Saturday, 13 February 2016

Bon Appetit!!!

Bon Appetit!!!
Suppose you are hungry a bit some hours after your lunch. You imagine that it will be nice to have tea and some Myanmar snacks. But, again, it is noteworthy that tea is an option, it is not a compulsory.
That time, a street vendor is calling out from the depth of his throat in this way, "Shwe Yin Aye, Moat Let Saung!".  One can say that it is really euphonic to listen to them.
Any householders glance at one another and wait for final decision. One of them has realized the message another one gives, and goes out to the verendah and calls out the seller to halt. Later, they send a child there and ordered two cups of Shwe Yin Aye, and one cup of Moat Let Saung for them.
Normally, the diligent vendor comes to their less quiet surrounding at about one in the afternoon. The inhabitants of the street know that it is the appropriate time for having some snacks. But, for some people, their tea time or break time is around 3:30 or 4:00 in the evening.
We can conclude that we, Myanmar people, like to have snacks between these hours: 1:00 p.m to 4:oo p.m. We also know that we have richness in Myanmar traditional snacks. But, some want to enjoy modern foods at some famous food chains in Yangon.
The splendid and dazzling modern delicacies can really attract anyone who wants to taste them. But, they prefer traditional snacks. For "Shwe Yin Aye", it is suitable for hot and sunny hours of Tabotwe, Tabaung, and Tagoo. But, one can eat it anytime one likes to have. No restrictions on this part. At one's fancy, one can have it. Actually, both of them are really good for consuming.
The best thing to try "Shwe Yin Aye" is one of its ingredients, which is Kyauk Kyaw which is a bit softy, and jelly like. Normally, I firstly taste it with a spoonful of the sweet solution of squeezed coconut juice induced with sugar. Later, sagu or tapioca, and a slice of bread. It can surely cool your warm chest because the weather is a bit hot under the blaring, merciless sun.
Another one is Moat Let Saung which is the concoction of green colour Mote Phat (rice droplets), sagu and the sweet solution of squeezed coconut. It can be served with another solution made of jaggery. It is more tasty and good for everyone who does not like the taste of coconut. Especially, a person with hypertension should stay away from having it with coconut solution.
At some other time, they want to enjoy other Myanmar snacks. Then, they look for them in other streets. Mostly, the vendor sellers gather near apartment buildings and government buildings.
The vendors are very smart to understand their market place where their real consumers will definitely come and buy snacks from them. Actually, they are trying to fulfill their needs.
Apart from above-mentioned two snacks, the other favourite snacks they have is "Moat Lin Ma Yar , literally translated as (The Couple Snack)." It is really tasteful one. One thing interesting about this snack is that when it is made, they use a special pan which has got 50 cavities in it. They pour dough into the swallow cavity, letting the outer layer of it to be a little bit crisped. But, the inside of it is not meant to be criped. Then, they put boiled pea sometime or they will put quail egg into it to make it more tasty. It is much mouth watering to think about it.
Just a thought on it gives one its smell and taste appearing in the mind of the thinker. So much influential on people. Finally, the seller sprinkles pounded sessame to have got perfect taste of it.
Another one is "Baine Moat", which is "Myanmar Pan Cake" which has got two kinds. The one is tawny colour sweeter one, and the other is a non sweet whitish one. The first one is suitable for someone who wants to have sweet. The smell is really good, and the taste is exceptional. Anyone cannot deny the allurement of these delicacies. It is the best when one eats with a cup of tea. A perfect pair one can say. The second one is liked by girls rather than boys, because sometimes it is served with shroudded chilies studded on the face of it and that  will give the whole pencake the hot taste.
But, people have different temperaments, and likings. They will choose whatever they like. It is only up to them. Anyway, these snacks are the favourite ones of Myanmar. Accordingly, they will have them whenever they feel fanciful to them.
It is the best way to suppress one's hunger by having one's traditional snacks. It will whet Myanmar appetite, bon appetit!!!■
San Lin Tun

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Time to Celebrate VALENTINE'S Day

Time to Celebrate VALENTINE'S DAY

Valentine's Day! What a thrilling word for me, Naing Naing thought. She knew that this year Valentine's Day would be really special for her, because Ko Aung and she became lovers  a month ago. It was such a happiness she felt when they found out each other's love. She thought that it was a really blessing moment of their life.
She knew that Ko Aung would love her sincerely because he had spent much time to court her. Every day he was waiting for her outside of her office to accompany her to go back home. Not a single day he missed his mission of going home together with her. He was such a kind of wonk.
Naing Naing noticed that Ko Aung was following her up to the bus stop but not too close, he kept his own distance. When the bus for her came, he just appeared on the scene and followed her up to the bus, which was all the time crowded with passengers.
That time, he stood a few far down from her, and staring at her. When she got off from the bus, he followed her too. He stopped his steps when she entered her compound of the house. But, he showed his hesitation, lingering around the house, though he lived in the same street.
This became his routine. There is a proverb goes, "Perseverance wins the girl's heart". This time it shows that it is true because later, she thought she should give him a chance and on that day they became lovers. It was such a great pleasure to be a couple. They could eat whatever they liked on the way back home.
She liked pork sticks so much that he had to agree with her, and sat together with her though he didn't like them much. But, they felt such a liberty to enjoy time together.
This time, she knew that she wanted to do something special for their loverhood. That would be remembered until they were getting old. She suggested Ko Aung that they visit some shopping centers and wear same colour and same fashion on that day.
"Ko Aung, Valentine's Day is coming nearer. We should do something memorable for ourselves. What about wearing the same fashion on that day?", said Naing Naing enthusiastically.
At first, Ko Aung didn't want to wear like that. He  thought that it was unneccessary. And, he thought that it would be like some kind of "Yeine" troupe who usually perform their dance together. Actually, he felt a little bit shy and hesitant to wear like that.
Ko Aung seemed silent on that because he didn't want to do any ceremonious thing. Actually, it was not his type. But, he understood that he had to be sensible because a girl could be grumpy on that small matter.
"Um, if you wish, let's do it. But, I don't want to look ridiculed by others. I don't want to lose my face on that. All I want is to be happy with you", bemused by Ko Aung.
Now, the decision went back to Naing Naing who smiled broadly, and she said that she would devise the plan for that.  She just said Ko Aung that he should wear a white shirt and a good quality longyi which she would buy them for him. For her, she would plan the dress. In this way, they had got their agreement.
Finally, the day came.
Holding hand in hand, they tried to find their way in the dazzling shopping center. They could see many other couples wearing the same dresses on this day and showed much happiness in their faces. They thought that they seemed a bit different from other couples and they were outstanding among them.
Both of them noticed other people were looking at them, not with contempt but with much admiration. Only then, Ko Aung looked at Naing Naing who was wearing a pink sleeveless silk blouse and a pink sarong which had got intricate floral patterns around it. The pink colour was compatible with her fair complexion. Also, she applied a patch of thanakkha on each cheek  to enhance her beauty. He realized how beautiful and elegant her beauty was. He felt a wave of admiration spreading across his whole body. He felt really proud of having such a tender and graceful girl.
He simply thought that he was such a lucky person and this special moment would be kept in his heart forever. As long as their love existed, he would feel this sensation again and again. He hoped that this was the thing he needed for the life to come.
Naing Naing also looked back at her lover, Ko Aung who looked spic and span in his Myanmar dress. Now they understood that anyone could show their own beauty with one's own cultural identity which was not outdated in any age. This is the beauty depicted by the couple. They felt really happy and satisfied with what they did on this special day. Both of them felt that the love between them seemed more enhanced.
As youths, they wanted to celebrate Valentine's Day together with others who were the same age as them. Also they understood that they should gain something valuable for them on this special moment. Now they got what they wanted: pleasure, understanding, and satisfaction which would bring much meaning to their relationship.
Written by San Lin Tun

Illustration by Artist Ba Htay Kyi