About Shan Cuisine.....
The most populated "upcountry" area of Myanmar is the Shan Plateau, a region of mountain ranges and wide fertile valleys with a mean altitude of 1,050 meters above sea level, adjoining China, Laos and Thailand. Food preferences here are influenced not only by proximity to these countries, and to a strong Chinese element in the population, but by terrain and climate.
A wide variety of food is grown here: rice, wheat, soybeans, sugarcane, sunflowers, maize and peanuts; and vegetables including potatoes, cabbage, cucumber, cauliflower, celery, aubergine, hops, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard, rape, roselle, tomatoes and chayote etc. Fruit from the Shan Plateau includes oranges, tangerines, quinces,damsom plums, peaches, pomegranates, persimmons, pears and strawberries.
The indigenous tropical and temperate flora has been supplemented by exotics such as the pineapple, tomato, chilli, grapefruit, apple, loquat, lychees, sapodilla, sweetsop, and rambutan.
The hill rice grown on the Shan Plateau is renowned for its variety and flavor, and depends on seasonal rain rather than irrigation. The Shan are known for their love of vegetables, pork and local fish from lakes. They also eat more beef than most other people in Myanmar.
All kinds of beans and lentils are grown in the Shan Plateau. They are eaten whole but also fermented to make seasoning paste. The Shan tribes also make a fermented soybean product which is often dried, pounded and used a seasoning.
Given this wealth of products, it is not surprising that there were times in the Shan history when the kings and Sawbwar could demand and receive three hundred different dishes for every meal.
The Shan and other tribes living in mountain regions are more likely to use a wide range of wild forests than vegetables cultivated in fields.
However, in Myanmar's more impoverished mountainous regions, all kinds of esoteric items such as insects and larvae are eaten (although you won't find them on our menu!).