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How Halal Burmese food in LA is important to the'most prosecuted minority in the world
They are all members of Rohingya, a Moslem majority in the south-east Asiatic country of Myanmar. Rohingya are gathering in Mutiara, a place that has not even been specifically recognized as Burmese because they know it will offer something that few other places can - genuine Hallal Burmese food, like something directly from a teashop in central Yangon.
The Los Angeles Rohingya Society's founder member Ko Ko Ko Naing, who has been a US national since 2010, leaves at least twice a months, even though the club avoids him a little. It is difficult to find Burmese dishes in the United States that are cooked according to Muslim customs.
Since I moved out of the Yangon neighborhood, Myanmar's biggest town. A lot of the musty brickwork houses on my road carried signs of famous Indic merchants who came to Britain and made Myanmar an indian province in 1866.
Ethnical clashes between Buddhist and Moslem neighbours have broken out. Sixty years after the Brits abandoned Burma, the food stands in Yangon's city centre still mirror Hindu and Moslem influence as much as the architectural style. Sellers are selling pumpkin fry and fatty, greasy potatoe zamosas, often around the corners of teashops with tough, naan-like paratah (pronounced pa-lah-tha) and savoury, halalic goats currys.
Mohinga is the nation's base for seafood soups, roasting in huge barrels on the pavements and is omnipresent throughout Myanmar, regardless of one' s sect. When you' ve been reading any recent updates about Myanmar, it may seem that it' s all about the area. Rohingya Muslims in the North West of the county have made waves around the globe in recent years as the most harassed ethnical group in the hemisphere - largely because of theirbelief.
In spite of a long tradition of Islamist colonists in the area, the Myanmar authorities regard the more than one million Rohingya people of Bangladesh as illegals and deny them nationality. Ethnical clashes between Buddhist and Moslem neighbours have flown up again and again in recent years, most recently in August, when Rohingya fighters reacted to their own marginalisation with lethal assaults on Burmese outposts.
The nucleus of Vidriol is a tribe of Myanmar nationism, which regards the Muslims as a menace to the Buddhaist Congregation. Rohingya even in America has described the sense of being pursued by other Myanmar migrants, sometimes even by Buddha who have escaped from the infamous Tatmadaw. Islamic kids in Yangon/Photo by RJ Vogt.
The Rohingya, who have settled in Los Angeles, have a wealth of fashionable Burmese pubs that offer a home cuisine. However, while the Monterey Park serves exquisite samples of other Burmese food in places like Silver Lake's Daw Yee Myanmar Corner and YOMA Myanmar, none of them nail the flavor and textures of food cooked in Myanmar's most crowded "hole-in-the-wall" stores and popular Myanmar-stores.
That' s one of the reasons Myanmar's immigrants and innkeeper Myo Aung Mutiara opened. Myo-yo aung says he brought hallal Burmese food to los angeles. Burmese jasmine market/photo by RJ Vogt. My son Myo Aung was raised a few block from where I live in Yangon. In 1997, during myanmari' s reign, he emigrated with a college students permit.
Born in Culver City, Burma, he graduated in economics from El Camino College. He and his brother-in-law opened a local eatery in 2002 in the Jasmine Market area. When Myo Aung sells the jasmine market to another man in Myanmar, who has since sells it to a third man, he moved to Inglewood and founded Mutiara in 2007.
In the last ten years he has developed a constant flow of regular customers, including police officers, cabbies, immigration and Rohingya people. Myo Aung' s print dinner list contains a mixture of Malay sian and Asian dishes, but on the weekend Myo Aung will reveal his origins by offering Burmese Islamic food. This is Keema franatha at the Jasminmarkt/Photo by RJ Vogt.
Naing says that he and his colleague Rohingya, who lives in L.A., appreciate Mutiara because it is a convenient place for them. They also visit the Jasmine Market, where Myo Aung Aung's compatriot Aung Kyaw Oo and his English speaking English speaking spouse, Fatima Bholat, still use the same Hallal recipe created by Myo Aung and his whole household 16 years ago.
Jasmin is still the only place in LA where I have longed for Yangon-style steamsas the most since I left Myanmar (Mutiara ceased operating them last year). One Tuesday afternoons Bholat was telling me that, despite inter-religious tensions in her husband's home state, "all sorts of" Chinese come to Jasmin to taste Burmese Islamic food: "Among the most favorite are pickled canned marinaded samovars and chickpeas to compete with any other Yangon business.
After visiting Myanmar for the first a year ago, Bholat added that she is keen to add more menus that mirror the food she has found on the roads. Meanwhile, the Jasmine Market will still offer the food it knows best. With Mutiara, the two restaurants promote a mixture of South East Asia food, but if you go to one of them on a week-end, you can find out the facts about L.A.'s Muslim Myanmar food world.