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World Eats: Myanmar Royal Cuisine
Picture credits: From the outside, Royal Myanmar Cuisine looks like a drive-through transformed into a hole-in-the-wall place in a peaceful business square with a stripper shop, a booze shop and a few questionable-looking restaurants. However, the reasons for coming here are not the ambience, but the food and the folk who make it.
Mawi Zo, who calls herself "Aa", is a dainty and delicate lady with black coat and a timid grin. Mawi, a native of the Chin rainforest of Myanmar (also known as Burma), is the youngest of eight orphans. Leaving behind to look after all her relatives and grandchildren whose families had either relocated or died, Mawi was able to graduate from high schools in the Yangon metropolis before she immigrated as a fugitive to Guam and then to the United States.
After arriving, Mawi made her way to Clarkston through a refugees relocation programme, took ESL courses, signed up at Georgia Perimeter College (although she had to get out for reasons of familial responsibilities) and worked with her sibling in a local pub. Mawi has fought since 2001 not only for her new home, but also for the babies of her deceased sibling.
Now, as they go to school, she can at last do something she dreamed of as a young Myanmar girl: starting her own company. Through common mates Mawi was made acquainted with Nyan Aung, another Burmese fugitive who came to Indianapolis via Malaysia in 2015.
Together the two buddies agreed to open one of Burma's only restaurant of the city. As most of the Burmese congregation live in Clarkston, the site made good business sense. ÿThis is the place to be. The Burmese kitchen bears influence from India, China and Thailand. "They know the Asiatic pasta, but ours are very different and delicious," says Mawi.
" It refers to a classical Burmese meal, commonly known as lah pet thoke: a blend of fermenting leafy greens, groundnuts, fried cloves, shrimps and dry syrup seed ($7.50 at Royal Myanmar). This results in a pronounced harmony of four main flavours - acidic, savoury, spicy as well as bitterness - that form the spine of most Burmese cuisine.
There are 15 brackets on the bi-lingual image menu, most of which will be known to both the Burmese nation and those who have travelled to Myanmar. Myanmar pasta lettuce ($7) made from wheaten pasta, powdered chickpeas and chickpeas, eaten in a savoury stock, is what Mawi is recommending for the first time.
Burmesian chickens chocolate mousse ('99) is another favourite option: full and smooth with wheaten pasta, coir milks, raspberry and lots of onions, cloves and herbs. This alone makes the trip to Clarkston valuable. Although Burmese food is very hot, Mawi will ask you before she cooks.
It is very hard for the Burmese population to open shops," Mawi trusts. "Mawi and Aung have lent money from their family to open Royal Myanmar in October last year. "I' m glad when new clients enjoy my food," says Mawi with a smiling face. 1353 Brockett Road, Clarkston.