Fortunately for those on an infrequent-flyer budget, you don’t always need to pack a bag to explore new climes. A really good national-cuisine restaurant – one where every dish feels like a new neighbourhood, every bite a new conversation – can transport you abroad like magic. But how to find authentic dishes? One surefire way is to go where the expats and immigrants go when they’re seeking a taste of home.
I’m a big fan of Lebanese food, and when I lived in Australia we often served Middle- Eastern style dips with pre-dinner drinks. One of my favourite dips is babaganoush, and as aubergines ( eggplants) are easy to find in the market, this is one Middle Eastern food I can recreate at home. Traditionally, babaganoush is made using tahini, which isn’t so easy to find in Myanmar, so I’ve adapted the recipe so it can be made without. The secret to this dip is a smoky aroma and flavour, and both recipes are firm favourites in our family. But aubergines don’t just make great dips – they also work well with other dishes. This aubergine green curry recipe is one of my favourites.
Ever since an embarrassing incident during a Middle Eastern Studies class at university, in which I unwittingly confused a Gaza-based terror group with a Middle Eastern chickpea dip, I haven’t had much of an appetite for Mediterranean food.
Call me un optimista, but every time I hear about a restaurant in Yangon serving Mexican food, I hope against hope for a complete menu of enchiladas, chile rellenos, tostadas, chimichangas, tamales and chilaquiles.
Located in one of the oldest neighbourhoods of Bangkok along the western bank of the Chao Phraya, this busy and flavoursome district became populated by Chinese traders attracted to the convenience of the river banks in the late 18th century, during the reign of King Rama I.
Tapas are the perfect finger food for parties and easy to prepare. But Spanish tapas dishes often include cured meats or chorizo sausage, which aren’t easy to find in Myanmar – so when I’m cooking tapas I have to be creative.