Street Eats: where to find Rakhine food in Yan­gon

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse - KHIN WYNE PHYU PHYU

IF it’s sour, spicy and salty that you crave, look no fur­ther than Rakhine State. Bet­ter still, find a good tra­di­tional Rakhine restau­rant in Yan­gon and or­der a mont ti, the jewel in the crown of Myan­mar’s far western tra­di­tional cui­sine. Or you can sam­ple the stuffed fish, pa­paya salad or mote phat salad. Seafood, chicken, pork and fresh­wa­ter fish are cooked al­most with­out oil in many Rakhine dishes, a boon for those who like their food healthy.

Many such dishes can be found around U Tun Lin Chan Road, Ka­maryut town­ship (Hledan), also known for its train­ing schools and fash­ion stores.

I rec­om­mend Tharli Swa Rakhine tra­di­tional food restau­rant, opened last Jan­uary by Kyaukpyu en­trepreneurs.

The own­ers or­der their fish from home ev­ery day, a fact which draws big crowds to the small shop. Food is nor­mally gone by din­ner time, so hurry over – good luck find­ing a ta­ble.

The fresh fish is key, as most Rakhine dishes are built around fish paste. They also fea­ture plenty of chilli. The prawns are net­ted at the seashore early in the rainy sea­son, then smashed af­ter be­ing steeped in salts be­fore be­ing stored in pots. Lo­cally grown limes pro­vide the sour­ness, with a lit­tle help from vine­gar. Pop­u­lar dishes at Thar Li Swa in­clude fish­er­man’s soup (tout-san), crab salad, crab curry, seafood salad and veg­etable salad. Other sal­ads cen­tre on prawn, oc­to­pus, squid, and shell­fish, and a par­tic­u­larly full tout-san. Wa­ter or ready­made mont ti soup is heated in a pot. Add lemon grass and wait un­til it boils. Then put in the seafood and bring the soup back to the boil. Add the fish paste un­less it’s al­ready in the mont ti, plus vine­gar if you think it might not be sour enough. Sprin­kle pep­pers for aroma, and basil for a more bal­anced flavour.

Other sought-af­ter dishes in­clude mus­sel salad, shells salad, seafood salad, and veg­etable salad. None of these will break the bank, at K1000 for veg­etable salad and K2000 for the other dishes. Rice noo­dles are pre­pared right in front of you to show the noo­dles don’t con­tain for­ma­lin.

– Trans­la­tion by Khant Lin Oo.

Pho­tos: Khin Wyne Phyu Phyu

Tharli Swa, a Rakhine tra­di­tional food restau­rant on U TUn Lin Chan Road, is a hid­den gem of Yan­gon’s lo­cal culinary scene.

Pho­tos: Nyo Me

The team searches for the real name of the Lokanat build­ing on Merchant Street.

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