What I'm calling summer biryani: tender savory chicken atop fragrant, spiced rice, with some fresh vegetables off to the side. This managed to be rich and light all at once; it's better than 90% of the chicken and rice dishes you'll find in a styrofoam container in this city.
A salad of fried split peas, sesame seeds, peanuts, fried garlic, tomato, and cabbage, dressed with rich peanut oil and sour preserved tea leaves.
Young ginger salad
Made with the same crisp fried nuts as the tea leaf salad, but with cool, refreshing young ginger instead.
Thin rice noodles in a lightly fishy broth. This dish exemplified the sweet-tangy-spicy-savory theme of the day.
All the dishes were cooked and sold by members of the Burmese community.
Plenty of kids helped out their relatives assemble and sell food throughout the day.
Described as "puffy layer bread," cut into small pieces and set afloat in a mild, split pea-thickened chicken and potato curry. Totally homey, totally delicious. The flaky flatbread chunks take on the texture of flat Southern dumplings in the sauce.
Spaghetti-like rice noodles made frequent appearances, like this dish of noodles in a light chicken broth with sweet and sour sauces, hard boiled egg, shredded chicken, and spicy preserved mustard greens. It's a cool, refreshing, sweet and sour dish that juggled five or so flavors at once.
My favorite savory bite of the day: sliced sticks of chickpea-based tofu in a mild, perfectly balanced dressing. It was funky from the fish sauce on first bite, but the finish carried a fresh, mellow sweetness.
A very creamy, very thick curry sauce with rice noodles, fried shallots, peanuts, preserved mustard greens, and herbs. Almost like a savory pudding.
A Burmese "cream soda" that tasted a lot like bubble gum. Look closely and you can see some gelatinized basil seeds at the bottom.
Kyout Kyaw Thanpayar
A sweet grass jelly drink, one of the better I've had the pleasure of sipping.
Ohn-no Kout Swel
A coconut and chicken noodle soup topped with shrimp chips. Would that I could eat this every time I'm sick.
Short Lines (in the morning)
If you're marking your calendar for next year's fair, take note: get there early when the lines are short. But if you can only make it later on, you'll probably learn a thing or two from the locals while waiting on line.
I couldn't pass up the opportunity for shave ice with three types of grass jelly and technicolor syrups.
On comes the condensed milk.
Great by any standards, but made fantastic by crunchy, sweet peanuts, a brilliant textural contrast.
Ohn-sane Nu Kyout Kyaw
Agar jello made creamy with coconut milk.
There was karaoke. In Burmese. Which was actually kind of beautiful.