Friday, March 1, 2013

Lunch, Yangon Style

It's about 3 months since I've left the hustle & bustle of Kuala Lumpur and came to this beautiful country for my new job. One food option which reminds me most of home is probably what every Burmese national have been having for the most of their lives, and it's surprisingly very similar to mixed rice, or nasi campur I used to get back home.

There are no proper name for these kind of establishment, people here just call them tea houses and there are no short supply them them in Yangon, every single street here no matter main roads or small backlane alleys are filled with these little shops, usually with just a few tables and short stools for a quick lunch, or just hanging around sipping tea, very similar to KL's mamak stalls.

There is one place I have grown accustomed to during my time here, without even knowing the name. Located just around the corner from my office, this is where most of my colleagues come for lunch, or goes missing during the 3-4pm unofficial tea time.

modest little tea house

with modest settings

Being a foreigner with absolutely zero knowledge of the local language, what I always do is to go up to the food and point out which one I'd have for the meal. Good thing the show owner understands my silly gestures and seems to have very good patience putting up with this idiotic foreigner looking and slowly deciding what he'd have while blocking everyone else's way. (I am about 2 times the size of an average Burmese person, so there)

what a spread

It is worth noting that most of the dishes which accompany the customary rice here is usually curry, notoriously loaded with an unhealthy amount of oil I might add! Apparently the reason behind that is the generosity of oil poured onto their food reflects the shop owner's generosity. Who am I to judge then?

Lunch here typically comes with a bowl of clear broth, and also raw vegetables with hot dipping sauce. I have never had the guts to consume those raw vegetables but the soups were usually very delicious, even for a hot, humid day!

It is worth noting that most of these dishes come in a very, very small portion, you would get a piece of lamb and a piece of potato if you order the lamb curry, or just a few small pieces of anchovies if you decide on those. That being said, despite the oiliness, I always enjoyed the meat curries here though I have never fancied fried anchovies even back home. This is really the case of if it looks good, eat it!

lamb, or rather mutton curry

the vege is generally very good!

fried anchovies, for those who love them

One thing which really surprised me in Myanmar is the rice. The best rice I've ever had, anywhere else! I have grown up with Thai fragrant rice and Japanese rice but seriously, Burmese rice is in a league of their own. They are really fluffy, and releases an almost hypnotic aroma which you would not find anywhere else.

best rice u'd ever have

apparently its customary to place an extra plate of rice
without even asking for one

Prices here are very cheap considering the variety of food available, and this shop is located in the city centre. The bill came to around 4,500Ks or slightly over USD8, enough to feed four person.

doggyjames says...wif you have the chance to visit Myanmar, stay away from the tourist oriented and air-conditioned restaurants once in a while and you are bound to be surprised!

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