Archive for the ‘Yangon’ Category

I’ve somehow stumbled upon this and her 8 years of blogging life inspired me to blog right now. I have no idea why I rarely blog here though I assume myself as a blog-addictive since I have a Burmese blog with tons of posts which is now under silence. And I have been writing here, here and here regularly and here and here occasionally so it’s kind of difficult to find time to polish my very own space. Anyway, I’m now back (supposedly).

I’ll be back in Myanmar at the end of December and have read a lot of foreigners who are rushing to my mystical land either for fun or investment. Some travel blogs written about the country in headliners nowadays seem great while others are like with less useful information from a local point of view. So here’s a list of things I’m planning to do during two week vacations and you (if you ain’t a Myanmar) might get an idea how a typical Myanmar based in foreign country would rush to fulfill his/her one year dream.

Food!

I’m not that into Food and pretty picky as I have lachanophobia. But yah… Yangon is just a food paradise for me and I don’t understand how they say Singapore has perfect food. 😛

I’ll have dinner at least twice (most probably thrice) at YKKO for perfect Kyay Oh in Yangon. (Not every Myanmar will agree, I know.) The best thing about YKKO is not its taste but the environment which gives me a sense of reunion with friends. I will be able to check-in, too!

And I must sit down on a stool in front of a pork-stick (Wet Thar Dote Htoe) basket to enjoy super awesome pork sticks. I haven’t made up my mind yet whether I should try it at downtown or somewhere else. It will much depend on my friends.

I do not like Monthinga. And I mean it though it might sound weird considering I’m a Myanmar. (Told ya I’m picky). But I will go for Rakhine Mont Ti (nothing about racist here, please! Just that that soup originated in Rakhine state). It is with similar kind of vermicelli in Monthiga but the soup is totally different. It’s a clear soup but super hot and spicy.

Then, I will throw a food party at Chinatown. Kidding… but not much difference. Steamed pork (Wet Thar Paung) at that tea house, Spring roll with pork (I sound so pork, huh?), Bao zi (with pork #_#), Fried pork :O ribs and Shan Noodle (with pork). After all, it’s Chinatown, absolutely valid excuse of pork!

I guess I don’t need to mention that my mom will cook delicious meals at home, too. So, that’s about it for food. I still want to try some unique things but most of them are not available in December.

Places

I’m dying to go to Kyite Htee Yoe Pagoda(Golden Rock Pagoda) in Mon state but my super awesome friends do not seem to support me. I just want to enjoy the coldest place possible in lower Myanmar (in December.) I have been there like three times, though.

In front of a trandiational Burmese restaurant in Bagan last year

In front of a trandiational Burmese restaurant in Bagan last year

I may go to Pyay (pronounced as Pyi). No specific plan yet. I just don’t remember how it exactly looks like since I was too young when I visited there like 5 ~ 10 years ago.

In Yangon, I want to go to Y.U.F.L which is my university but I’m not too sure will they easily let me in or not. (I’ll write about the unbelievable uni life in Myanmar later. ) But as they said things changed in Myanmar, it should also be changed!

What else? Some of my friends’ homes, downtown, Shwedagon is needless to be mentioned, oh yeah.. I want to go to those pubs that become famous lately though I don’t drink (okay, let’s put it this way) I have not drunk a drop of alcohol. But I do like the atmosphere of a pub/bar. And perhaps I might be somewhere fun at new year night unless my dad insisted me to stay at home.

Do

I will take lots of photos just like last year. I do not own a DSLR so the quality of those awesome (if I say awesome, it’s awesome) images might be under par. The two main reasons I want to have a ton of photos of my own are 1) to donate to Open Myanmar photo project and use on my About Myanmar blog. It’s so fun when you use your own photos to share something. Umm.. no, I don’t really know how to take a picture well, I just emphasize on things rather than presentation (coz I don’t know!)

And will try to meet up with as many friends as possible. My best of best friend will be getting married in Mid Dec so I will give her something lovely.

I guess I will have a chance to meet up with some nice people whom I happen to know only in virtual world of social media but friendship are strong enough just like with normal friends.

Oh yes, I will read many journals just to point out the mistakes. (I’m awfully good at it especially when it comes to Burmese language.) And will try to be a witness if there are any visible changes there in one year after several western political leaders have visited. (I’ll just stop politics here).

Oh, it’s fun just to write it out. I can’t wait!!

[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.

TEDxYouth@Yangon

Posted: 15/02/2011 in Myanmar, TEDx, Yangon, YMAA

TEDx = independently organised TED event.

Yangon = My most favorite city in a whole world

TEDxYouth@Yangon is just a combination of two of my favourite things. It comes with a specialty on top of normal TEDx features; the very first TEDx event in both of Myanmar and Yangon. To be honest, TED is one of the least popular websites in Myanmar. Why? The connection! So, how did it get done?

Reason

If “hardworking” is a very familiar adjective that can describe Myanmars easily, “Innovation” should be the least suitable one. Yes, including me as a top ranked in the list, Myanmar people are lack of innovation. In other words, we have no idea how to get idea.  TED is emphasising on idea from three backgrounds of Technology, Entertainment and Design. That’s why I did it.

First Step

I wished so hard to get the license from TED which is an official permission to hold a TEDx event in Myanmar. Trust me. I was happier than I got hired when I saw the approval. When I applied it, I just thought for the venues, speakers and all required things. I had neither planned nor prepared yet.

Challenges

Sponsorship! It was difficult like hell because the only way I could try is emailing which is the least proper way of communication in Myanmar. I sent out 20+ mails to some organisations and companies which seem helpful. Till  days before the actual event day, it was hopeless. But I wanted to try a bit more so that I sent out the follow up mails to all the recipients. It did work! Within 10 minutes, a mail was replied that he would support us. What an amazing moment! Plus, the sponsor is one of the most well known brands in Myanmar. It made our event greater. I was so happy that telling all the organizers and planners about our sponsorship; Myanmar Airways International.  They all (yes, actually two :P) were so happy and moved on for venue confirmation.

Venue also mattered. We requested a hotel as a venue sponsor but it wasn’t successful. Our brains were busy like bees by calculating the fees to decide whether we can afford it or not. As usual for planning an event, we finally came up with the decision to hold it at UMFCCI where most of the seminars and event are usually held.

Memories

Believe it or not! None of us had seen any speakers whom we invited. Neither any kind of communication had done nor they had heard our names. We approached to those who seemed inspiring and interesting. By means of mails and phones, we requested them to join as precious speakers of the event. Though two of our choices denied it, we finally made it with five speakers; exact number that we hoped. Though it was not done by purpose, 3 out of 5 speakers are directly related to IT which is also the current field of all three planners. What a coincidence!

I seriously think all of the speakers are so interesting. Take a look. (With the order of confirmation). A respectful  programmer who made tons of effort for Myanmar Unicode Standards, a physically challenged young girl who is working as a web designer, an artsy girl who is all for performance art, a game developer who achieves internationally and a world class photographer!

Encouragement

Special thanks to all friends!! They were really supportive. More than a couple of friends did enquire for all necessary information like venue fee, photographer assistance and so on. Plus, two videographers(Ko Tin Ko & his Fri) and a photographer (Ko Aung Pyae) assisted us F.O.C. They made our event!

Post Event

I had the chance to read up some blog posts about it. Thanks to Ko Thi Ha for a complete post. I can’t put my laziness aside so that I haven’t accomplished the post event tasks till now. But I’m bearing in mind that I must finalize it very soon. Let me list down the tasks here in order to remind me whenever I visit my blog. 🙂

1) upload videos to youtube under TEDx
2) send photos to TEDx (updated on Feb 19)
3) upload photos to flickr with tag TEDx (updated on Feb 19)
4) feedback from attendees
5) update TEDxYouth@Yangon page

Oh! Not that much! Okay, I’ll update whenever I finish one! 🙂