Let’s take a look at Lin, Yoe and May Zon’s daily lunch! Shan ngar htamin nel and more.
Japan Foundation staff from seven Southeast Asian countries and Japan report with pictures and videos about what they had for lunch for five days. You will hear “Delicious!” in each language in the video. Catch a glimpse of their local food culture while you enjoy the reports.
Today I wanted to have a meal with less heavy taste and color, determined to break the routine of common Burmese dishes which are strong in color and taste. Thus, I decided to make “htamin-baung” (literally meaning “mixed rice”) for my lunch. Htamin-baung is sticky fried pork and vegetables over rice. The topping can be varied: some would put grilled pork with fermented beans in sticky starch liquid over rice. But today, I made a simple pork and vegetable topping with carrots, broccoli, Chinese cabbage and French beans. To supplement the rich flavor combo of rice and vegetable mixture, I made a matching small side dish- a salad of sliced onions and green chilies sprinkled with lemon to balance the taste. It was very refreshing and delicious! It is more common for Burmese people to eat htamin-baung at a restaurant or to order it as a take-out, because a typical Burmese home-cooked lunch is a set of rice, soup, vegetables and curry.
Today, I had “rice salad” for a quick lunch at a restaurant. Mixing rice with onions, sliced cabbage, garlic oil and seasonings, one can have this dish together with fermented bean sprouts, fried fish meat and soup. Rice salad is a quick meal that Burmese people can prepare and eat easily. The way of making rice salad can be varied, and each household or restaurant has their own fashion of making it. The ingredients differ according to the style of rice salad one is making, and thus the taste also varies. Be it sour, spicy or mild, one can make it according to their own preference. There are also various types of soups that can be matched with rice salad. Today’s hot soup was very compatible with the dish and was very delicious! Hot green tea will also be a good accompaniment to rice salad.
Seafood with rice
Today’s lunch was seafood filled with nutrients such as vitamins, calcium and iron. I ordered it from a restaurant owned by my friend. I ordered 3 dishes: seafood salad, which is a mixture of crabs, cuttlefish and prawns with sour and spicy dressing; steamed fish stuffed with garlic, lime, basil and coriander; and lastly, grilled squids with sauce. I ate these dishes with rice. Perhaps a little bit spicy, but with the combination of all types of flavors- sweet, sour and spicy, it was a very delicious lunch.
Burmese rice and curry
As I worked from home today, I could spare enough time to cook a typical Burmese lunch at home. Normally, a Burmese lunch includes rice, one meat curry, a cup of soup and fried dishes of vegetables, fish, etc. For today’s lunch, I cooked chicken curry, fried green beans, stuffed eggplant curry, vegetable with chickpea soup and fried dried fish. It took some time to prepare the ingredients and cook all of these dishes for a complete set of meal, but I enjoyed making it, and it was satisfying to eat a variety of dishes with many flavors.
Shan Fish Rice Salad
Today’s lunch was my all-time favorite food “Shan fish rice salad,” which I ordered from a nearby Shan restaurant. It is one of the most popular dishes that originates from Shan state, eastern part of Myanmar. Loved by people from all parts of Myanmar, “Shan fish rice salad” is made of rice mixed with fish and potato. It tastes sweet and has a deep flavor. Some don’t put potatoes in the salad so the fish flavor becomes strong; however, I prefer to have potato mixed with my rice and fish so that it tastes sweet. It is typically served with chive roots, garlic, spring onions, peanuts and fried chili. Accompanied by hot chicken bone soup, fish rice salad is a very fulfilling meal. Typically, people eat Shan fish rice salad for breakfast or as a snack, but I prefer to eat it as the main course. Among various popular Shan foods, fish rice salad is the food that one can prepare at home easily and eat either for breakfast, lunch or snack. Today, the sweet flavor of fish rice salad satisfied my cravings and boosted my energy throughout the day.