No More Khao Swè


No More Khao Swè

Illustration: Mandar Mhaskar


orry, it will have to be a limited menu today,” Ma Pu Sue apologised. It had been our mistake, because we hadn’t been able to confirm our booking for the cooking class on time. But the “limited menu” that Ma Pu Sue mentioned, comprised fried fish with gravy, pork curry, tomato salad, tea leaf salad, plus accompaniments like pickled prawns, noodles, and rice. Only Burmese hospitality could have considered that spread inadequate.

Sahir, my husband, and I had been travelling through Myanmar for only a few days, but the variety of the country’s food had bedazzled us. We were determined to extend our Burmese repertoire beyond the khao swè that we routinely ate in the eateries of Mumbai. After being served all kinds of noodles for the first few days, we learnt that khao swè literally means noodles. What most Indian menus offer is a variation of the ohn no khao swè, prepared with coconut milk, and a breakfast staple. In fact, in the 10 days we spent in Myanmar, we encountered the ohn no khao swè only twice. Mohinga, a thick fish and noodle soup, we discovered, was the more popular breakfast dish.