Burmese Cuisine

Burmese cuisine includes dishes from various regions of the Southeast Asian country of Burma (now officially known as Myanmar). Owing to the geographic location of Myanmar, Burmese cuisine has been influenced by China, India and Thailand. The diversity of Myanmar's cuisine has also been contributed to by the myriad of local ethnic minorities. Burmese cuisine is characterized by extensive use of fish products like fish sauce and ngapi (fermented seafood).

Seafood is a common ingredient in coastal cities such as Sittwe, Kyaukpyu, Mawlamyaing (formerly Moulmein), Mergui (Myeik) and Dawei, while meat and poultry are more commonly used in landlocked cities like Mandalay. Freshwater fish and shrimp have been incorporated into inland cooking as a primary source of protein and are used in a variety of ways, fresh, salted whole or filleted, salted and dried, made into a salty paste, or fermented sour and pressed.

Burmese cuisine also includes a variety of salads (a thoke), centered on one major ingredient, ranging from starches like rice, wheat and rice noodles, glass noodles and vermicelli, to potato, ginger, tomato, kaffir lime, lahpet (pickled tea leaves), and ngapi (fish paste). These salads have always been popular as fast foods in Burmese cities.

A popular Burmese rhyme sums up the traditional favourites: "A thee ma, thayet; a thar ma, wet; a ywet ma, lahpet" (အသီးမှသရက်၊ အသားမှဝက်၊ အရွက်မှလက်ဖက်။), translated as "Of all the fruit, the mango's the best; of all the meat, the pork's the best; and of all the leaves, lahpet's the best".

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