanmar,) Ask any of your friends living in Yangon if he/she is 100% Bamar and you would get what I mean.

So, I went back to Myanmar. Only about two weeks which was an unfortunate things. Because 14 days will never be enough to chill there.

The only thing which irritated me was that some people in downtown thought we (me and my b.f) were foreigners. 😦 No, we did nothing weird, just wore jeans and canvas shoes (slippers for some days), were walking on the street and just roaming around. The only thing I could think as the reason they assumed so could be the DSLR that we used to take every single thing there. But it should not be the case, should it? 😦

The best thing I could done there was visiting my secondary school! Although I just refer it as secondary school for easy understanding, it is actually a high school to where all primary/middle/high school students can go. I spent 9 years there studying, playing and dreaming. All my teachers do remember who I am although it had been at least 6 years we hadn’t see each other. Some of them were retired and others were still energetic to teach the young children.

Botataung 3 or No. (3) Basic Education High School, Botataung. My school!

Botataung 3 or No. (3) Basic Education High School, Botataung. My school!

The school was old and torn but it still gave me the feeling of warmth. By seeing all the kids running here and there, I wondered how time flied so fast. I passed by my primary school where I spent two years as well but couldn’t get into it as it was late. I tried to take a good picture of it but someone shouted “Who’s there!?” and I had to shout back like “Nothing. I’m just taking photo of my old school!”.

You can see the situation is too different from other countries and my awesome land (this is my favourite sarcastic term to describe Myanmar).  Who on earth would blame you for taking photo of your old school in any other country?? But I can understand the staffs as they have been surviving life under fear. They are just fear for something they can’t exactly describe. And for them, taking a photo at late night without anyone’s permission might be a threat, too? Sigh.

B.E.P.S (12) Mingalar Taung Nyunt

It’s not purposely blurred. As the guy was shouting inside the school, we had to get a quick one. 😦

And it was all about food and food and food. [Will continue in Part 2!]