Bamar food surprised me. It is so different, in fact, it almost defies description. Ask any traveler and they would probably make a face and tell you the same. Bamar food is certainly an acquired taste and Tony seems to be the only one raving about it.
Photograph by Fanny Farkas
A typical meal consists of a big bowl of rice and two or three small curry dishes of either mutton, fish or chicken. What makes a Bamar meal so unique, however, are all the unidentifiable side dishes that add some extra flavors. And the best thing is, the small dishes keep coming until the table is completely covered.
Although I haven’t exactly figured out what most of these dishes are, tamarind seems to be one of the main ingredients served in one form or another. In addition, there are many leafy things and crunchy bits as well as oily pastes and fiery dips. The not-so-subtle flavors are often bitter or extremely tangy and can quickly overtake the entire dish, which is why Bamar food doesn’t always get a thumbs up from travelers. While some might find the tastes too extreme, Tony can’t get enough of it.
If you don’t particularly like Bamar cuisine for its flavors, you have to love it for its originality. I haven’t tasted anything else quite like it, which in itself is quite exciting. My favorite dish is the pickled tea leaf salad – it’s worth coming to Myanmar for this one dish alone.