January 28, 2017
SLOW FOOD IN MANDALAY
I’ve been lucky finding Slow Food believers and advocates in places I’m visiting for the first time. I was in Yangon a few months back and now I found myself in Mandalay.
Why do you think they eat slow and well? The place is still very pure and pristine and our friend/guide tells us that locals of Mandalay are mostly entrepreneurs. That means no big conglomerates, no big companies, mostly MSMEs. When you see people take food from home in tiffin carriers (what we call fiambrera or pimbrera) and carry them to work, food delivered to business establishments not in styro foam but in these metal containers, then you know there is still the old and traditional in Mandalay.
The bananas are naturally sweet. I can eat a few in one sitting. The native fruits like papaya and watermelon still look natural and not GMO’d.
The chicken we ordered at Too Too restaurant one late dinner were the native kind. It is a little tough but cooked in sauce and oil to make it more tender to the bite. You order one dish for about 4,500 Kyats (pronounced Chat and about $3.50 equivalent) but you get free side dishes like fried garlic, fried eggplant slices, and different kinds of fish sauce. Our dinner for five, which could feed 10 people with a big tureen of rice, cost just 42,000 Kyats (approximately $40.00).
The servings are mostly chicken and fish (real deep sea fish and not farmed fish). The owner knows better than to serve beef or pork as most diners either are Buddhists or Hindu, so chicken and fish are the safest bets. The locals and now tourists (our friend says this has been featured in Lonely Planet) pack the place for lunch and early dinner. We got there at 7pm and almost didn’t make it to the last round of orders.
What a filling dinner it was! But guess what? We were not finished yet! As we ended dinner early, our host bought the famous Murtabak from Little India for our supper. It’s pratha filled with potatoes and lamb or chicken and pan fried in a big square piece which you then cut up and eat with onions and lime then some chili sauce.
There are no fast food joints in Mandalay, at least from my experience. All food were local and slow. The market has street food but mostly all food are still organic and natural.
It’s good to know places like Mandalay and in my next stop Pyin Oo Lwin are still the way Nature intended them to be.
It’s not just Yangon then. There’s a lot of Slow Food in the rest of Myanmar. Off to Bagan next…
Photos by Chit Juan
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