The above meal was the best dollar I've ever spent in my life. It consisted of:
- dhal so nuanced I prayed it wouldn't end
- the most perfect fish curry you can imagine
- green peppers in some kind of sauce that utterly blew my mind and I have no idea how he did it
- plus the chili/fish paste compote, cabbage, verdure, and rice. Oh, and incredible burmese tea
The next morning I got this: a tomato salad with all the incredible things they do with salads here, and a different fish curry, so sublime that I didn't want to transfer it to my plate for fear of leaving a film of residue that I wouldn't be able to eat. I think angels take turns tilting their heads back and having other angels drip this sauce into their mouths...
Happily, my master plan of ultimately asking the the chef (he earns the designation, despite running a street-side stand) for lessons is making progress. Now that I'm taking intensive Burmese language courses every day, he comes and speaks to me while I'm eating. Today I met his wife and daughter and learned his name -- Aysuoh (phonetically) -- and religion: Muslim. I had to confess to being an infidel, and I fear I accidentally said I have no family. He might well think his cooking is all I have left in this world -- or the next.
This last wasn't by him, so it wasn't transcendent, but if you were to have two quarters in your pocket and not know what to do with them, how about a chickpea soup/salad with potato and a zillion other little flavor and texture ingredients working together to make each bite a string concerto?
And, while I was eating the above, I ended up having a conversation with a young guy (in English) who invited me to go with him in April to his home village. The people here -- if you can believe it -- are actually even better than the food. This place is magical.