Let’s pro­mote Myan­mar food

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - News - Photo: Face­book / The Ran­goon Sis­ters

is un­even. For­eign­ers pre­fer to eat food that has pre­dictable taste and not much vari­a­tion, as in the case of mo­hinga and laphet thoke.

In South­east Asia to­day, street food has be­come a mag­net for tourists. Given the cur­rent state of the global econ­omy, tourists are very care­ful with their money. They like to spend it on qual­ity goods and food at rea­son­able prices. Food must be clean, de­li­cious and safe.

There are lots of valu­able lessons for Myan­mar to learn in or­der to up­grade its food safety stan­dards. Sin­ga­pore and Thai­land are tops in food safety be­cause of their high stan­dards. Just take a look at the hawker cen­tres in Sin­ga­pore – they are squeaky clean and brightly lit. Re­cently, when a lo­cal hawker was awarded a Miche­lin star, it gen­er­ated big head­lines be­cause such awards are usu­ally only given to ex­pen­sive restau­rants.

This week, Miche­lin awarded one and two stars to 17 Thai street food ven­dors. None of them got the much-cov­eted three stars. The world’s most fa­mous food guide has been wise to come to South­east Asia in search of ex­cel­lent eater­ies. Soon, it will be in China. Ja­pan was the first Asian coun­try to get a Miche­lin rat­ing. In the near fu­ture there will be more South­east Asian restau­rants with Miche­lin stars be­cause of the rise of the mid­dle class and its en­thu­si­as­tic spend­ing on food.

Sin­ga­pore has clev­erly set aside nu­mer­ous cen­tral lo­ca­tions for restau­rants of all lead­ing na­tional cuisines and pro­motes it­self as the world cap­i­tal of good food. Even the most fa­mous dish in Sin­ga­pore has a for­eign name, Hainan chicken rice. For Thai­land, af­ter the Tom Yum Goong eco­nomic cri­sis in 1997, Bangkok had to think of quick ways to im­prove its dev­as­tated econ­omy. Af­ter all, the gov­ern­ment could not keep on bor­row­ing money. So, it de­cided to pro­mote Thai food. At the time, the Thai po­lit­i­cal at­mos­phere was demo­cratic, so it was easy to pro­mote Thai cui­sine in­ter­na­tion­ally.

Myan­mar needs to map out long-term ac­tion plans to pro­mote its na­tional and eth­nic food. Miche­lin said in a press re­lease that the Thai cap­i­tal’s culi­nary scene was as “di­verse as it is sur­pris­ing”. Well, ap­par­ently its star-giving staffers have not yet sam­pled the street food here, which is much more di­verse.

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