Today was the annual Neibban Zay (Nirvana Market) at the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area, with profits from the different stalls going to the Brahma Vihara Monastery, which has been the source of controversy among Burmese Buddhists in Southern California. My aunt, who had planned to sell hkauk hswe thoke (salad noodles) decide not to, after hearing rumors about the resident monks using money for luxuries like business-class airline tickets and extravagant spending on cars and such.
There was quite a variety of Burmese food and a list in Burmese is available here. However, to my disappointment, there was no Rakhaing mont ti (a noodle and soup dish from Arakan State) sold, which was on the list. Food was okay, but I especially enjoyed the Shan hkauk hswe. Even though the Shan are related to Thais, their cuisine style is quite different. Freshness is essential to Thais, but pungent and fermented foods are the norm for the Shan.
The surroundings were nice though.
The entertainment began with classical Burmese songs by unknown Burmese singers, and later came songs from more famous singers including those women above. I have to say, actress-turned-singers have weak voices. Only May Sweet had a powerful singing voice.
Anyway, that’s it. But, I have to say that each year, it seems that the Burmese community in America is growing larger and larger.