Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Our first taste of Myanmar

With such an easy flight over from India, it was hard to believe we were actually in another country. But here we are in Myanmar, with at first literally no idea what to expect. We'd been so focussed on planning our first month around India, that we hadn't really thought about what Myanmar would present us with.

Bags dropped at the hostel in Yangon, we headed to the nearest pagoda, the beautiful Sule Pagoda, and after wetting the Buddha's head, we wondered out for our first Burmese meal.

We chose Danuphyu Daw Saw Yi in downtown Yangon. A fairly plain white wash cafe, completely open out to the street, with banterous men serving out front, and women with yellow thanakha painted faces in the kitchen (sandalwood-like paste used as suncream for women and young boys).

There was no menu, only a lovely Burmese man (everyone here seems to be so nice and very apologetic!), who pointed at each of the dishes behind a glass counter with a brief explanation of what they were. "Pork... Chicken... Beef" (at last!) "... Vegetables".

We opted for the pork belly, a fish and veg mix, and sides of buttered (hello extra large waist band) cauliflower, carrot and green beans. You are automatically served a plate of rice, a bowl of chinyay hin (sour veg soup) and on the table are various forms of condiments including a super strong, grey coloured, fermented fish paste called ngâpí, herbs and an array of par boiled veg. All of this was washed down with a large bottle of Myanmar beer, a refreshing, average percent lager.

From my research, it seems that Myanmar offers the mildest curries of Asia, and our pork belly curry was a clear example of this. The pork itself was tender and easily tore apart after hours of slow cooking. The sauce was salty and flavoursome, and begged to be mopped up with the abundance of rice they serve you. Although one word of warning, most Burmese curries can be seen with a layer of oil sitting on the top - true locals skim this off before mopping up - I unfortunately didn't act the pro... Usually this oil is just down to the amount they use to cook, but sometimes it is added to help the food keep whilst it sits on food counters for hours waiting to be served!

Since arriving in Myanmar, pork has been a big fav of ours, partly because we had been deprived of it in India, but partly because on the second occasion of ordering pork belly, the fat was actually crackling (cue longing for a Sunday roast)!

Our other main dish, the fish and veg mix, didn't have a clear fish taste, and resembled a pile of chewed up this and that, but offered a different texture to supplement the pork.

The soup, like many of the soups we've had since being in Myanmar, was very salty, but served hot (more so than the curry) with a strong sour taste, so a few spoonfuls pleasantly warmed the belly alongside the curries.

Needless to say, the buttered veg went down well...

Of course with no menu, means no obvious prices and the rookies that we were, we forgot to ask before devouring our feast. However there were no nasty surprises on this occasion, just a pleasant 8000 kyat (around 4 quid), for two mains, two sides, rice and soup, plus a large beer. Not bad eh?

Yelly-fi-felly-food-belly x


Cathy and Jerry said...

Bring home the recipes!

Cathy and Jerry said...

Bring home the recipes!