Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Monday, Mar 31, 2003

About Us
Contact Us
Metro Plus Delhi Published on Mondays & Thursdays

Features: Magazine | Literary Review | Life | Metro Plus | Open Page | Education | Book Review | Business | SciTech | Entertainment | Young World | Quest | Folio |

Metro Plus    Bangalore    Chennai    Coimbatore    Delhi    Hyderabad    Kochi    Madurai    Thiruvananthapuram    Visakhapatnam   

Printer Friendly Page Send this Article to a Friend

Yummy Burmese buffet...

Tealeaf salad, mutton with mango, these and other exotic dishes were on offer at the Burma on the Rocks food festival concluded recently at Belvedere in New Delhi's Le Meridien. SUMITRA SENAPATY tucks into some culinary secrets from th e land of the white elephant, brought to us by women chefs....


TRYING TO decide between Chinese, Indian or yet another night of Thai? The buffet spread at Burma on the Rocks food festival at Le Meridien's Belvedere, the rooftop nightclub in New Delhi, celebrates authentic Myanmar aromas - which are the first wake-up call to the senses - a fragrant fusion of garlic, sugar, chillies and peanuts.

Wedged between India and China, with a touch of Thailand to the East, Myanmar absorbed the culture and foods of its neighbours, combining all the three in complex and subtle layers. The Myanmar pantry - curries and wheat noodles, chickpeas and dried shrimps, fried garlic and coconut milk - highlights ingredients culled from the sub-continent to the South China Sea.

The British, who once ruled Myanmar, had the habit of calling everything with a yellow tinge of turmeric curry; consequently many dishes are called curry even though they are mild and not highly spiced. At Belvedere, the Myanmarese salads are also delicately seasoned, with limited oil

and spices. They're made with familiar ingredients like cellophane noodles, rice, potatoes, shredded dried shrimps and tamarind.

I had heard that they eat tea at Myanmar! This turned out to be a curious salad snack made of fermented tea leaves, actually quite refreshing when mixed with fried peanuts and eaten like a salad. Unique to Myanmar cuisine, Laphet is an unusual ingredient made by fermenting green tea leaves. This is mixed with a multitude of ingredients like fried garlic, green peppers, limejuice, toasted peanuts, sesame seeds and green chillies, according to one's taste. The tealeaf salad is slightly astringent, artichoke-like in flavour and interesting to eat, as it is something new. Equally special is the Myanmar ginger salad.

One of the most popular dishes at the Burma on the Rocks festival is On-No-Khaukswe, among the tastiest of Myanmar meals. It is essentially a well-brewed soup made of coconut and chicken extract. This soup, mixed with rice noodles, is served with other ingredients that have been chopped and kept in readiness in little bowls. On-No-Khaukswe is a wholesome one-dish meal eaten all over Burma. No it's not like the chopsuey, neither like the Thai or Indian style noodles, and it is best to eat it with a spoon, not a fork or chopsticks. The fried ingredients that make the difference are garlic, ginger, onion and potato. The other ingredients are chopped green chillies, coriander, mint, spring onions, lemon juice and chopped boiled eggs. Possibly a type of fish paste is added. Last of all, while eating don't forget to add the lemon juice. The essence of Myanmarese food is minimalism and simplicity. At Belvedere one has the freedom to look at the food, then pick and choose what to eat. Apart from Laphet and On-No-Khaukswe, another must try is the Fish with Bamboo shoot and the interesting Mutton with Mango Curry.

Vegetarians can check out dishes like Tomato Curry with Peanuts and potato curry, cooked in the Myanmar way. It is best to eat these highly aromatic dishes with steamed rice or the delicately flavoured coconut rice. A team of lady chefs, flown in all the way from Myanmar, is preparing the food for Burma on the Rocks. Authentic, home cooked food is what they serve, backed by years of experience with the famous Green Elephant restaurants of Myanmar. Interestingly, this is the first time that a delegation representing Myanmar cuisine has travelled outside Myanmar.

Printer friendly page  
Send this article to Friends by E-Mail

Metro Plus    Bangalore    Chennai    Coimbatore    Delhi    Hyderabad    Kochi    Madurai    Thiruvananthapuram    Visakhapatnam   

Features: Magazine | Literary Review | Life | Metro Plus | Open Page | Education | Book Review | Business | SciTech | Entertainment | Young World | Quest | Folio |


The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | Home |

Comments to : thehindu@vsnl.com   Copyright 2003, The Hindu
Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu