UPDATE: After our recent travels, Erin and I have a backlog of stories for the blog. Today's post dates all the way to Myanmar. But stay tuned for tales from Koh Tao, a few more from Vietnam, and then our experience with Cambodia. To help make up ground, we'll be posting twice a week for the next few months, every Wednesday and Sunday.Anyway, on with the post!
"Erin? What's that?" I pointed at a dish holding something lumpy and vibrantly yellow.
"I have no idea," she replied.
"But you just ate some."
She shrugged. "I think it's Asian pear, but I'm not sure." She saw my look. "Well what are you eating, then?"
My own dish was some type of stringy meat covered in a brown sauce. "I... I have no idea."
"What does it taste like?"
I frowned. "Spicy socks."
"Uh, huh. Not so easy, is it?"
We were at Myo Myo's, a diner on the western edge of Nyaung U, near Bagan, out for a night of traditional Myanmar cuisine. And it was proving somewhat mysterious. There were no menus, no choices to be made. We sat down, held up two fingers, and the waiter brought out two plates of rice, two bowls of vegetable soup, and two vast trays of tiny, multicolored dishes. Everybody in the restaurant got the same thing.
Well, we'd wanted an adventure. Some cautious experimentation let us narrow things down a little. On the left we had a variety of curried meats... fish and chicken and beef on the bone. On the right, vegetables, with the odd spring roll and sugary fruit for good measure.
I pointed at something on the vegetable side - orange and green and studded with red. "I'm going in."
"Don't be a hero!" Erin hissed.
I scooped a generous helping onto my spoon and popped it into my mouth. Then I flinched, did a little dance as my hand groped for the water. Erin stared at me.
"Small bites. Mystery food requires small bites," she said.
I gulped, eyes watering. Then I managed a gasp, "That tastes like raw ginger and chili peppers!"
Erin stared at me. Then at the dish. Then she made a mental checkmark. "Good to know. What about that one?" She pointed at its neighbor.
I glared at her. "No. I am not your guinea pig. It's your turn."
She frowned, gingerly picked up her spoon. "This would be so much easier if these came with little labels."
"Uh, huh. Eat up."
She took a careful bite of something large and golden-pale. Then she gave a smug smile. "Cinnamon apple. Yum."
"That is just so unfair."
"I think it's totally fair. And it's your turn."
I glared at the table. Then I settled on something that looked like brown relish.
I mixed it with some rice and took a careful bite. It was crunchy and fishy and sticky-sweet, like candied anchovies.
"Well?" Erin asked.
"Well, it's not raw ginger. Fish, I think. But coated in honey or something."
"That sounds unsettling."
"Try having it in your mouth."
"No, I'm good," she replied. "My turn?"
She reached over and picked up one of the spring rolls.
"That's cheating," I said.
"I don't recall establishing ground rules," she replied primly. "Anyway, we have no idea what might be hiding inside this thing." She took a bite. Then she smiled. "Tastes like deep-fried onions."
I sighed. "Of course it does."
She dipped the rest of her roll into a vibrant orange sauce and crunched it down. "Sweet and sour. Delicious."
"I hate you," I said.
She grinned. "No you don't."
We went back and forth until everything had been sampled. By then, our bellies were surprisingly full, even though most of the tiny dishes had barely more than a bite taken from them. I leaned back in my chair, trying and failing to muffle a belch.
"That was very attractive," Erin said.
"Thank you," I replied, unperturbed. I surveyed the detritus of our meal. "What do you think?"
"I think it was delicious," she replied. "And you?"
"I... I think it was delicious, too. Weird. But delicious."
"Even with the spicy socks? And the sweet fish? Oh! And the ginger... thing?"
I frowned. Then slowly nodded. "Yeah. Even with that. It was an adventure."
She smiled. "It was, at that."
If you want to visit Myo Myo's, it's located on the western edge of Nyaung U, near Bagan. Google Maps can't seem to find it, but the following map should give you an approximate location.
Additionally, it's listed in the Lonely Planet guide for the Bagan area.