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Celebrate Burmese New Year With the Thingyan Festival at Burma Burma

Burma Burma is an ode to the people and culture of Burma and an amalgamation of traditional flavours with contemporary interpretations. Being a non-vegetarian, the thought of a vegetarian restaurant isn't the most mouth-watering. But when it comes to a spot like Burma Burma, the restaurant makes me salivate even knowing it's a vegetarian dining experience. Adding to their impeccable reputation of delicious Kho Swey and being India's only Burmese dining, they have yet again brought to the capital a new concept - The Thingyan Festival. The Festival menu is packed with fresh ingredients and is inspired by the team’s travel to Burma and their experience of dining together with local communities at a Thingyan celebration in Yangon – a city in Lower Burma, located at the convergence of the Yangon and Bago rivers.

Thingyan is synonymous with the Burmese New Year and harvest festival. To celebrate the occasion the brand has introduced the Thingyan Festival a culinary trip to local Burmese flavour. "The Thingyan Festival is a time for celebrations and renewal, and our specially curated menu and vibrant atmosphere aim to capture the essence of this joyous occasion, fostering a sense of community and sharing," said Ankit Gupta, Co-Founder, Burma Burma. The festival also known as the Water Festival is a multi-day affair that comes with its own set of rituals, customs, and traditions. One unique custom that they follow is splashing water, symbolising purification and washing away the old to make way for the new. This year, Burma Burma brings this exuberance alive with a specially curated Thingyan Festival menu featuring authentic Burmese flavours from April 11 to May 19.

In Burmese culture, community eating holds a significant position and the festival aims to bring the same culture of dining with your loved ones. The menu captures the very essence of Burmese cuisine, selecting dishes that showcase its incredible culinary diversity. To start the experience the warm team at Burma Burma used a betel leaf dipped in a bowl of scented water to cleanse your hands, and next up comes an extravagant Burmese home-style meal with festive dishes and refreshing beverages. Start the meal with a summer cooler like the El Dragon which is a delicious mix of dragon fruit, coconut water, litchi water with elderflower syrup, and nata de coco; for a more calming and unsweetened flavour try Musk a blend of muskmelon with honey and lavender white tea cold brew.

Transporting you to a quaint village in Burma are the appetiser to the main course. But what made the experience better was the presentation! A staff member came dressed with a large cane basket around his neck almost seemingly like we were at a fruit bazaar in Burma shopping for some authentic flavours. Beautifully displayed on the cane basket we were offered delicious picked and dehydrated mango, plum and an assortment of nuts. But the centrepiece of the Thingyan Festival celebration at Burma Burma is the Village Set, a curation of traditional Burmese dishes arranged beautifully on a flat, cane basket. A sharing meal for two, the Village Set menu covers different elements of a typical Burmese meal, starting with a salad and ending with a sweet. The dishes include the zesty Sweet Lime and Shallot Salad, Assorted Fries Platter, the Peppery Tofu & Onion Stir fry to be enjoyed with flaky Palata, the traditional Pumpkin & Broad Bean Curry to be savoured with hearty Coconut Rice and Roselle & Mushroom Stir Fry along with an array of delightful relishesBegin your feast with the zesty Sweet Lime & Shallot Salad, a delicious combination of sweet lime, garlic oil, roasted gram flour, lime, shallot, crushed green chillies and peanuts and move onto a bit of crunch with the Assorted Fries Platter, featuring mock-mince samosa, sweet potato tempura, and rice crackers. Dive into a burst of flavour with The Peppery Tofu & Onion Stir Fry and Pumpkin & Broad Bean Curry, the perfect accompaniment to the Shallow-Fried Palata, a soft, flaky, and layered roti-like bread and the  Coconut Rice (traditionally known as Ohn Hatmin). Finally, if you love mushrooms the Roselle & Mushroom Stir Fry, a sour and spicy dish where roselle leaves and mushrooms are stir-fried with garlic, bird's eye chilli, and turmeric won't leave you disappointed. Complete your culinary journey with the refreshing Lemon Poppy Seed Ice Cream, a citrusy delight with black poppy seeds, whipped cream, and mint or opt for the Mont Lone Yay Paw, a traditional Thingyan sweet made with glutinous rice flour dumplings filled with palm jaggery and topped with shredded coconut. For me the flavours were strong, on a spicier note, and similar to Chettinad food of South India.

In terms of the things I loved, the Assorted Fries Platter especially the mock-mince samosa worked as a lovely snacky bite In addition, I enjoyed the sweetness of The Pumpkin and broad bean curry - a yellow curry that was smooth on the palate. Juxtaposing the sweetness was the Peppery Tofu & Onion Stir Fry a savoury delight showcasing the mastery of the Bamar cooking style. But what left me pleasantly surprised was the dessert! The Banana Sanwin Makin, a traditional Burmese semolina cake served at special feasts, with banana and strawberry, baked in coconut cream, and topped with poppy seeds, Although it looked nothing fancy, it was light and exploded with the flavour of banana when you'd bite into it. Overall, the balance of sweet and savoury was a highlight of the meal.

We'd suggest not going in with very high expectations because the flavour profile is definitely an acquired taste. It is an ideal balance of flavours for those who love coconut-based dishes, but if you don't like even a hint of coconut flavours in your meal, we suggest giving this a miss. While some dishes left us pleasantly surprised others like the Sweet Lime & Shallot Salad, could have been better. As the festivities unfold, indulge in a culinary journey that mirrors the richness of Burmese traditions and the interconnectedness of Asian cultures. Join Burma Burma in celebrating the Thingyan festival with open hearts, good company, and The Village Set, a feast that reflects the joy of the Lunar New Year.


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