I went to Singapore and met up with Khine, an old friend from school. She is from Myanmar but has lived in Singapore since graduated. We went to this Burmese restaurant called Inle Myanmar in Peninsula Plaza, one of the buildings that surround the St. Andrew’s Cathedral. Later I found out that the restaurant was named after Myanmar’s second largest lake. The mall itself is a kind of “headquarters” for Burmese residing in Singapore, just like Orchard Road’s Lucky Plaza for the Filipinos and Indonesians. The basement level where the restaurant is located is filled with Burmese shops, from travel agency to cafeteria.

It took me some time to decide what to order. I wanted to have noodles, but there were more than ten of them on the menu. Khine used to cook her country’s cuisine at the dorm, and I still remember clearly her version of mohinga, a rice noodle dish with fish soup that is the national dish of Myanmar. I was torn between the itch to compare the restaurant’s mohinga to Khine’s and the curiosity to try something else. In the end I decided to have a go at nangyi thoke, labelled “Myanmar spaghetti” in the menu. Khine asked if I wanted to have lahpet–another food she often cooked–as well, and I said yes, adding that I wanted to try one of the desserts later.

Here comes the lahpet:

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If mohinga is dubbed Myanmar’s national dish, then I think lahpet, a pickled tea leaf salad dish, is the country’s national appetizer. It has got sour taste (Well, it is pickles!) but the sourness is compensated by the many kinds of crunchy nuts hidden between the leaves. I even tasted more nuts than leaves!

And here’s my nangyi thoke:

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The dish is made up of dry noodles served with chicken, chickpea powder and chilli oil, topped with sliced eggs, fishcakes and crackers. Like many other foods from the region, they are supposed to be mixed together before being consumed. The sensation was like eating savoury, non-sticky warabi mochi…well, kind of. Lol!

The main dish came with a small bowl of clear soup that was to be eaten separately.

But it turned out that Khine had ordered another dish, a large pot of Rakhine-style chicken soup!

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Included in the soup were sliced bamboo shoots and chunks of chicken. It was a very comforting food.

I became so full after the three courses, but was determined to close the meal with a Burmese dessert.

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I ordered this round-shaped sanwin makin, or baked semolina cake. Should have had a combo with ice cream, but we could not even finish this tiny cake!

The restaurant is pretty affordable, I think, with mains starting at around S$ 8. They also provided free tap water. And Khine reckons that the taste is authentic. I would love to try their mohinga next time, paired with Burmese milk tea or coffee. 🙂

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