Shan State is one of the most popular States in Myanmar for tourists, not only because of its cuisine, but also because of the different attraction it offers. It is located in the Middle Eastern part of Myanmar, and its capital Taunggyi is famous for the Hot-air Balloon Festival.
It is also famous for the beautiful Inle Lake, where the floating gardens, the fishermen village and the unique way of one-leg paddling will fascinate you.
For adventurers, Hsipaw and Kalaw are two great cities to be in touch with nature and do trekking while Kakku Pagodas are a must visit the religious site.
If Asian food is one of the best and most varied in the world, imagine a country with its own delicious cuisine plus a healthy dose of Asian ingredients and cooking styles. Burmese cuisine is also very healthy, favoring fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as fish products like fish sauce and fish paste and fermented seafood.
Here are three of the most popular and authentic Shan State dishes:
1. Shan Noodles
Shan noodles are one of the most popular dishes in Myanmar. You will find them in every teahouse and restaurant. You can have them either as a soup or as a salad, and in both cases, the sauce is the same. The noodles are different. The ones used for the soup are sticky and flat rice noodles, whereas the ones used for the salad are thick and round rice noodles.
To prepare the sauce, they blend tomatoes and then add salt, sugar, oil, sugar cane sauce and paprika. Then everything goes in a pot to boil.
2. Shan Yellow Rice Cake with Tomato Sauce
This is one of the dishes, when tasted, gets glued to your memory and taste buds forever.
For cooking the rice, there is no trick, just wash it, add water, turmeric powder for the yellow color, salt and a little bit of chicken powder.
There are two different tomato sauces, one to mix with the rice and the other to put on top of the rice cake.
For the first one, cut tomatoes in half, add salt and cook them in a pot until you have a sauce. Leave to cool. Remove the tomato skin. Then, you stir the yellow rice to make it a little bit sticky and mix it with this tomato sauce. Before pouring all the tomato sauce, separate some in a bowl and add turmeric oil. Use this mix to wet your hands and season the rice cake while you shape it.
The second tomato sauce to add on top of the cake is the key. To prepare it, heat oil and add onions, garlic, fermented soya bean powder, dried chili powder and turmeric powder. Then, add grained tomatoes, salt and chicken powder. At this point, you can also add coriander or spring onion and chicken or pork.
There is always another side sauce to add on top of the cake, turmeric and garlic sauce. Just heat oil, fry garlic and then add turmeric powder. Its crunchy-garlic touch is amazing. And any cracker like pork skin, bean or rice goes perfectly well with this dish.
3. Black Sesame Seed and Sticky Rice Cake (KhorPoat)
This is a very traditional snack in Shan State made with purple rice, black and round sesame seeds and salt.
It is really interesting to see how they prepare it. They, place the cooked rice into a stone “bowl” situated on the ground and add black round sesame seeds (already mashed) and salt. Then there is a “wooden machine” that smashes and mixes it to form the dough.
To sell it, they separate the dough into small portions of the same size and wrap it in the banana leaf so that it doesn’t dry.
The most popular and tasty way of having it is fried or barbequed, although you can also eat it raw. It is usually eaten in winters and served with brown sugar or jaggery on the side. It only costs between 100-200 kyats ($0.1 – 0.2).
Content and Picture Courtesy – Mr. Juan Gallardo, Writer at Myanmar Travel Essentials
Juan has traveled extensively to discover everything about Burmese cuisine, tasting traditional dishes cooked for him by the locals. It is these amazing dishes, the warmth of the people and the beauty of the land that is captured in his book “Delicious Myanmar”.