– 12 oz dry pasta (I used rigatoni)
– 1 lb chorizo (or hot Italian sausage)
– 1 bunch kale; thick ribs removed
– 6 oz sundried tomatoes (I actually used an entire 8 oz jar, because I love sundried tomatoes!)
– 1/2 cup water or chicken broth (optional)
– olive oil
– minced garlic
– salt (to taste)
– pepper (to taste)
– parmesan cheese (to taste)
– red pepper flakes (to taste)
1. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.
2. Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil.
3. Add chorizo and cook until cooked through – approximately 5 minutes.
4. Add sundried tomatoes and garlic and cook for approximately 1 minute. If needed, add water and scrape the bottom of the skillet.
5. Add kale and cook until wilted and tender – approximately 5 minutes.
6. Season with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and cheese to taste.
– 4 eggs
– 2 ripe bananas
– 1/4 cup coconut flour
– a pinch of salt
– coconut oil (for cooking)
1. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add coconut oil.
2. While the skillet and oil are heating up, mix all of the ingredients, minus the coconut oil, thoroughly. In retrospect, it probably would have been easier to blend all of the ingredients together, but I hate washing my blender.
3. Pour a large spoonful of the batter into the skillet. You can adjust for size as desired – I made mine about 6 inches in diameter. Cook the first side for ~3 minutes, or until the bottom of the pancake is golden brown, and there are bubbles on the top of the pancake.
4. Flip the pancake and cook the second side for ~3 minutes until golden brown.
5. Repeat with the rest of the batter.
Voila! I ended up with 6 pancakes in total.
Optional! and non-Whole 30, but totally awesome. I made my pancakes with a maple-cranberry syrup, and that definitely enhanced the flavor. You don’t actually need to add syrup to the pancakes, since the banana makes them naturally sweet, but if you want to add any additional sugar, here’s how you can make some maple-cranberry syrup:
– 3/4 cup frozen cranberries (or any frozen fruit, really. I just happened to have cranberries)
– 1/2 cup maple syrup
1. Add the cranberries and maple syrup to a small pot on medium-low heat.
2. Stir occasionally until the mixture boils. This only took a couple of minutes, since there was so little of the mixture.
3. Crush the cranberries if desired.
4. Pour the syrup over the pancakes and enjoy warm.
Last full day in Burma! I can’t believe the time has gone by so quickly. It’s crazy how much we’ve seen in the last two weeks here.
We spent the morning visiting my dad’s childhood house in Yangon. It was similar to my mom’s childhood house in the sense that it’s a small house for a lot of people.
One note about people in Burma: people are generally really open and trusting. When my dad and Auntie Linda wanted to go visit and look inside their old home, even though they don’t know the people who live there anymore, the rest of us kind of laughed it off. If someone knocked on my door today, and said “hey I used to live here 40 years ago, can I come in and look around” I’d close the door on them and probably call 911. Not in Burma!!! We were let in by an elderly woman and her daughter, and we got to look inside. (I felt bad about taking pictures inside because I felt uncomfortable pulling out my camera/phone in the middle of a rando’s house.)
We don’t have much planned for the rest of the day. We’re going to get massages (WOOO) and pack. Our relatives gave us an entire luggage full of dried food to take back to America. Plus all our souvenirs. It looks like we’re going to need to buy another luggage today…
One more definite stop though. The cafe where we had snacks yesterday was so good, we had to come back again. I’ve reached nirvana.
Since it’s our last full day here, I thought I’d do a bit of reflection on this trip. This has definitely been the most cultural thing I’ve experienced in a while. It’s also the most humbling experience I’ve had, probably in my entire life. Burma is so different from anywhere I’ve ever been before, in so many ways. Going from suburban Los Angeles to the middle of a third world country has made me realize how much I take for granted, and has taught me to appreciate the little things a little bit more – having a loving and supportive family, never having to think about what my next meal will be, and never having to worry about where my next dollar will come from.
All in all, I had an awesome time on this trip. I’d love to come back again someday, though not for at least 3-5 years.
My favorite parts: Shwedagon Pagoda (at night), Bagan, and Inle. And of course, the food!!!
My least favorite parts: having to put on mosquito repellent every few hours (worth it though because I got 0 mosquito bites! HAH!), going to the bathroom in not-toilets (though my thighs are probably a lot stronger now from all the squatting), and the walk up to Kyaiktiyo on the wet, dirty floors.
I’ve gotten to brush up on my Burmese speaking and Burmese singing (lol, hours and hours and hours of karaoke in the van), and I’ve gotten to put my Burmese reading to good use! I’ve learned a lot of things about Burma, including but not limited to: 1) having a little bit of money will get you very far; 2) people love foreigners, and are shameless about taking pictures of them; 3) people in Burma look younger than I do, which is really saying something; 4) people really really really appreciate and make the most of what they have; 5) no one really cares about material possessions; 6) a lot of people put their money into pagodas via donations… the pagodas are all beautiful.
There are so many beautiful parts to Burma, in addition to the rundown buildings and the bustling cities. Ending my series of blog posts with a couple of pictures that I think represent Burma and everything we saw on this trip.
Today is another full day in Yangon. More time to hang out with some relatives. But first, and most important, breakfast.
After lots of comfort food for breakfast, we headed out of our hotel. Today we’re trying to get souvenirs. I don’t think the Burmese souvenirs are typical touristy souvenirs (like magnets and keychains and things) but instead more like little gold pagodas and jade jewelry. How much more will my boss love me when I get him a little jade trinket hah
We first started at Yangon’s Chinatown since there’s a lot to see there: tons of street vendors and corner stores.
Side note: Chinatown is also prime real estate – buying an apartment here starts at over $1 million US dollars. And that’s for a couple of rooms, no garage, and neighbors all up in your space. What on earth. Even renting a place in Yangon’s Chinatown is more than twice what I pay in rent at home…
Anyway, we stopped by Chinatown to pick up one of our relatives, who’s a gold merchant. He’ll be able to help us pick out good quality jewelry!
We hopped in a taxi over to Scott Market, which we’ve passed many times in Yangon. It’s the main bazaar here. There are tons of stores that sell just about anything – clothes, food, jewelry, artwork, jade bracelets and figurines, Buddha statues, you name it.
Side note about taking taxis here: there’s no concept of a maximum number of passengers. In the US, if you’ve got more than 4 people, they’ll make you take 2 taxis because of seatbelts and whatnot. This doesn’t happen in Burma.
If you’ve got 5 people, then you either squeeze 4 in the backseat and 1 in the front with the driver, OR! you let 3 people sit in the back and have 2 in the passenger seat in front. Desmond and I did this yesterday… it was not comfortable in that passenger seat.
If you’ve got 6 people, then guess what – 2 people can sit in the trunk! The taxis here are mostly stationwagon types, so 2 people can just hop in the trunk. We’ve done this at least 3 different times in Yangon.
Anyway, we spent such a long time at Scott Market trying to pick out souvenirs – so long that we actually missed lunch time. Instead, we walked around and looked at all of the different exotic fruits, street vendors, and corner shops.
We decided to walk back to our hotel. One last look around Yangon’s bustling Chinatown.
Tonight’s dinner is our family’s treat to our relatives. We reserved 4 tables at a restaurant by Yangon Harbor – lots of relatives are coming into town, even from outside Yangon, to see us!
Note: meals are always slightly awkward since this is our (mine, Desmond’s, and my dad’s) first time meeting these relatives. Regardless, it’s comforting to know that we have some family abroad. Everyone’s really nice, and the little kids love us!
Back in Yangon! Wow. Didn’t realize the climate change between Yangon and Mandalay was so drastic. Right when the bus doors opened in Yangon, we could feel all the hot sticky air rushing at us. mmmmm lovely.
Since we got back here early (6 AM), we went back to our hotel in Yangon, changed and freshened up a bit, and then headed out. We are constantly on the move here… there hasn’t been a bunch of time for cleanliness. meh.
Quickish breakfast at Feel (of course), and then Shwedagon Pagoda again!
It turns out my hunch last week was correct: Shwedagon Pagoda looks a lot better at night. But I think that might be a temporary thing – the main stupa is under construction right now, and during the day you can see all the construction on the outside. At night you can’t see all the scaffolding and stuff, you just see the gold shining through.
After a couple of hours here (even though we’d already been here before, Shwedagon is so massive that it still takes that long to see everything), we were finally able to go back to our hotel and shower. The amount of stickiness and sweatiness and general feeling of meh does not need to be made public on my blog.
We parted ways with Samantha’s family for the rest of the day. Now that we’re back in Yangon, we’re meeting up with my grandma and our distant relatives here. Next stop: lunch with all of the relatives.
After lunch, we headed to one of my relatives’ house so that my mom could socialize and catch up with all of the relatives after over 35 years. It was so nice to be sitting around in an air conditioned room, doing nothing for an afternoon – I feel like we’ve spent the last nine days constantly on the move.
A few hours before dinner (with the same relatives), we headed back out into the city again – this time, to do some exploration and walking around on our own. We walked by the giant Karaweik, which is a huge palace on Kandawgyi Lake in the middle of the city. A Karaweik is some sort of mythical bird, almost like a phoenix.
We also decided to walk to dinner instead of taking a taxi. Not sure if this was the best idea, since the streets of Yangon aren’t the best – there aren’t sidewalks on any of the smaller streets, and we just don’t know the area at all. But somehow we found our way to the restaurant.
We’re all kind of tired tonight, even though we didn’t do much. It must yesterday’s red eye bus. Can’t wait to get my first night of sleep in Burma without setting an alarm for tomorrow morning!