Fed by the head monk

By Sydney Squire, Semester at Sea, Spring 2017


While in Myanmar I had the ability to do an Impact trip with Semester at Sea. We went to the Twante Village where we visited a monastery and then went to a local pottery place. At the monastery, we were introduced to the head monk who then offered us to sit down for a meal. We were not expecting to be given a meal at the monastery and our guide said that it was a very nice gift when the head monk invites you for a meal.

He served us watermelon, bean cakes, fermented shrimp with dried beans and tea leaves (my favorite), fried noodles, vegetables, bananas, and two desserts made from beans. The food that was served was amazing and very authentic to Myanmar.

We were told to eat the food with our hands, which was very different for us since we are so used to eating with utensils. I enjoyed the dried beans, fermented shrimp and tea leafs the best. It tasted like snack mix were the beans and shrimp were salty and the tea leafs added a chewy bit to the food. I wish I could have bagged that up and brought it home with me.


The other favorite food was the bean cakes which to me were way to sweet but tasted like donuts. It was an amazing meal with lots of cultural experiences included such as not sitting with our feet to the monk and sitting on the floor. I really enjoyed the experience I had at the monastery and I feel very privileged to have been able to eat my food in that way. 

Cuisine of Myanmar

By   Adrian Parker, Semester at Sea Spring 2017

The cuisines in Myanmar can only be explained as complicated yet simple. Their diets consisted of mainly rice and curry sauces. This is an obvious influence of their neighboring country, India. The first meal that I ate that I would consider authentically Burmese was a breakfast dish, which was simply a bowl of rice noodles with a pungent fishy sauce. It was absolutely delicious and had a very unique and specific flavor to it, unfortunately the smell was not too pleasant. But after you got over the fact that you were swallowing fishy rice noodles and eight o’clock in the morning, you come to appreciate the warming taste.

The other dish that I really enjoyed was definitely their curry and rice dishes. Most of the restaurants where we ate in Bagan had three different types of curry to choose from; coconut cream, red, and green. The coconut was the mild (and oddly sweet) curry; the red was medium in spicy; and the green was almost unbearably spicy. Some people in our group couldn’t even get past the first bite before quitting. The locals (and the rest of my group) had a nice laugh about that.

Lastly, the sweets in Myanmar were actually surprisingly sweet. They would hand make these candies that you would get after each meal. They tasted like grinded up dried fruit and sugar. They were so good and melted in your mouth. Can’t wait to compare Myanmar with India, im guessing there will be many similarities