Saturday, May 7, 2011

Burmese Cuisine 101: Get Thee to a Bazaar

Last month's post Intro to Burmese Food: A Tradition in San Francisco peaked many curiosities about the cuisine. It had me reminiscing about good times shared with friends and discovering a cuisine which is foreign to many, let alone many Asians included. If it were not for our busy schedules, my friends and I would have gotten together for a group dinner at Cafe Mingala in the Upper East Side to further explore the newfound flavors.

Once a year in Queens, there is a Burmese Food Festival. It is held in the cafeteria of P.S.12 The James B. Colgate School in Woodside.

The food festival is open to the public but unless you are involved with one of the various organizations that help put on the festival or heard about it through word of mouth it is highly unlikely you will learn about it. I was only able to find three listings for the event online via Yelp, Edible Queens, and Eating in Translation. There is little information about the event itself available. At the festival we did come across a handout but it was written in Burmese. All of the signs were in Burmese, as well, unlike previous years where English translations were written underneath. We only knew what things were if we asked. Everyone was so welcoming and explained to us all the ingredients in the dishes. I definitely learned a little more about Burmese culture and am even more intrigued about the food now. The event included performances but we were too preoccupied with the buffet to even check them out.

Mixing together Papaya Salad
Many of the dishes were made fresh on the spot. Ingredients were laid out on the tables and assembled upon request. Large dishes were 5 tickets. Small dishes were 3 tickets. Each ticket cost a dollar. Between three people, we spent $24 on a soup, an entree, some sides and appetizers, and dessert.

Papaya Salad
Pig Ears
Curried Beef, Chicken, Gizzards, Liver, and Cucumber Salad
On Noh Kauswer (Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup)
Let- Thoke (Noodle Salad) made w/ potatoes, tofu, cabbage, bean sprouts, tamarind dressing

Monpetok (Rice Flour with Shredded Coconut)

P.S.12 James B Colgate School
42-00 72nd Street
Woodside, NY 11377

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