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From idyllic beaches on the Bay of Bengal to the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayan north, Myanmar offers a wealth of scenic beauty, ancient religious monuments, bustling cities and fascinating festivals. A country rich in history and Buddhist tradition, it is also filled with warm, friendly people from an amazing variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

But Myanmar is also a fast-changing country unlike anywhere else on earth: many of the facilities and creature comforts you are used to may be difficult to find; there are ethical and political issues to consider; and it can sometimes be a confusing – even disorientating – place to navigate.

Whatever your budget and personal interests, this comprehensive and continually updated website is here to simplify the preparation for your trip, to guide you to the most stunning locations, and help you find the best places to stay. Go-Myanmar.com also offers online domestic travel booking (air, bus, train, boat and car hire) and a variety of tour packages which can be tailored to your own needs.

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Latest Myanmar travel stories
Myanmar cuisine – A Tasty Journey (Part One)

In a foreign country, food becomes an adventure. In excitement, I will often google until my fingers are raw just to find a restaurent to get a taste of the “Nepalese-Thai-Italian” restaurant just around the corner. The Myanmar case is different. We don’t have a Burmese restaurant nearby, so we’ll just have to be taken by surprise. The Burmese food culture is being heavily influenced by its neighbours India, Bangladesh, China and Thailand. However most dishes are in fact Chinese.

Besides restaurants there are numerous food stalls which fill the streets. In addition, countless merchants come along on train or boat trips. I have to smile, because I remember the sentence “They indeed can fry – eh?!”. The first time I heard this, was while biting into an enjoyable fried banana. The best which I have ever tasted.

Another fried speciality is Samosa, which I completely fell for. These are pastry bags filled with vegetables and you can get 10 pieces for 500 kyat. Other delicious fried foods are pancakes (which are similar to lard type pastries), shrimp cookies or flat b . . . .

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In a foreign country, food becomes an adventure. In excitement, I will often google until my fingers are raw just to find a restaurent to get a taste of the “Nepalese-Thai-Italian” restaurant just around the corner. The Myanmar case is different. We don’t have a Burmese restaurant nearby, so we’ll just have to be taken by surprise. The Burmese food culture is being heavily influenced by its neighbours India, Bangladesh, China and Thailand. However most dishes are in fact Chinese.

Besides restaurants there are numerous food stalls which fill the streets. In addition, countless merchants come along on train or boat trips. I have to smile, because I remember the sentence “They indeed can fry – eh?!”. The first time I heard this, was while biting into an enjoyable fried banana. The best which I have ever tasted.

Another fried speciality is Samosa, which I completely fell for. These are pastry bags filled with vegetables and you can get 10 pieces for 500 kyat. Other delicious fried foods are pancakes (which are similar to lard type pastries), shrimp cookies or flat bread served with chickpea and coriander.

On top of that, fondue stalls (we shall call them that) can be found every so often along the street. Meat on wooden skewers are placed into hot oil and eaten after that. Sounds tasty and it probably is, but our western eyes are shocked when seeing the “exit-form” of the little meat skewers. Presented are pig snouts, tongues and much more. The eye is simply stuck, just like when watching a bad accident.

On the beaches in Myanmar you can see numerous merchants who walk along the shores, offering meat or fish skewers such as fresh coconuts. Somehow all of this is a little bit like the land of milk and honey.

Mohinga – soup can never be the wrong choice

The national dish in Myanmar is Mohinga. It is a strongly flavoured fish soup (which doesn’t taste anything like fish whatsoever) with rice noodles and all sorts of different, delicious seasoning. The Burmese people consume the soup for breakfast early in the morning at close by markets or at cook shops along the roadside, however it is available all day long and all in all a popular snack, also as a take away. Feisty, the chef manhandles the noodles which fly into plastic bag. Seasoning on top of that, covered with broth and a knot: ready! Soup to go. Mohinga is mostly available for 500 Kyat.

You would like to try this at home? No problem. The fish needs to be prepared first. Here you will need the following ingredients:
300g catfish (optional trout)
1 stick of lemongrass
½ tsp turmeric
500ml water

Continue with the onion paste. You will need the following:
1 big onion (small dices)
3 garlic cloves
1cm fresh ginger
2 sticks of lemongrass
3 dried chillies (whole), soften in hot water
1 tsp shrimp paste (you can get this at the Asia shop)
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp turmeric
6 tbsp peanut oil

Next stop is the soup:
1,5 L water
12 shallots
75g roasted rice flour
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp black paper

Further ingredients for the soup:
500g rice or asian noodles (cooked)
3 limes (halved)
5 hardboiled eggs (pealed and quartered)
2 handful of fresh coriander
2 handfuls of roasted onions (as a replacement for the big fritters, which are used in Myanmar)
Extra fish sauce and chilli flakes

The preparation:

Place the fish along with water, lemongrass and turmeric into a pot and bring to the boil. Simmer for a further 6-10 minutes, until the fish is cooked through. Take the fish out of the pot. As soon as the fish has cooled down, peel off the skin, remove the fish bones and take the meat apart into flakes. Pour the fish broth through a sieve and place to the site.

Chop the onions, ginger, dried chillies and lemongrass which can be best mixed up using a mortar.

Heat the oil in a pot and add the onion paste. Simmer on medium heat for about 15-20 minutes, until the paste is soft and caramelised. Now, add the shrimp paste and stir well using a wooden spoon. Add the turmeric and paprika. Cook altogether for another few minutes (until you smell the aroma of the seasoning) and add the fish. Cover the pot and let the mixture cook for further 10-15 minutes.

The soup paste is now ready. If you don’t want to use it all, you can let it cool and keep it in the freezer for up to 4 weeks.

Now it’s time for the soup itself: Place the soup paste, rice flour, water and the fish broth (should you use defrosted paste, simply use 500ml water) which was put aside into a pot, bring to the boil stirring continuously. The rice flour should not get lumpy. Add the shallots and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Lastly, add the paper and fish sauce to taste.

Serve the soup in small bowls and add a handful of noodles or rice. Place the other ingredients onto small side plates so everyone can season their own soup to taste.

Evelyn Narciso, February 2015

To find out more, go to food and eating out. Look out for the second part of this blog, including curries and vegetarian food, in the coming weeks!

This article first featured on Landmeedchen – the food and travel blog

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Musical traditions in remote Chin State

Remote and mountainous Chin state has a complex history that tells a great tale. According to locals in Falam, the history of the twelve clans that surrounded the old capital has always been retained orally, through songs. In a feat of human memory, each clan had singers that would retain up to five hundred years of village history in just one song! I don’t know how long that song is, but the average person can’t remember the lyrics to their favorite three minute pop song. Such skills show an impressive song writing or listening ability.

Like valuable books, singers pass important cultural information about love, wars and life events down to the younger generations. Where I went, sadly, there isn’t much traditional music left. Maybe I needed to go deeper into Chin State to get more answers, but for now no information was forthcoming; the locals didn’t know anyone left.

When missionaries arrived they rid the local population of their animist traditions. They introduced new songs about Christianity, the English language and mad . . . .

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Remote and mountainous Chin state has a complex history that tells a great tale. According to locals in Falam, the history of the twelve clans that surrounded the old capital has always been retained orally, through songs. In a feat of human memory, each clan had singers that would retain up to five hundred years of village history in just one song! I don’t know how long that song is, but the average person can’t remember the lyrics to their favorite three minute pop song. Such skills show an impressive song writing or listening ability.

Like valuable books, singers pass important cultural information about love, wars and life events down to the younger generations. Where I went, sadly, there isn’t much traditional music left. Maybe I needed to go deeper into Chin State to get more answers, but for now no information was forthcoming; the locals didn’t know anyone left.

When missionaries arrived they rid the local population of their animist traditions. They introduced new songs about Christianity, the English language and made the locals cover up with ‘modest’ clothing. Today the locals still write in a Roman script, and unlike most of Myanmar you can get by on English easily. The British colonial government can be applauded for putting an end to the plundering, slavery and rape consistent with inter-clan warfare, but sadly, how they did it was probably through violence. To a certain extent I speculate, but it’s safe to assume that there were no NGOs and aid organizations involved!

Today what’s left of local songs is the memories of just a few people, who have a couple learned by memory and some basic instruments for accompaniment. The instruments sound beautiful but they are the most simple you could make. Their modern music is like any other pop music, the local studio runs advanced software and makes pop that sells up and down Chin State.

But, like song birds, the locals sing everywhere they go. The songs draw you into friendships; I’ve never felt so welcomed anywhere.

The influx of foreign music shows that the locals’ instruments really don’t stand up to a lot of other musical technology. Their flute lacks the clarity of the Indian or western flute and their gongs and drums don’t have the range of a drum kit. Their sound and history is unique though, and that makes it well worth practicing and preserving, foremost for their identity’s sake. Their traditional instruments have been duly replaced in recordings by western sounds, but that’s ok, in music progress can be seen as simply being able to express emotion or thought better. The better you do this, the greater the music.

Some of their traditional songs will live on, albeit to the backing of a pop guitar riff and hip hop beat. But I also hope that someone from Chin will be inspired by our recordings and carry on playing just how they have in Chin throughout their history, or someone elsewhere will take what they hear and find new ways to mix it with other music. That way, Chin culture will deservedly live on.

Adam Nicholas, December 2014

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Yangon, Myanmar

Friday 27 February


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