All posts filed under: Myanmar

A Waterworld Called Inle

On a sunny Thursday morning, the river town of Nyaung Shwe is already brimming with activity. Its quay, the main gateway for locals and tourists alike to visit Inle Lake, is thronged by dozens of colorful slender boats. Our boat, conspicuously painted pink and fitted with […]

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Food Nationalism

Chapter 5, Part 6 Several years ago, the headlines of Indonesian media suddenly flared up with nationalistic fervor against Malaysia following their claims (both official and not) over some cultural items that Indonesians are so dearly and emotionally attached to. Like sibling rivalry, netizens in […]

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Here Come the Europeans

Chapter 5, Part 4 Long after being considered merely as medicine, in the 15th century the Europeans’ perception toward spices began to shift as they were used more in local cuisines. Spices added an exotic taste to the continent’s traditional dishes, and demand from royal […]

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Influences from Bharat

Chapter 5, Part 3 At a heritage house in Kumarakom on the bank of Vembanad Lake, a part of Kerala’s iconic backwaters, I discovered one of the biggest surprises during the Spice Odyssey. On the day James and I arrived, we were served several dishes […]

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The Chinese Connection

Chapter 5, Part 2 Known as the “Middle Kingdom” in Mandarin, China has always projected its image as the center of the world even long before the modern People’s Republic of China was formed. Prior to the creation of the Communist state as well as […]

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Yangon, Three Years Later

Chapter 4, Part 21 Everything seems so familiar as I step out of the plane that takes me from Bangkok to Yangon. The clean and airy modern airport terminal looks just how I remember it, and the squiggly Burmese script is as mysterious as it […]

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Mandalay and the Last Burmese Kingdom

Chapter 4, Part 20 Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is a land that gave birth to great kings who ruled some of the mightiest empires in the history of Southeast Asia. Anawrahta established the first Burmese empire in the 11th century, a regional power that […]

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Indein: Abandoned and Forgotten

Chapter 1, Part 17 Far from the crowds and bustle of tourists and locals at the center of Inle Lake, our small boat headed to the southwestern side of the lake. Our boatman skillfully navigated the calm waters to Indein (Inn Thein) creek, past Phaung […]

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Bagan: An Empire in Decline

Chapter 1, Part 16 Almost two centuries of endless temple construction which began during the reign of Anawrahta, the founder of the kingdom of Bagan, resulted in nearly two-thirds of arable land in the kingdom reserved for religious purposes. The construction of colossal temples and […]

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Bagan: Into Turbulent Time

Chapter 1, Part 14 In the early 12th century AD, the prosperous and powerful kingdom of Bagan was on the verge of years of political instability. Narathu, who by now ruled the kingdom, ascended the throne by assassinating his own father, Alaungsithu, and his older […]

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Bagan Rising

Chapter 1, Part 13 At the turn of the second millennium, Hinduism became the dominant power in Southeast Asia where powerful Hindu kingdoms controlled vast swathes of land between the Pacific and the Indian Oceans. Following the return of Shaivism into the royal court of […]

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