EAT Myanmar: A Restaurant Association Elevates All Myanmar Cuisines
A city bounding forwards to modernization and globalization will also have a dining scene that is rapidly changing as well. Nowadays, it is becoming much more fashionable to be seen at an international pizza chain or sushi place rather than the long-established Myanmar restaurants. There is one group of likeminded foodies who want to change this and remind Myanmar people and internationals alike of the rich and varied traditional cuisine which is available on our doorsteps.
The first meeting of EAT Myanmar Ethnic Restauranteurs Association (EMERA) was held on the 6th of April at Pandomar Restaurant. In attendance were representatives of Myanmar’s top Burmese and other ethnic-cuisine restaurants as well as other members of the local food industry. EAT Myanmar is a new association established by Sonny Aung Khin, former chairman of the Myanmar Restaurants Association. It aims to promote and support the cuisines of the nation in a time when international restaurants and chains are taking an increasingly strong lead in the dining scene.
Many in the forum looked at EAT Thailand, a popular Bangkok restaurant that have all Thai regional foods on one menu, as an example of how local cuisines can thrive. They see the same demand for places that offer every Myanmar cuisine under one roof. On the other hand, smaller restaurants specializing in specific ethnic cuisines such as Putao, a Kachin restaurant, and the famed 999 Shan Noodles want to see owners band together more in sourcing local ingredients. They are striving to create dishes which are as genuine as those prepared and served in their home states and do not think about merging in one kitchen.
The perception that Myanmar food is local, and thus should be cheap, presents a problem for those who strive to serve a high standard of dishes. Ingredients which need to be sourced from the Rakhine or Kachin mountains don’t come cheaply for these restaurateurs. It remains to be seen if the owners of Feel, Min Lann or other large Myanmar eateries can increase prices without alienating customers.
Information on the upcoming Food and Hotel Myanmar 2016 expo was shared by the event organizer, Fraser Hawkes. He announced the upcoming cooking competition for the various restaurants to participate in and promote their chefs’ skills as well as their signature dishes. EAT Myanmar has been given an exclusive showroom at the upcoming expo where they can exhibit their finest recipes.
The meeting concluded with notes that members would be working together to encourage Myanmar people to enjoy Burmese and Myanmar ethnic cuisines as well as bringing their dishes to the tables of foreigners.