In my family we have a tradition of celebrating Christmas the unusual way: instead of staying home under the tree we travel to far away places. So I was very happy to spend my Christmas holidays in Myanmar (or Burma), a truly beautiful country.
On this very inspiring trip, I had the chance to discover the unique flavours of the country’s kitchen and I would like to share my impressions with you.
You could say that the Myanmar cuisine is to some extent influenced by the famous cuisines of China, India and Thailand. It uses lots of garlic, ginger, chillies, tamarind and turmeric. A meal usually consits of a meat, fish or vegetable curry served with rice, stir fried or raw vegetables and a soup.
The curries are very rich in flavour and often quite spicy. Curries are not prepared with coconut milk as you might know from Thai cuisine but with vegetable oil and spicy (fish-) pastes, giving the dishes a unique flavour.
There was always a great choice of vegetables being served with every meal, often cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, cucumber, okra (“lady fingers”) and beans. The vegetables were always super fresh and we often had a tasty lentil soup with the meal.
For dessert, fresh fruits such as papaya, watermelon and pineapple are being served. I also loved semolina cake, a typical Burmese sweet cake made with coconut. Another interesting snack which was served after dinner was a paste of green tea, mixed with chillies and roasted nuts and garlic. A very interesting flavour combination.
I always love to visit markets: there is so much to see and the variety of food and colours is amazing. It is interesting to see how people shop at the local markets and how they assess and choose the produce for their meals. I could for hours watch the people shop and chat on the Burmese markets.
The trip to Myanmar has been a fantastic experience and we have been welcomed with open arms by the friendly locals. The (religious) culture of the country is more than impressive and there is much to see and discover that I have to come back again!