Owner/chef Ma Myo's cooking style is recognized as among the very best in Myanmar by the latest edition of Lonely Planet and guide du Routard.
Ma Myo does not hire trained chefs. "I want my cooks to prepare food the way I do: following the traditional Shan way - the way my grandmother taught me." She does not, for instance, use anything commercially produced. All dishes served are either organic or unsprayed. And every sauce, dressing and jam is her own creation
High though the quality of her meals certainly is - and the average cost of a sumptuous five course dinner is a rather paltry US$12 - it's not only sit-down dining that has attracted Westerners to her restaurant. As well, tourists come to learn how to prepare for themselves the Shan dishes she serves up at Taung Chune. Ma Myo’s cooking classes are internationally renowned.
In her classes (attended over the years by an equal number of males and females), Ma Myo personally demonstrates step by step in her flawless English how she does it. Then she has YOU do it, supervising but never interfering. Very often, she will tell you, the main ingredients to perfect Shan meals are…patience and a gentle touch.
This philosophy is borne out in presentation as well as food quality itself. Forming traditional "boats" and "tents" out of banana leaves to hold rice, for example. Or sticking in toothpicks to hold the leaves' shapes without tearing them (a most frustrating endeavor until Ma Myo shows you the tricks to making it easy).
As Taunggyi is the capital city of the Shan State, markets are busy every day. Lots of green vegetables are grown in nearby regions such as Hopone, Phyar Phyu, Shwe Nyaung and Taung Ne – known to locals as the best vegetable-producing areas in the Shan State - and brought to market daily at dawn.
As well as vegetables, all kind of goods are traded at these markets. As part of the class, Ma Myo’s chefs will take you to these local markets, point out the best ingredients and materials, and coach you in the necessary (and fun) art of haggling with vendors to get the best price. Such trips also present a photographer’s dream as a myriad of ethnic hill tribe people in their colorful garb abound at these markets.
Departure to the market with our chef at 9:30am. Tour of local goods, explanation of products, traditional bargaining.
Following market visit, cooking class at either Taung Chune or a traditional village house - your choice. Distribution of recipes, cookbooks and aprons. Basic instruction, followed by your supervised participation in preparing and cooking your lunch or dinner.
And saving the best for last: savoring, along with an aperitif, our best Shan wine and the delicious fare you have just created. Enjoy!!