I interviewed a local, asking about his top 5 favourite local food. Here they are:
1) Ngapi yay
This is also my favourite. I can eat a lot of rice only with this. But the taste varies so much; some of them are very spicy.
"Ngapi is the name of a compressed fish dish in Myanmar.
It is usually dried in the sunlight after making from the fermentation of salted ground fish or shrimp.
Ngapi is used as a condiment and additive in most dishes, as a main ingredient of Lower Burmese cooking. There are some variations: Rakhine Ngapi, Ayeyarwady and Taninthargyi Ngapi.
Rakhine Ngapi, which is used as a soup base, contains very little salt or none at all. It mainly uses marine fish.
Ayeyarwady and Taninthargyi Ngapi, which is produced from freshwater fish, usually contain a lot of added salt.
There are a lot of dishes which use Ngapi as a main ingredient such as: Ngapi Kyaw (a term for ngapi fried with a wide variety of ingredients like shrimp flakes, onions, garlic and chili); Ngapi yay (boiled ngapi); Ngapi kyeik (ngapi mixed with large green chili and garlic); etc." [source]
2) Shan kaut swe (or shan noodle)
There are dry type and with soup. I like it dry and not much seasoning. Most of the time they put some dried crushed peanut, sesame, spicy sauce, onion, etc.
"Meeshay is a specialty of the Shan people in Eastern Myanmar, which is made from the mixing of rice noodles and meat sauce. Although Meeshay is a dish of Shan people, it is popular in the major towns across Myanmar nowadays. There are many variants of meeshay but the normal meeshay and the Mandalay version are the most popular. The meat sauce is usually made from pork and/or chicken. All types of Meeshay can be served with Mohnyin tjin - a popular Shan pickle made of mustard greens, carrots and other vegetables fermented in rice wine, and clear chicken stock soup with spring onions. Burmese tofu can be accompanied with Meeshay, too." [source]
3) Mont Lin Ma Yar (cake of wife and husband)
"Made from two cakes that stacked into one. Contain quail eggs or chickpeas and scallions."
4) Kaut Nyin Paung
5) Tea Salad (lahpet)
The trick works for me is that you need to eat some of them together. If you eat only the leaf, it might be too strong.
"If you lived in Myanmar and a friend popped in to visit, this is the snack you’d serve. Laphet, which means “green tea”, and thoke, which means “salad”, is an eclectic mix of flavors and textures that includes soft, astringent tea leaves, crisp, roasted peanuts and other crunchy beans, toasted sesame seeds, fried garlic and, if you like, dried shrimp and chopped tomato. It’s meant to be served with all the ingredients in separate piles so that guests can pick out a combination to their own preference each time they grab a handful. While nowadays the salad is typically served as a final course at the end of a meal, historically lahpet was an ancient symbolic peace offering that was exchanged and consumed after settling a dispute between warring kingdoms." [source]
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