In her introduction to Mandalay, MiMi Aye describes her aunt disclosing a recipe for Shan tofu to a housekeeper, who promptly quits her job to start up a tofu business in her own village. Recipes in Burmese culture are considered powerful, personal and secret – thankfully, Aye is willing to share.
Aye’s journey through Burmese cuisine (she has always known the country as Burma, as opposed to its current name, Myanmar, and refers to it as such throughout) opens with literal journeys – visiting the country every year from the UK as part of a family of five. She is the only one to have been born not in Mandalay or Mogok, but Margate, and we follow “an eight-year-old MiMi with food on her mind”.
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