Pies Will Save the World

As you can tell from the poll on our homepage (please take a second to vote if you haven’t already 🙂 , I am a bit of a fan of street vendors, illegal or otherwise since legal and illegal can vary quite a bit depending on what country you are in. I would love to sell some food in the park, so I listen and my eyes glimmer with bright green envy when I hear people tell their tales. I have made a deal with a vibrant lass from New Zealand here in Vancouver to start up a underground restaurant, so we will keep you all posted on that, but in the meantime I would like to share this experience a friend had in Portland with her curbside cuisine

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Street Food is Making a Comeback

It is interesting to see over the past decade or so, as countries such as India and Thailand are putting more and more pressure on their street vendors to shut them down, that illegal street vendors are springing up all over North America — San Francisco, New York, Washington D.C., Los Angeles…the small guy is back. All over the world, sometimes this is the only way a family can make a dollar.

Last year in Los Angeles there was a crack down on street vendors, supposedly people were worried about the health safety of the vendors, but it may have been motivated more by racism. These days it is clear we need to be more concerned about food coming from the industrial-agriculture food sector, and not waste resources hassling street vendors. Most small-scale street vendors are very conscious of where their food is coming from and how they process it, they often know their customers in fact, their personal livelihood depends on their repeat business. They also take pride in their creation. Some of the new movement of pavement culinary artists may have even wild-harvested their ingredients!

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Burmese Cuisine

An Introduction to Myanmar Cuisine by Ma Thanegi

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I had a great opportunity to meet Ma Thanegi, the amazing lady who authored this book, while in Myanmar (Burma). She is full of the spirit of adventure and has had some amazing experiences in her travels that she shares with vibrant energy. She has also written other books and articles that are also definitely worth reading.

This cookbook is the best I have come across so far about Burmese food. It focuses mainly on the food of the Bama people and not the other ethnic groups around the country. It lists the main ingredients used in Burmese food and describes how to use them, and it teaches you clearly how to make a wide variety of Burmese dishes. Absolutely fantastic book and worth every penny. I highly recommend it.

The following is from her introduction, which she has given me permission to post, and really shows the spirit of Burmese hospitality:

In Myanmar, to be Ei Wuk Kyay which means to be hospitable, is the criterion of perfect social behavior. Our food culture is based on sharing: with monks to whom many of the Buddhist Myanmar offer food on a daily basis and on special occasions called Soon Kyway and sharing lunchboxes among school friends or colleagues at work. Food and drink are offered free on special religious days in a ritual known as du Di Thar. Travelers stopping by a village would be welcomed to share a meal at the monastery if not at someone’s house. It gives not only joy but great merit to feed others with a generous heart, and this Buddhist concept rules the social life of the people.

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Eating In Kalaw

Pickled Tea

Kalaw, a cool, former British hill-station in Shan State, Myanmar, rises 6,000 feet above sea level and is famous for its flowers and farmlands. It is now a gateway to a variety of interesting treks. A three day trek will take you through the mountains to mystical Inle Lake, through the villages of the Pa-O and Palaung hill-tribes, staying at monasteries along the way.

For me personally, I just like to hang around Kalaw. It has such a peaceful air about it. The air is thinner and less humid because of the high elevation. The people themselves calmly go about their business, stopping to chat as they meander down roads with cute pony carts tripping by.

The market is vibrant and filled with all kinds of interesting happenings. In one corner, ladies sort some of Myanmar’s famous pickled tea into piles of various qualities. Dried venison can be found at small stands. Further into the market is the food-stall area.

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