January 17, 2015

More Myanmar: Inle Lake and Ngapali

We finished our trip at a lake and on the ocean. Inle is in Shan State and is the farthest east we got to travel. Since the lake is fresh water and people live in it (ie - bath, laundry, bathroom, LIVE) I chose not to eat fish there. However, you can still get a lot of wonderful Burmese classics including Shan noodles. Since Inle is a little more touristy, the reviews of many restaurants are good and reliable.  We made the trek to a couple well-reviewed options in our book and were very happy.  The strangest thing we did in all of Myanmar was go to a winery here on Red Mountain. Very touristy, but a fascinating set-up and an incredible view. Not a bad way to spend an evening but I recommend taking a tuk-tuk as the mosquitoes really start in at sunset.

Restaurants we liked in Inle include Thanakka (really hard to find) and Live Dim Sum (not hard to find). Both of these offered a large variety of options, were affordable, clean and had good service. You will find Westerners pretty much anywhere you go in this area. The most lovely thing about Burmese food is all of the condiments. Dishes come with a plethora of sauces, fresh lime and chopped herbs and spices. I ate the hottest dish of my life, which is saying a lot because I love spice - papaya salad with these slices of hot Thai peppers.  It was awesome.

We ended our trip on the West Coast on the Bay of Bengal in Ngapali. What a gorgeous, peaceful, place to experience traditional Myanmar life. We had a blast talking at a local school on Thanksgiving and teaching the kids about American holidays. That morning, as the nigh fishermen were coming back, we got to go over and pick out our own Thanksgiving tuna. The hotel prepared it for us in two ways and the four of us had a unique feast.

The food in Myanmar was better than I ever expected it could be, though I am obviously obsessed with Asian cuisine of all types. Binging on noodles, tofu and veggies for a few weeks treated us all very well.  I came home feeling amazing, several pounds lighter, and with perfect skin. What is Myanmar doing right? I hope to go back to South East Asia soon - I miss it.  If you ever get a chance to go - grab it!

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