This is a vibrant, friendly collection or recipes drawn from Myanmar, or Burma.
Mimi Aye grew up in England in a family of Burmese immigrants and traveled often to visit extended family members living in Yangon and Mandalay. The contrast between these cities is a recurring theme in this book: modern, buzzing Yangon, with its embrace of outside foods, and languid, conservative Mandalay, where traditional foodways thrive.
The author’s choice of Mandalay as a title is a clue that here she favors traditional foods, particularly of the Bamar and Shan ethnic groups. But she happily acknowledges the Burmese love of what she calls “cover versions” of dishes from other cuisines, particularly Indian or Chinese. Her head notes do a fine job of establishing a dish’s context: the chicken curry associated with a festival on November’s full moon when young men ‘steal’ the birds wealthy people have left out; the Shan mustard green pickle that may be the most popular condiment in Burma; the noodle, rice, and potato salad sold by women who walk the streets with the ingredients on a tray atop their head, ready to be assembled on request. (She also provides recipe names in Burmese, and prints them in the Burmese alphabet., so props for that!)
Hardcover. Color photographs throughout. An import from the UK, so metric measurements are used.