Like Shan noodles? Try Wa soup
EVEN down here in Yangon, they say you’re never more than 100 yards from a Shan noodle shop. Or at least, that’s the way it sometimes seems.
Shan noodles are good for breakfast as well as lunch, and wherever you live you don’t need to go all the way downtown in search of them.
Noodle salads, Shan noodles with or without soup, meeshay salad, myay oh meeshay (noodles cooked in an earthenware pot), malar curry, malar noodle, Shan kneaded rice: All abound. Shan foods are sold not only in street stalls but also in sitdown shops. The chef may be Shan, but people from upper Myanmar called Anyarthar also cook Shanstyle food.
If you like Shan and Shan-style foods, try Tant Yann Shan Traditional Foods on Mitta Street in South Okkalapa for a unique spin on the region: Wa.
Run by Wa entrepreneurs, Tant Yann offers traditional Wa mote ti among a range of Shan foods on offer.
The dish is a staple of northern Shan State, inescapable at ceremonies of any description, including weddings. It tastes like Shan noodles in soup and, like many home-cooked favourites, can vary considerably from place to place in terms of ingredients and degrees of spiciness. Even the name might change from one village to the next. But wherever you go, and whatever they call it, you can bet it will be hot, sour and spicy.
The noodles are best made by kneading flour, paste and eggs instead of using the ready-made variety. The main ingredients are tomato sauce made with ground chilli and poppy seeds. Fry the garlic to taste in sweet-smelling oil and fish sauce while boiling water as if for mohinga gravy. Place your hsan zi mishay noodles in the boiling water and drizzle the tomato sauce and sweet oil while sprinkling the poppy seeds. For more spice, and more authentic local flavour, add fried chilli and coriander, Ma Nan Sai Ohn from Tant Yan Shan noodle shop advised.
Tant Yan itself has a house tomato sauce already made up in its sparkling-clean kitchen and mixes it with chicken soup at the customer’s command. This being Yangon, the chef will add chicken or pork gravy if asked, though it would not normally come with this dish in the mountains. There is no MSG. The price is K1500-K2000 per bowl.
“We’ve been open three years. We didn’t think Wa mote ti would go down well here, but customers keep ordering it,” said Nan Sai Ohn.
For those who can’t make it to Wa region to try the snack, the shop is open for lunch and dinner.
Tant Yann serves the Wa dish, which is a staple of weddings in northern Shan State.
A dish of Wa mote ti can be bought at Tant Yann Shan Traditional Foods in South Okkalapa for K1500 to K2000.