Monday, June 16, 2014

Myanmar experience at Singapore Little Burma :)

This afternoon, my colleague, M, who is a Burmese, finally had a chance to bring me tasting the Myanmar food for the first time. Just like Golden Mile Complex for Thais and Lucky Plaza for Filipinos and Indonesians, there is a place for Burmese community over here in Singapore, which is at Peninsula Plaza, located not far from where we work, about 10-15 minute walk.

Although we’d known each other for about 2 years, we never had a chance to eat Myanmar food together. We had talked a lot about it and often, also about the country itself. But due to our busy schedule, we only realized our wish today :)

Kyaiktiyo Pagoda ( Source: Wikipedia.org)

All along I’d put great interest to visit the country, especially to Bagan, the ancient city that houses over thousands of Buddhist temples, pagodas, and monasteries. As a Buddhist, I think I would be very happy if I were given a chance to visit the various Buddhist pilgrimage site over there and I had a lot of wonder about Kyaiktiyo Pagoda (known as ‘gravity defying’ Golden Rock) that was located in Mon State of Myanmar aside from Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon and Mahamuni Buddha Temple in Mandalay. It’s one of my travel wish list destinations :)

Gifts from Myanmar :)

M had gone back home twice recently and she bought me some things to try. The one inside the plastic was dried fish. You could eat like that after put inside the oven for 1-2 minutes or mix it with oil and other ingredients, which I think I would not get use with the taste. I’d chosen to bake it inside the oven for 2 minutes and eaten it with rice, not bad ya :)

She had also given me a mango, which she plucked it directly from the mango trees in one of the farms that she visited before coming back to Singapore. There were two types of mangoes that she brought. She asked me to choose and I chose the green color one. She had given me the yellow color one before, that’s why I chose to try the green color one. After few days keeping it at home, it turned slightly yellow and was ready to eat. Hmmm.. It was sweet and nyummy!!!

Myanmar dried mango

There was another mango product that she brought too. This one was dried one. It’s brown in color and very thin slice. It was originally big size then my friend cut it into smaller pieces to make it easier for us to eat. Thank you M for your food products! :)

Now let’s get back to our lunch. At first, M wanted to bring me to the restaurant type, where the food had been altered to accommodate Singaporean taste. But I told her that I wanted to taste the more original and local taste. So, she led me to the basement 1 entering to the right side door, and went in all the way inside to the right, where there were more people eating there.

Hey M, since there are more people here, I think we should try the food in this stall,” I suggested.

She hesitated for a while because she was afraid that I wouldn’t like the taste as it would be quite strong.

Don’t worry lah. I want to try the more local favor instead of the lighter taste so I will be able to know how is the real taste of it,” assured me.

Therefore, after having a look at the different dishes displayed, we chose three veggies and one meat plus two plates of rice for us to eat. She took some side dishes and two bowl of veggies soup from other side and ordered two cups of Myanmar tea, and then we started having our lunch.

Myanmar dishes for lunch

M put a small portion of the dishes into my plate. She was afraid that I wouldn’t like the taste. I tried the one in red (top left). It consisted of something like Tofu (made of bean), with some veggies (looked like young bamboo shoot) cooked with chili. It was quite oily.

M said, in Myanmar, the more oil put inside the food, it represented the richer the family was. But according to her, nowadays foreigner who went to Myanmar trying to change Burmese misconception and asked them to cook with less oil as it wasn’t good for their health. This one, the taste was alright, only a bit salty. The tofu texture was a bit different with Chinese tofu. Their texture was more firm.

Next was the bitter gourd dish, the one on the top right. They used the small size of bitter gourd for this dish, unlike Singapore style that usually used bigger size. It was cooked with chili and some dried prawn. I quite liked this dish though.

The third one was the one on the right below. It was made of some kind of vegetables. It had a unique taste and sour. The same vegetable was used to make the soup, which in my opinion tasted like Thai Tom Yam Soup without chili. I could eat it, but not much. The most part of it was eaten by M hehe…

The last dish was the pork belly curry cooked with bamboo shoot. I tried to recollect my memory on where I had this kind of taste before, but I couldn’t get the answer. It was a bit salty but still edible for me. I was not the fan of bamboo shoot. I mean, I ate, but not much. Therefore, I ate most of the pork while M ate most of the bamboo shoot. Hehehe…

There were small plates of diced bamboo shoot, cucumber, and bean sprout. The bamboo shoot and cucumber tasted just per normal, but the bean sprout was not. It was pickled and had a unique taste, which I wasn’t accustomed to.

Myanmar tea :)

Their tea tasted a bit like Thai milk tea,  only that the color wasn't orange. It tasted very sweet but very nice :)

Overall, I think the food taste was quite unique and different. I wasn’t familiar with the taste and need some time to adapt to it if I had to. They liked salty and sour taste while I preferred sweet and spicy food. What we tried here was only one type. There were still lots of other types of Myanmar food that I had not tried, such as: noodles, tea leaves salad, fish dishes, dessert, and so on. I was just thinking, if I travel to Myanmar one day, should I bring something from Singapore to eat there? Just in case… Hahaha… :P

One of Myanmar grocery shops in Peninsula Plaza

After having our lunch, we went up. Just like what other have said, this building is called ‘Singapore’s Little Burma’, as there are lots of shops selling Myanmar food and non-food products. For them, it’s like feeling ‘home sweet home’.

Kun yar or Myanmar betel nut

They can find many things from Myanmar: dried food like dried fish, dried prawn; fresh food like fruits and vegetables; flowers and leaves for praying to temple; basic necessities like shampoo, soaps, perfumes, and so on; Myanmar local newspaper and magazines; snacks like potato chips; chilies or pickles items; even ‘kun yar’ or betel nut. It is sold in many shops there, openly. It is similar with the way Bhutanese has it, except that their paste is in white color, not pink, and they cut the ‘doma’ in smaller pieces.

It’s my second time visiting this building. My first time was when I was helping Karma, my Bhutanese friend, who wanted to buy Myanmar dried chili prawn products for his friend back in Bhutan. He was running out of time to shop. Since the place wasn’t far from my office and I had Myanmar colleague who was familiar with the product and language, I decided to help him to buy.

Well, despite I wasn’t accustomed to the taste of the Myanmar food that I had today; it would not sink my wish and hope to visit Myanmar in the future. I will still keep it deep inside my heart to visit the Buddhist pilgrimage site over there. Please pray for me that soon I will realize this dream.

Hopefully M is willing to bring me along there hahaha… since their language is very different and hard to understand. Even I can’t recall the name of each food above and don’t even know the name of the food stall that we ate this afternoon hehe… So, wish me all the best!! :D

2 comments:

myanmar tourism said...

nice information.. thanks for sharing.

Rima Reyka said...

Thank you and my pleasure :)

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