We’ve all had Indian, Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese, but what about Burmese? Some say there is only one Burmese restaurant in London and they may very well be right. The cuisine’s a rarity. It’s a kind of a mixture between Indian, Chinese and Thai. It’s basically all of Asia mixed into one but with more fish, fish sauce and ‘ngapi’ which is, when translated directly from the Burmese language fermented sea weed. Yum Yum. Wonder if it gets some drunk.
But yes, Burmese food is certainly more on the fishy side which gives it its own unique twist. Of course it’s not all fish. In landlocked areas, it’s more common to eat meat and poultry but the locals do remain loyal and sometimes dine with freshwater fish and shrimp, usually by salting, filleting or drying it. Or making a salty paste. Or fermenting it.
Salads are also a popular option. Most of the Burmese salads are made from rice,wheat and rice noodles. Much like the Thai salads, they add ginger and tomato and limes and pickled tea leaves. They do, however, also stick in a bit ngapi (of course). Another difference is that salad is often treated as a sort of fast food in Burmese cities.
The ‘Omelette Curry’ is a particularly popular dish – apparently with the ladies especially. You could probably imagine what it looks like. Eggs, onions, tomatoes, coriander, garlic, ginger, mas-ala, turmeric, chili and of course the most important ingredient of all time, salt. Personally however, I would recommend the Mohinga.
The Mohinga, or Mohinka, is the so-called unofficial national dish of Burma and consists of rice vermicelli served in a fish-based broth. The broth is prepared with onions, garlic, ginger and lemon grass and then topped with banana blossom, some slice boiled eggs and fritters. It’s mostly a morning breakfast dish but I do enjoy it at all times of the day. I urge you, fellow Lingo-Lunch readers, next time you are in the mood for some exotic culinary adventures, be sure to give this Burmese treat a go, and remember, it’s not all fish.