The Wandercooks have just come back from two and a half weeks travelling through mysterious Myanmar; a mouth-watering journey to discover its exotic cuisine. We’re so excited to share with you everything we learned that we’ve decided to hold a very special Burmese Food Week!
Every day this week we’ll reveal a brand new recipe; from spicy curries to colourful stirfrys and zesty salads, so that by the end of the week you’ll be able to prepare your very own Burmese Banquet.
So, what’s the secret to Burmese food? Join us over the next five days as we share with you our favourite Burmese recipes.
From Foreign to Favourite: A Taste for Burmese Cuisine
Stepping off the air-conditioned plane into the hot, humid air, we honestly had no idea what to expect at the start of our adventure through Myanmar.
What would the people be like?
What would the cities and villages be like?
And most importantly… what would its food be like?
North, South, East and West, we set out on a wandering adventure, sampling street food here, scoping out traditional restaurants there, and seeking out authentic homemade dishes at every opportunity.
Whether you know their country as Myanmar or Burma, one thing’s for sure: these people sure know how to cook. On practically every street corner you’ll find the locals with their amazing street food stalls; traditional restaurants serving up tantalising meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner; fresh food markets sprawling the length of city blocks.
Everywhere you look, the Burmese attitude to fresh authentic food is a sight to behold.
It’s one thing to witness all this from afar, but we wanted to get hands-on and really sink our teeth – literally! – into this incredible cuisine. So to find out more we decided to go straight to the experts.
Cooking at Alice & Su’s Kitchen
Enter Alice and Su, dynamic mother and daughter duo of Mama Guesthouse, Mandalay. These lovely ladies are passionate about sharing healthy and tasty Burmese recipes with guests and visitors, and they welcomed us aboard for one of their amazing Burmese Cooking Classes.
Alice & Su’s Kitchen is on the very top floor of the guesthouse, and their open-air dining and cooking area has amazing views over the rooftops of Mandalay. A pity for us that the rain had been pouring non stop the entire time we were in Mandalay. It just made for good excuse to spend the day inside cooking really (not that an excuse is ever needed for the Wandercooks).
Rain or shine, you’ll have eyes only for the food once class begins!
Duly armed with a sharp knife and all those tasty fresh ingredients (and not a stock cube or MSG in sight!), we learnt a heap of super quick and scrumptious Burmese food recipes in less than an hour and a half. We even got to enjoy a huge tasty meal after our efforts in the kitchen, always the best part of any cooking class!
As ‘head chef’ of these cooking classes, Su’s appetite for cooking began at the tiny age of 10, learning how to cook with her grandmother and grandaunt during summer holidays from school. Nowadays it’s one of Su’s top priorities to demonstrate that delicious food only needs fresh, healthy ingredients. Throw away the stock cubes and flavour enhancers such as MSG, you don’t need them here!
After all, when real food tastes this good, why in the world would you want to use anything fake?
Burmese Food’s (Not-So-Secret) Ingredients
A bite here, a taste test there… it soon became clear that there are a few not-so-secret ingredients that are featured in lots of Burmese food recipes. So just what makes that authentic flavour?
Here are just a few of our favourites, and we’ll reveal a few more throughout the coming week:
- Shallots: Bringing that delicate flavour and a hint of sweetness, these shallots have now become one of our most favourite ingredients of all time.
- Shrimp Powder: Dried and powdered baby shrimp doesn’t sound so appetising, but when added to a dish it give a subtle ‘umami’ flavour to a dish in a similar wayto Japanese dashi.
- Turmeric Oil: Did you know that in countries that use a lot of turmeric in their cooking, such as India and Myanmar, the rates of Alzheimer’s are actually lower? Yep, this colourful and flavourful spice is not just tasty, it’s really good for you too. Tip: Make up a batch of Turmeric Oil by gently heating 2 cups of sunflower oil with approx. 1 tsp turmeric powder. Add to your favourite curry sauce or salad dressing for a healthy hit.
Who would have thought so much flavour could be so re-fresh-ingly simple?
Tomorrow we’ll be sharing the first of five of our favourite discoveries. This recipe will have you coming back for seconds, thirds and fourths, and we can’t wait to share it with you.
And last but not least, here’s me looking ridiculously guilty, as plate after plate of amazing Burmese food lands on the table. So much food and so little time…
See you tomorrow!
If you’re heading to Mandalay get in touch with Su at Mama Guesthouse via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: Mama Guesthouse | No. 58, 60th Street, between 25th and 26th Street | Mandalay
Class Size: Anywhere from a couple up to a tour group of 20.
Intensity: Hands-on fun for everyone. Grab an apron and get stuck in!