Suc­cess is...

Prestige (Singapore) - - AGENDA -

septem­ber is go­ing to be an ex­cit­ing month for Bryan Koh. The 33-year-old is of­fi­cially re­leas­ing not one, but two cook­books. The first of which is 0451 Morn­ings Are For Mont Hin Gar, a 603page pub­li­ca­tion that cen­tres on Burmese cui­sine.

“I chose Myan­mar be­cause I’m gen­er­ally drawn to the un­known. When I first started work on this project a few years ago, the coun­try had just opened up and hardly any­body knew any­thing about its cui­sine,” says Koh, who is also co-founder of cake com­pany Chalk Farm.

It be­came his per­sonal mis­sion to un­cover more. To en­sure that his cook book would be as au­then­tic as could be, Koh took his time writ­ing, opt­ing to travel ex­ten­sively but in­ter­mit­tently through­out Myan­mar over the course of two years. “Trav­el­ling to the ex­trem­i­ties of the coun­try for re­search was sim­ply thrilling,” says Koh of his at­tempt to un­der­stand the lo­cal cul­tures and cui­sine.

“The recipes and ideas for my book came from lo­cal cooks who I had the priv­i­lege of meet­ing,” he adds. “They fit the mod­ern kitchen and are yet true to the Burmese palate.”

Koh’s ded­i­ca­tion has paid off. Apart from gath­er­ing the recipes of well-known favourites such as laphet thoke (fer­mented tea leaf salad) and of course, mont hin gar (rice noo­dles with cat­fish soup), Koh also in­tro­duces read­ers to lesser known but equally de­li­cious dishes. One ex­am­ple is sabuti, a soup with white corn ker­nels that is eaten with lime, crushed dried chill­ies and shreds of cured beef or pork.

“Recipes tell sto­ries and I hope to share th­ese sto­ries of the coun­try and its peo­ple with my read­ers,” says Koh.

This is the rea­son why the book is also burst­ing with pho­to­graphs, mostly of the coun­try’s vi­brant mar­kets, peo­ple and its iconic pago­das. Koh has also in­cluded a per­sonal es­say on his jour­ney and a fore­word on the Burmese kitchen.

While it hasn’t even of­fi­cially hit book­stores, 0451 Morn­ings are for Mont Hin Gar has al­ready tri­umphed at the Gour­mand World Cook­book Awards, where it took the third spot for Best Asian Cook­book, in May. “I was elated. This is just my sec­ond book and for it to be recog­nised at such a huge event, with par­tic­i­pants from all over the world, is won­der­ful,” Koh says.

The other pub­li­ca­tion due for re­lease this month — which also has Koh all ex­cited — is the sec­ond edi­tion of his first cook­book, Milk Pigs and Vi­o­let Gold. Cen­tred on Filipino cui­sine, the tome, first re­leased in 2012 was in­spired by fond mem­o­ries of growing up with Filipino nan­nies. “It looks en­tirely dif­fer­ent, with a new cover, lay­out and more in­for­ma­tion on the cui­sine. Ex­pect to see ad­di­tional recipes too, as I’ve trav­elled to more places since the first re­lease,” he shares. like play. when work feels

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