Back in Shan State, in the still-sleepy town of Nyaungshwe (but maybe not for much longer; construction is booming and more motorcycles are zooming), Ma Pu Sue has opened the Bamboo Delight Cooking Class.
Sue has worked in the tourism industry for many years, most recently as a guide who can take visitors to scenic places in the area, such as Inle Lake or nearby villages, or further afield on multi-day treks. But lately her focus has been on her Myanmar cuisine cooking classes, which have proved to be enormously popular with foreign tourists.
Instead of only showing her visitors the basics of Burmese food, Sue offers them a total culinary experience. She takes each client to the bustling morning market where she picks out various food and spices, explaining how each item will be used. After that it’s back to her house for food preparation and cooking. And then the moment that everyone looks forward to experiencing: eating a tasty meal!
While I was in Nyaungshwe earlier this month I dropped by Sue’s house several times. Two of my friends from Bagan, Nine Nine and Htun Htun, were in town, so Sue invited the whole crew to her house for a “snack” one afternoon. Inside the house, Sue’s two daughters and another girl from the neighborhood were cutting banana leaves to use as “plates” and containers for some salads that she was making. Later, we got to sample some of the veggie treats, which came with a tasty garlic dip. Sue also served some fried tofu, tea leaf salad (a staple in almost every Myanmar home), and other tasty sauces and dips.
I’ve also been treated to lavish meals at Sue’s house and I can honestly say that everything I’ve tasted has been extremely delicious. The cuisine found in Shan State is different than some of the more common, and oily, “Burmese” dishes found in other parts of Myanmar. There are plenty of fresh vegetable dishes, savory soups, creative salads, fish from the lake, and an assortment of curries with chicken, pork, and beef. A little something for everyone, some dishes of which may surprise you.
If you are interested in learning more about the local cuisine and have time while in Nyaungshwe, you can contact Sue at: firstname.lastname@example.org