Rice is the staple food of Burma / Myanmar.
What about Mohinga?
A few years back, we — U Khin Maung Oo (Ivan Lee, M69, New Jersey), Frederick Thetgyi (M69, Philadelphia), my spouse and I (from California) — visited Windsor, Canada to pay respect to Sayagyi U Aung Khin.
Sayagyi allowed my spouse and I to sleep at his guest room. He got up early to prepare Mohinga and Ah Kyaw for breakfast for the four of us. He also gave us mementos from Windsor.
Cost of Mohinga
During our younger days, plain Mohinga used to cost 15 pyas. With Ah Kyaw, we would pay 25 pyas.
Most vendors cannot match the taste of the Buthee Gyaw (using a “private” formula by a cousin aunt) to accompany the Mohinga cooked by my beloved father and his assistants. The best part is that we do not have to pay for the sumptuous “eat all you can meal”.
There are a variety of ways to prepare and cook Mohinga.
Some variables are
- the choice of fish
Hinthada uses up to three kinds of fish. Some places use minimal fish. A few — notably Dr. Htay Lwin Nyo (EP74, GBNF) — tried to have a layman’s Mohinga using canned fish.
- the choice of “San Hmont” or “Pei Hmont“
- the use of “Ngan Pya Yay” and condiments
- the mode of cooking for a small group or a large group of people
- how to keep it fresh (without getting spoiled due to inclement weather).
There’s a Mohinga story that is near and dear to me.
My spouse’s maternal grandmother was oblivious to the political, social and economic changes. Every morning, she would call a grand child. She would open her little purse inside a big purse, and then unwrap two or three layers of paper to get her money. She would dole out ten pyas to buy Mohinga for her.
Then one day she could not finish a spoonful of Mohinga. Her breath slowly faded as her head was resting on my lap. There was no sigh. She passed away gently.
My spouse belongs to the elite company of Mohinga lovers. She enjoys Mohinga for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
I have a fear the day when she might refuse to have Mohinga and follow her grandmother.