What do an Arctic nation on the Scandinavian Peninsula and a tropical Southeast Asian state have in common?

Fish, it would seem. At least that was the similarity emphasized at a special Norwegian seafood event hosted by Myanmore Award Restaurant of the Year SEEDS in Yangon last night. Organized by the Norwegian Embassy and Myanmar-Norway Business Council, the feast saw 109 kilograms of Norwegian seafood flown into Yangon in order to feed the 110 guests, sat on tables lining the starlit lawn of the restaurant.

Norway ranks as the second largest exporter of fish in the world, with a whopping US$11.73 billion worth of exports in 2017, according to Norway’s Seafood Council.

Under its Fish for Development program, the country shares its aquaculture knowledge with Myanmar to help improve the fishery sector and breed species of delicious fish.

But the proof is in the pudding. Or in this case, the slow cooked cured fjord trout. Myanmore was invited to sample this dish along with several others, and though the quality was superb, perhaps the best part of the evening was partaking in the communal gasps at Norway’s spectacular scenery shown on a large projector.

At first, Myanmar colleagues at the table were almost intimidated by the deep fjords and colossal snowy mountains screened before the crowd. Landing in Norway would be like stepping on a rollercoaster, one said.

With a Norwegian colleague assuring everybody that, though dramatically beautiful, her country was indeed a safe place, the lobster came, rested on pomelo, orange, star anis and drizzled in lemon oil.

Yangon delves into a night of Norwegian seafood
Salmon dish. (Norwegian Embassy)

Myanmar people usually eat their lobster hot while Norwegians enjoy theirs cold—especially around Christmas. Swilled with citrusy and peachy Chardonnay and rounded Shiraz, the table deliberated on how a devout Buddhist kills a lobster or crab.

Apparently, in some coastal areas of Myanmar, crabs are encouraged to walk a kind of tight rope across a boiling pot and if they fall in—a sealed fate for anything but an extremely talented crab—the Buddhist’s conscious is clean, and her belly is ready for filling.

Then came the trout on cucumber and passion fruit, a conversation-stopper thanks to the tenderness and flavor of the fish. This was followed by palm sugar glazed scallop and home made ravioli filled with Norweigian king crab and Sarawak laksa foam.

Now the Myanmar diners were buying into the Norwegian hype. With halibut fresh off the plane and crusted in curry together with pineapple-tomato curry with potatoes and coriander salsa finishing the savory series, everybody was inquiring into flight and accommodation costs in the Scandinavian country.

The evening concluded with Swiss chocolate, raspberry ice cream, and the joy of a lucky draw winner who took home a large amount of filleted salmon. By then, the table had decided: a trip to Norway was inevitable.


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