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Burmese specialities

Unveiling the Delights of Myanmar Cuisine

By Moharif YuliantoPublished 2 months ago 3 min read
Burmese specialities
Photo by Zinko Hein on Unsplash

A Burmese Banquet: Unveiling the Delights of Myanmar Cuisine

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, boasts a rich culinary heritage with dishes that are as colorful and vibrant as its culture. Influenced by neighboring countries like India, Thailand, and China, Burmese cuisine offers a unique blend of flavors and textures, relying heavily on fresh, seasonal ingredients and traditional cooking techniques. So, grab your chopsticks (or perhaps a hsun – a Burmese spoon) and embark on a delectable journey through the culinary landscape of Myanmar!

The Foundation of Burmese Cuisine:

Rice: The undisputed king of Burmese cuisine is rice. It's served with almost every meal, steamed or cooked into various forms like kaukswe (noodle soup) or mohinga (the national dish we'll explore further). Popular rice varieties include fragrant jasmine rice and sticky shwe hinta (black rice).

Noodles: From the thin and delicate shan noodles to the thick and chewy shan tote (made from chickpea flour), noodles are another staple ingredient, often served in soups, salads, or stir-fries.

Fish Sauce: Nga pi (fish sauce) adds a salty and umami depth to Burmese dishes. It's used sparingly like soy sauce in other Asian cuisines.

Fermented Products: Pickled vegetables like hinthpone (fermented tea leaves) and nga pi yay (fish paste) add a unique tangy flavor to many dishes.

Fresh Herbs & Spices: Burmese cuisine is known for its generous use of fresh herbs like lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, and cilantro. Turmeric, chilies, and cumin add warmth and depth of flavor.

Oils: Peanut oil is widely used for stir-frying, while coconut oil adds a subtle sweetness to curries.

Signature Dishes of Myanmar:

Mohinga: This national treasure, enjoyed for breakfast or as a light meal throughout the day, is a rich and flavorful fish noodle soup. Thin rice vermicelli noodles are served in a light, lemongrass-infused broth with chunks of fish, hard-boiled eggs, and a sprinkle of crispy fried onions for texture.

Shan Noodles: These thin rice noodles come in various styles, from the plain shan kyar served with a simple sauce to the spicy shan kaukswe with a rich coconut curry base and toppings like chicken, tofu, or vegetables.

Laphet Thoke: This refreshing salad features fermented green tea leaves (laphet) as the star ingredient. The tea leaves are tossed with chopped tomatoes, garlic, chilies, peanuts, and a drizzle of sesame oil, creating a unique combination of flavors and textures.

Hinthok: This flavorful dish is a Burmese take on samosas. Crispy golden-fried wonton wrappers encase a savory filling of seasoned potatoes, chickpeas, and sometimes vegetables. It's served with a tamarind sauce for dipping.

Bawa: This curry dish comes in various iterations, from the mild and creamy bawat (coconut milk curries) to the fiery bawat kyaw (red curries). They are typically served with rice and various toppings like boiled eggs, fried shallots, and fresh herbs.

Regional Specialties:

Myanmar boasts diverse regional specialties reflecting the country's rich ethnic tapestry. Here are a few examples:

Shan State: Known for its lighter and spicier cuisine, Shan dishes often feature ingredients like ginger, garlic, and chilies. Popular dishes include shan kay (chicken noodle soup) and nga htamin (fish soup).

Rakhine State: This coastal region offers delectable seafood dishes like hinthar htamin (steamed fish with turmeric) and ka pwè (Indian-influenced flatbreads with various fillings).

Kachin State: The cuisine of Kachin State features unique fermented ingredients like mit nga (fermented bamboo shoots) and hkazi (fermented tea leaves paste). Popular dishes include nan gyi (noodles with chicken and vegetables) and htamin gyi (rice cake stew).

Sweet Endings:

Burmese desserts are often lighter and less sweet than their Western counterparts. Some popular choices include:

Shan Mee Shay: These golden brown, crispy rice cakes are coated in a light syrup and sprinkled with sesame seeds for added flavor.

Mont Lone Yay: This colorful dessert features sticky rice balls stuffed with sweet fillings like palm jaggery or shredded coconut, rolled in colorful glutinous rice flour or toasted sesame seeds.

Beet Won: This simple dessert consists of steamed or boiled beets served with a light drizzle of syrup or coconut milk.

Falooda: This refreshing dessert, also popular in neighboring countries,

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About the Creator

Moharif Yulianto

a freelance writer and thesis preparation in his country, youtube content creator, facebook

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Comments (1)

  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarran2 months ago

    Mmmm, those Burmese desserts sound so tempting!

Moharif YuliantoWritten by Moharif Yulianto

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