Food

Travel Tools – the Night Bus

Saving on a night’s accommodation can be an important tool for a budget backpacker. Combine this with traversing hundreds of kilometers across a country and you have the joys of travelling on a night bus. In Myanmar this was by far the easiest and cheapest way to get around. I travelled on night buses between:

  1. Yangon to Inle Lake
  2. Inle Lake to Bagan
  3. Bagan to Yangon
  4. Yangon to Mawlamyine
  5. Yangon to Mandalay

 

Pros

Cheap and you save on a night’s accommodation

You don’t have to see the dangerous driving that during the day would have you gripping your seat for dear life

Good way to meet some locals

 

Cons

It’s often pretty cramped

12 hours in a bus is no one’s idea of a fun time

Very loud Buddhist chanting being played on the tv or over the radio

Terrible Burmese soapies being played on the tv

Terrible Burmese songs (or rip-offs of Western Songs) being played on the tv 

The gastro roulette that is eating at all night restaurants

Getting to your accommodation at 4 in the morning and having to way until 10 to check in meaning that you have to sleep on the lobby floor

The ‘shuttle service’ from central Yangon to the main bus terminal which took around an hour on the back of a ute sucking in peak hour fumes

 

It can be a great experience though – glimpses of traditional villages through a moonlit night, pagodas lit up like a Las Vegas casino flashing past, watching villages waking up as the sun slowly rises over paddy fields and banana plantations and that ultimate joy of reaching your destination in one piece!

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Categories: An Aussie abroad, Food, Myanmar, Travel Tools | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Myanmar Mastication – the Burmese Exxon Valdez

Straddling the centre ground between the curries of India, the spices of China and the tastes of Thailand expectations about Burmese food were high. While there have been some good dishes I can see why Burmese cuisine isn’t storming the world.

Before

Before

After

After

A Burmese curry, unlike their Indian or Thai counterparts usually consists of lots of garlic, onion, the meat of the dish and copious amounts of oil. Meals literally glisten like a sunbaking Aussie in the 50s as they come out of the kitchen and finished dishes are left with a thick slick resembling the coastline of Alaska after the Exxon Valdez had been through.

Highlights have been:

  • Intha inspired dishes around the Inle Lake region
  • Shan noodles found in most places but originating in Shan State
  • Chinese style BBQ consisting of lots of meats, vegetables and unidentified food on sticks
  • Deep fried samosas and curry puffs for breakfast – terribly unhealthy I know but it is important to try the local approach to life…
  • A salad made of fermented tea leaves, tomatoes and crunchy nuts and beans
  • The range of condiments served with a traditional Burmese meal although half will be variations of fish paste and the other half will have fish paste as a main ingredient there have still been some good chillies and chutneys.
Condiment heaven

Condiment heaven

 

Categories: Food, Myanmar | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Tumultuous Thailand – Free lunch ‘for sorry’

How to score a free lunch in Thailand:

Step one: choose a local eatery down a small side street that offers a range of Thai dishes for 25 Baht (approx 80 cents)

Step two: choose which amazing foods you want

Plating up some amazing Thai food

Plating up some amazing Thai food

Step three: jump the wrong way in front of a runaway motorbike with trolley attached and get crushed between the trolley and the store next door

15 seconds earlier I was squashed between the trolley and the tables next door

15 seconds earlier I was squashed between the trolley and the tables next door

Step four: wash curry and assorted foods off pants and check that no bones are broken

Step five: eat delicious food (using your slightly shakey hands) that luckily was already plated up before the bike hit

Step six: offer to pay but because the owner felt sorry get the food for free

Categories: An Aussie abroad, Food, Thailand | 4 Comments

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