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Myanmar through Food

Logo http://ourstories.pageflow.io/huaxin-street-food

In June 2018, first year undergraduate students from National Chengchi University in Taiwan, the very first cohort of the newly founded Southeast Asian Languages and Cultures Program there, engaged in a student-led discovery project during their 6-day intensive course on Myanmar. Using the methodology being developed under the Humanities Across Border research and curricula project, they selected different food items as entry points or lens to learn and document humanistic stories about Myanmar.  Together with Professor Tharaphi Than from Center for Southeast Asian Studies at Northern Illinois University, the students visited Huaxin Street also known as Myanmar Street in Taipei City.

This is the story by these students. 

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During their one-day fieldwork with Huaxin shopkeepers, students learned through food
1) connections between Taiwan and Myanmar as well as Mainland China and Hong Kong
2) linguistic and cultural exchanges symbolized in food
3) emotions, feelings and identities expressed in food
4) gendering of food
At the end of the one-day work, a wonderful variety of topics led by their choice of approach/lens, i.e. food, emerged. Both the instructor and students were pleasantly surprised by the unexpected outcomes of this innovative research method. And students are encouraged to learn more about the people's history of Myanmar and Myanmar Overseas Chinese through food. 

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台灣緬甸華僑的日常美食

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This restaurant is her second lifeline in Taiwan and a symbol of her
success.
She seems more comfortable to dress in Burmese, live like a Burmese, cook Burmese food and speak in Burmese.
這家店開啟了她的新人生,雖然在台灣生活了二十年,但他還是喜歡緬甸式的生活。

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Daw Hmwe Hmwe learned how to make Puri from her Hindu neighbor while she was in Myanmar. Her shop is the only one selling Puri on Huaxin street. 
華新街上唯一一家販賣Puri 的店,老闆的手藝是傳授自印度鄰居。

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Poppy seed cake, banana cake
圖為棕糖糕、香蕉糕等點心。

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緬甸華僑老闆從香港到緬甸學做早餐糕點,到台灣開店。

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她是緬甸華僑的第二代,曾經旅居美國,為了尋根而回到台灣接下賣緬甸奶茶的工作。
Selling milk tea allows her to learn more about her parents' culture heritage.

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在緬甸的傳統社會裡,男人一天會在茶店喝上好幾杯奶茶,女人則待在家裡自行製作奶茶食物點心。
Drinking tea in a tea shop is not what Myanmar women usually do. In a Taiwanese society, it is the opposite. More women than men tend to drink tea at a shop and socialize with friends.


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緬甸茶葉、煉乳、奶水 
Tea leaves from Myanmar, evaportated milk from Singapore


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The shopkeeper who was born in Taiwan sells Burmese food and she enjoys reading Buddhist stories. 
餐廳主打緬甸小吃,老闆娘活潑健談、喜歡閱讀佛教的神話故事。
美味的小吃,幸福的氣氛。

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A term borrowed from Hokkien dialect from Southern China. This Myanmar tofu looks and tastes very different from tofu in Taiwan.
豆腐的緬文發音是來自福建,做工複雜,是為緬甸小吃攤販售,是緬人生活中重要的一部分。

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洪芝嫻
許沁寧
莊郁貞
羅映竹
陳品君
吳冠緯
陳宥女勻
邱敏瑄
黃秉翊
陳芝合
林瑋祺
張雁晴
羅惠宜

With special thanks to Daw Hmwe Hmwe and all the shopkeepers from Huaxin Street for their guidance and generosity.  We also thanked Sayama Lily Than Tin for her advice and Lin Yi-Hua for the support throughout the program.  

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