When in Myanmar: A visit to a small town or village miles away from the capital Yangon will give you another look at how Myanmar people go about their daily lives. At Nujiang village, a two-hour drive from northern town Lashio in Shan State—itself a two-hour flight north of Yangon—my pals and I had a chance to check out a colorful weekly market that attracts vendors selling all kinds of wares, especially raw and cooked food items, from within the region.
The market will usually set up shop at an area central to the village and it was a Thursday when we were there. There were vegetable sellers galore – some had proper stalls, some just laid it on a sheet on the ground, and some even sold stuff off their motorbikes. Some, as you can see from the picture above, sell a variety of meats (mostly chicken parts) and vegetables.
Food carts were aplenty and these mostly sell deep fried snacks on sticks which are understandably very popular with kids and anyone who is feeling peckish.
Besides food carts, there were also makeshift stalls selling primarily soup noodles which is a very popular form of food here. Broth can either be plain or spicy. If you do not have a strong stomach, do be careful as some Myanmar noodles can be really spicy without even adding chili to it.
This lady was selling steamed buns not unlike the Chinese steamed bun albeit the Myanmar version is flatter. Some are plain, while others contain tao sar (red bean) paste or chicken meat.
Besides food items, other vendors sell clothes and household necessities, ranging from brooms to watering cans. They even have toiletries so if you are short of these during your travels, the market is a good place to find some.
The Myanmar people love to put much salt in their food which we are aware of. What we weren’t aware of that they are still using Ajinomoto (Mother of all MSG!) in abundance (the white packets with red logo at bottom right). Seriously thought they would be phased out worldwide by now!
There is really a variety of food stuff in the market that you don’t commonly see elsewhere. Even so, it took a local to point out to us that this lady was also selling a local delicacy, next to unusual looking fruits. See that cake-like thing next to her chopper? That’s actually a kind of toffee candy that is made of peanuts stuck together with a malted syrup that has a coffee-like flavor. The nuts were nice but the malted candy took a bit to get used to.
Items that my friends bought home include spicy ginger and green pumpkins which Myanmar is well known for. I wasn’t one for buying vegetables home during a trip but later on, a friend of a friend gave us each a huge orange pumpkin to bring home so I still ended up with a Myanmar homegrown produce. And yes, it was really good!
All photos by Marguerita Tan. No text or images from this post are to be used without the blog author’s permission.