Protect Your Saturdays! Starting with Wa Ma Ma at MyLan

Content in this post happened exactly 21 days ago, which means the publication of this post is considered already ancient. That was also my last full Yangon weekend untainted with work responsibilities – a trend that has accelerated since the announcement of a deal back in October 2014, which is also reflected in the declining number of posts ever since.

This has to change.

No matter how crazy work gets, I am going to have to draw my line at sacred Saturdays, to practice the art of doing nothing. Idling. Staying in my PJs and not brushing my teeth till 5 o’clock in the evening. To remember still how to write, a skill that has grown rusty since joining the corporate world. Hang out at my hammock. Send obscene WhatsApp texts to faraway friends. You know.

Therefore, I can hardly think of a better way to consummate this new personal campaign – “Protect Saturdays!” – than this post on discovering a new Wa Restaurant in Yangon.

Yangon has changed dramatically in the two years I have been back. This was my first time tasting Wa cuisine, which was made possible only because I had been wandering around in MyLan Food Fair (What is that?! This was unheard of circa 2012!). The moment we saw the sign “Wa Ma Ma Restaurant,” we knew we had to try, and I’ll tell you why.

Wa people make a distinct cultural and ethnic group residing in the mountainous Northern part of Shan State, Myanmar, with their own autonomous territory. Rumor has it Wa people practice cannibalism. Back in my middle school days, a new student supposedly the son of some big shot in the Wa administration joined our class, which sparked mixtures of wonder, awe and terror in the minds of 12-year-old Yangonites. In Pascal Khoo Thwe’s memoir, “From the Land of Green Ghosts,” he wrote about how Wa interrogators will force information out of captured spies with threats of … eating them! Efficient.

The best value deal is the “Daung Lan” to share, priced at 10,000 MMK (US$10) for a group of four or five, depending on their eating capacities. Daung Lans are a rare thing now, seen only at the National Museum and now Wa Ma Ma Restaurant. It is said that back in our ancestors’ day in 1800s, families eat together from one gigantic single plate, undeterred by the probability of spreading germs even in the days when penicillin was unheard of. Can you even imagine?

Wa Ma Ma, however, has a modern twist, asking us to wear plastic gloves and giving us individual plates to eat out of the larger Daung Lan. An order of Daung Lan comes with jasmine rice, brown glutinous rice, grilled pork neck, chicken with basil, bamboo shoots, and cucumber salad. If you are scared of hot and spicy food, this is not for you.

I make zero commission from this post, but book a table now at 09 49 44 55 22!


Daung Lan


Eating with hands a must…


Two ladies from “Wa Ma Ma”

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