For a learner in English language nothing thrills me as the discovery of a new word or a new usage that emerges in the current writing. In the last decade the prefix. 'Father. 'has gained immense popularity beginning with the famous phrase.' Father of all wars'. 'father of all evils' and a spate of phrases following the trend.
Then comes the suffix...'friendly'. used in the current computer jargon. starting with '...user friendly' and a string of friendliest holding sway in writing and conversation. Very recently the suffix '...divide' makes a new debut in the cyber environment with the coinage 'digital divide'. defining the disparity between the digital have and have not.
Such fascination lures me to elaborate on a '...divide' of my own to maintain a trendy aura in the mainstream of pragmatic variations of the English language. In substantiating my presentation. allow me. ladies and gentlemen to introduce '...the geo-gastronomic divide'.
Myanmar have lived for centuries in the common geographical divide between north and south. which also goes under the other alternative usage. upper and lower. In our native Myanmar language we call the northerners as 'A-nyar-thar' and the southerners as 'Auk-thar'. With the nomenclature follows the apparent or subtle differences in life styles. culture. social mores and epicurean and gastronomical ramifications has no iota of intent to construe any discriminatory parameters. but just a mere indication of difference in prescription. difference in preparation. difference in taste preferences and eating habits.
Myanmar has such a variety of snacks to offer to tantalise the palates of the most demanding gourmets. And the range of fast food has been in existence long ago here. With the opening of the economic environment the cosmopolitan flavor has surged ahead with zest and fervor catering at par with national-traditional as well as ethnic exotica. But over and above that scenario some snacks have had established distinct identities well patronized by gourmets. For example Mohingar and all its variations to the menu such as deltaic. Mawlamyaing. Dawei Rakhine hot belong to the Auk (Southern) hemisphere. On the other hand 'Nangyi Monti (the neo-spaghetti type snack mix) is typically' A-nyar (northern) with its variants such as rice noodles. flour noodles. a special localized concoction 'Khodaung Monti'.
'Myee shay' the theme snack. also has a typical A-nyar lineage. with place-name qualifier 'Mandalay' prefixing the delicacy to emphasize its place of origin. Here again many reputable recipes such as Kyaukme. Bhamaw. Myitkyina. Lashio. Taunggyi vie in the snack market to allure the inquiring epicures. But still the generic term has taken an unshakable hold. Thus. so be it and so will it be!
The pull of the snack market as a result of the urban migration generated the mushrooming of food centres to cater to local patrons and foreign clients who come for business and pleasure. Most of the localised indigenous food converge to Yangon the capital city and hub of activities. Naturally the caterers have to adapt to local taste and thus lose a little of its intrinsic aroma and values. Nevertheless A-nyar food has taken a viable hold enhancing its cosmopolitan mix. integral to versatility which goes along with growth of a nation. But the visit to the place of origin once a while to savour the unadulterated taste will be a worthwhile venture. don't you think? And also bring along friends and let them hear the touch of the connoisseur as you embark on the tantalising delicacy. As second best. for want of such a trip here is the recipe to at least assuage your aspiring quest.
- Rice noodles (spaghetti type) chicken or pork
- bean sprouts
- onion sprouts
- Chinese coriander leaves
- dried red chilli
- ginger starch
- salted soy bean with syrup
- dark soy sauce
- salted pickled tofu
- pickled mustard leaves
- mixed vegetables
First marinate meat with salt. Boil till tender. Strain meat and let it cool. Debone flesh and shred into thing pieces. Place in bowl. Put rice noodles in strainer. Dip in boiling water to soften and drain. Place them in a bowl.
Put bean sprouts in strainer. Dip in boiling water and drain. Place in bowl. Deep fry dried red chilli till the colour turns old gold. Strain. let it cool and pound. Then mix in fried oil and place in bowl. Pound garlic. Scoop in small sauce bowl and mix with vinegar.
Cut onion sprouts into small pieces. Also cut coriander leaves. Put in plate. Mix starch with warm water and stir till it turns into thick paste. Put in bowl. Mix salted pickled tofu with warm water and stir till paste. Put in bowl. Optional : cut loin of pork into thin strips. Dip in tampura and deep-fry till golden brown. Put them in a plate.
Prepare soup with chicken bones or pork rib adding a dash of ginger. You see there's a sumptuous tableful of ingredients galore. the largest ever among all snacks. the special home-made recipe we enjoy often.
How to prepare and enjoy a bowlful of Myee-shay (Dressing)
First scoop one helping of rice noodles into a dinner bowl. Put a liberal amount of shredded meat. Add red chilli oil for colour and aroma. Put starch paste. soybean pickle. salted tofu paste. and a teaspoon of dark soy sauce. Then top it with bean sprouts. (onion sprouts if you like it.) Add pounded red chilli if you like the hot burning taste. Add pickled vegetables if you prefer the sour taste. Then cut fried pork strip into sizeable pieces and top it. Take a teaspoon of garlic vinegar.
To make an accompanying delicious soup. take a bowl of hot stock. Sprinkle pepper. cut onion sprouts & coriander leaves. Enjoy with Myee Shay.