Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Magic of the Far East

Myanmar….the country touching the boundary of India…once called Burma. This is definitely not a geography lesson….its just a quaint little place discovered on the Candolim gourmet belt…a place called Bomra’s.

The proprietor, a Burmese gentleman by the name of ‘Bawmra’, runs this place with his cousin. The food is Burmese, a few of the dishes with the Thai influence creeping in…a tryst with its neigbouring country.

Speaking to Bawmra, I ask him to tell me something about Burmese food. “I use everything from lemon grass, sesame seeds, lime leaves as well as tea leaves,’ he says, ‘and the food ranges from region to region of Burma.’

The restaurant is attractively laid out in the garden, the cane influence and the paper lanterns giving it an exquisite oriental touch.

We look at the menu….like any other cuisine it has Starters, Main course and Desserts. The salads are predominant as starters. One must try the Pickled Tea Leaf Salad made of authentic lah pet toke-a young tea leaf pickle, marinated for three weeks with roasted lentils, peanuts and garlic. The other delicacies are the Raw mango Salad and the han Tofu with tamarind soya sauce.

The popular main course dishes are the Mussel curry, this is made in the famous Yellow Thai Curry, and the Pork Belly Cashewnut crust which Bawmra states is modified to suit the Indian palate. Another popular preparation is the Steamed Snapper which is a North Burmese Preparation. These dishes should be ordered with a helping of either plain Rice or a Burmese preparation of coconut rice- rice cooked in coonut milk with gratings of coconut.

But we were lucky for we landed in the restaurant on Wednesday Night…which is the Khowsuey Night. For those who have not experienced the traditional dish…it is a treat by itself. And you need a big table to do justice to the different dishes and accompaniments that is laid before you. I did a mental count…although unfortunately the electricity department played havoc with my treat....the lights went off…and sitting in that beautiful garden…the candle flickering on the table…one must excuse me if I did not do justice in the count.

There was coconut noodles to be had with chicken broth ( a clear soup), crispy vegetables accompanied the dish, with different sauces and accompaniments of the vegetarian and the non vegetarian variety. A wholesome meal and …mmmm….tasty. As I mentioned, although I had lost the ability to use one of my senses…sight, the other sense…taste was fully heightened and satiated.

The desserts mentioned on the menu are creative too. Bawmra has made full use of the easter influence with items like the lemon grass and ginger crème brulee, the Ginger and lemon grass ice-cream and the Santiago Rum Dessert.

Bawmra and his cousin are the backbone to this exquisite traditional fare which they dish out night after night. Their skill at tossing the items in the gigantic wok’s are thrilling to watch. Every dish from the traditional pickle to the curry are prepared by them…no canned or bottled stuff.

But the piece de resistance is the Wednesday Night…the Khowsuey night as the hoarding advertises. So plan ahead that trip to the gourmet belt, on a Wednesday Night…it makes perfect sense, if you want your senses to be satisfied.

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