Aka BurmaAca Burma
Postcard from Myanmar (aka Burma)
This was a brief, intensive journey as I drove through Myanmar (aka Burma) via Singapore to see the cuisine there. Myanmar, Burma? The Burmese name has two mythologies, one that the British couldn't put forward when they first came to Burma in 1824 and thus re-named it Burma, and the other that links Burma to the name of the ruling Bamar people.
Bamar make up 68%, followed by Shan with 9%, so they are important for the whole population. Burma was the initial name and it is now the legal name, so I will do it. Myanmar's tourist industry has only really taken off in recent years since the 2011/12 reforms of democracy after years of domination under armed regime.
For Myanmar as a tourist resort, this means that after years of relatively close bordering, Myanmar is a land almost unaffected by the West. It' s one of a kind, inspired by its neighbors China, India and a little Thailand (I'm sure this is nearer to the Thai border where I didn't dare this time).
Lettuce is very specific, my favorites were the omnipresent Lahpet Thoke (a marinated tealeaf lettuce with walnuts, green peas, chili and garlic) and Gin Thoke a powerful package of a lettuce that is mainly composed of fine minced young lettuce. And I also liked her potato lettuce, often with small shrimp.
Seasonally, while I was there, tamarinds lettuce was a miracle, as were the lush mangos that were usually eaten at most mealtimes, as they were during the year. Ninety percent of Myanmar's population are Theravada Buddhists, and all men are supposed to be spending at least a whole weekend at one point in their life as monks.
This is why many of Myanmar's friars, from small insiders in rose-coloured dresses, to young new people in knows, to friars of all age, dressed in either bordeaux or amber. The longest timber footbridge in the world (teak), U Bein Brigde, is located in Amarapura, right next to the Mahagandayon Monastery, a large one with over a thousand friars lining up for lunches every night, a luncheon that visitors can take part in in in a different arena.
Also an excursion to the silversmith and the silver foil, all by hands, or better said with a mallet. Throughout Myanmar, craftsmanship and skills abound, and tradition is appreciated and cultivated. Soon more about Myanmar! I' ve flown to Yangon with Singapore Airlines flying over Singapore.