The Thingyan Menu @ Burma Burma
Honest confession, by inclination I am a carnivore and tend to gravitate to places serving the same. However, when my favourite vegetarian restaurant, Burma Burma announced the celebration of the Burmese New Year, with a special Thingyan Menu, there was no question I was going. For those who consider Burmese food to only mean Khow Suey are you in for a pleasant surprise there is a vast variety of food waiting to be enjoyed. The restaurant itself serves 6 types of khao suey apparently every community in Burma has their own version of this traditional dish. Burmese cuisine itself is influenced by Chinese, Indian and Thai cuisine which most of us love. Not gone to Burma or Mynmar as it is now called, don’t despair, sample these scrumptious delicacies at one of Gurugram’s favourite restaurants, a place which has consistently made no effort to get a liquor license and is going great guns despite that.
First impressions the eatery’s interiors are vibrant and colourful. Exquisite artefacts from Myanmar have been placed throughout the restaurant. Delicate paper fans hang from the ceiling and Burmese showpieces and artwork are displayed prominently in this intimate restaurant. Staff were dressed in ethnic wear to create maximum impact.
The 4th edition of the Thingyan menu takes inspiration from the countryside of Myanmar, Central and Southern parts of the country, small hilly and coastal regions like Hpa – An, Mawlamyine (Burma – Thai border), Mon, Kayah, Kayin States. This year’s edition was dedicated to the basic idea of ‘sharing’, a now dying concept. In times gone by during a community eating a lot of knowledge, oral history was handed down in a subtle manner. Family ties were strengthened and the vitality and history of the family nourished. Sadly, this will soon be a memory no wonder so many of us are constantly in search of that elusive ‘serenity’.
An extensive menu was displayed offering both the regular items and the special Thingyan menu. I choose the Thingyan option which had an exhaustive list of choices. Considering my limited appetite, a tragedy when there is so much to choose from, the helpful attendant suggested that I choose – The Village Set, a sharing meal comprising of small plates of multiple dishes. The Village Set comprises of all the main dishes from the Thingyan Menu including the Spicy Avocado Tea Leaf Salad, Spring Onion Crisps, Quack Palata, Si Chet Khowsuey, Mustard Edamame Rice, Black Bean Curry, Tofu and Water Chestnuts Stir Fry and a Tamarind Cooler.
Waiting for my choice munched on some mixed nuts, spicy mango salad and plums all wonderfully showcased and displayed by a steward dressed traditionally with conical headgear going around. A success to be sure if one counted the hands reaching out to pick the goodies from his basket. While waiting for my meal to arrive I had a refreshing tangy drink helping me to forget for a short while the climbing temperatures outside.
The rumblings of my ravenous stomach coincided with the arrival of my dish, The Village Set. All the dishes in the Village Set were packed with flavour, and were unique and delicious with distinct flavours. A mouth-watering combination of, Oh no Tanmarind, Avocado laphet, Spring onion crisps, Palata, Si chet khowsuey, Mustard edamame rice, Black bean, chayote curry and Tofu water chestnuts stir fry.
Replete after a thoroughly enjoyable meal I let my sated senses enjoy the freshness of a jasmine tea as I pondered the weighty question of a dessert choice to complete the meal. After a few cups of fragrant jasmine tea, I choose the Ye Ge Thoo a Coconut ice cream with crushed peanut, ice apple, nata de coco, fruit jelly served in tender coconut shell. Superb choice.
Totally satisfied I wandered back into the scorching heat ruminating of how many such unknown cuisines still waiting to be enjoyed. Thank you, Burma Burma, for sharing this experience.
(Pushpa Nair is a freelance writer based in Gurugram, Delhi NCR)