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Understanding Myanmar: Culture, Sports and Cuisines
This guide provides useful information and links to resources on Myanmar.
The following information have been carefully selected for your reference. Some resources may have bias perspectives. Please approach the SMU Libraries (firstname.lastname@example.org ) should you have any doubts or need clarifications.
These videos show the distinct cultures, belief, values, and norms of Myanmar.
The official language is Burmese, spoken by the people of the plains and, as a second language, by most people of the hills. After independence, English ceased to be the official language, and after the military coup of 1962, it lost its importance in schools and colleges. An elementary knowledge of English, however, is still required, and its instruction is again being encouraged.
It's beloved as a breakfast dish, but, sold by mobile vendors, it's a common snack at any time of day or night. Myanmar's unofficial national dish is mohinga -- fine, round rice noodles served in a hearty, herbal fish-and shallot-based broth, often supplemented with the crunchy pith of the banana tree.
The Burmese love "dry" noodle dishes -- essentially noodle-based "salads" with broth served on the side -- and perhaps the tastiest and most ubiquitous is nangyi thoke. The dish takes the form of thick, round rice noodles with chicken, thin slices of fish cake, par-boiled bean sprouts and slices of hard-boiled egg.
The tart leaves are eaten on their own, typically as dessert, but they're also served in the form of lephet thoke, a salad of pickled tea leaves. To make the dish, the sour, slightly bitter leaves are mixed by hand with shredded cabbage, sliced tomatoes, crunchy deep-fried beans, nuts and peas, a splash of garlic oil and pungent slices of chili and garlic.
A visit to a traditional Burmese restaurant is more than just a meal, it's a culinary experience. These include rice, a tart salad, a small dish of fried vegetables, a small bowl of soup and a large tray of fresh and par-boiled vegetables and herbs to be eaten with various dips. Dips range from ngapi ye, a watery, fishy sauce, to balachaung, a dry, spicy mixture of chillies, garlic and dried shrimp fried in oil. At a Muslim-run curry shop, the soup might be a combination of lentils and root vegetables, while the sides might include a few crispy pappadum.
Burmese sweets, known collectively as "moun," aren't consumed as dessert but rather as snacks, typically taken with tea in the morning or afternoon. Moun aren't generally packed with sugar, instead getting their sweet flavors from ingredients such as grated coconut, coconut milk, rice flour, cooked sticky rice, tapioca and fruit.
The Burmese have an obsession with deep-frying foods in oil -- in Myanmar, it's practically impossible to avoid fried foods. The majority of snacks found on the street or in tea shops -- samosas, spring rolls, savory fritters, sweets, breads are deep-fried, and many noodle dishes are topped with akyaw, deep-fried crispy garnishes
The video showcases the beautiful Myanmar, and its traditions with over 130 different ethnic groups.
Myanmar's ancient city Bagan is now a UNESCO world heritage site, seen as the country's ticket to get on the region's tourism bandwagon.
Myanmar architect Zaw Lin Myat takes us on a delightful visual journey to explore how he builds a Myanmar identity in his work. What are quintessial Myanmar design characteristics? What should they be in the future? Find out more from this video.