Kayin people primarily live in Kayin State, southeastern and southern Myanmar.Most Kayin people live on the hill which are eastern border region of Myanmar, primarily in Kayin State, southern Shan State(MoBye Region), in Kayah State(Karenni State), Ayeyarwady Division, western Thailand and in Southern Kawthoolei(Tenasserim Costal Region).In Myanmar, many different races are also living but Kayin people culture and food are also famous like other races.
Food plays an essential role in Kayin culture.Also Kayin people greet in “Aw mee wee lee ar”– “Have you finished eating?” They think eating together is a way of expressing hospitality and creating bonds between people. Traditionally Kayin people eat twice a day, in the morning, and in the afternoon.
Kayins eat a huge variety of foods, including wild animals such as bat, snake, grubs, monkey,bee larvae, palm sugar, wild honey, ants, frog, forest herbs, and lizard. Many types of fish and birds are eaten, and mostly Kayins people raise chickens, ducks, pigs, cattle, corn, and pumpkins to obtain food.
A good Kayin meal would include large bowls of rice, a bowl of meat curry, a bowl of stir-fried vegetables, a bowl of soup, and a small bowl of fish paste or chillies. The curries and soups bowls are shared when eating meals.
A famous dish of Kayins in the forest is “takataw”, cook some shreds of dried meat (often venison or wild boar) to boiling water, let it cook until the meat are soft like porridge, and then add some chopped vegetables. A typical Karen dish consists of rice with a variety vegetables and meat on occasion. Vegetables include cucumbers, squash, bamboo shoots, eggplants, mushrooms from the forest and edible wild vegetables. Meals are eaten in family groups sometimes including friends or neighbors.
The fish paste is a very famous dish among the Kayin known as “nya u” or in Burmese “ngape.” It is a strong-tasting dish of fermented fish pounded into a fish paste, usually eat together with rice and vegetables for added flavor. Meals are often flavored with chilies and added spices like turmeric, ginger, cardamom, tamarind, lime juice, and garlic. Maybe that’s why Kayin curries are more delicious and famous than other races’ curries.
Here are Kayin restaurants you can enjoy Kayin Style dinner, come and taste if you’ve been to Kayin State, Hpa-An.
1/290 Bo Gyoke Street, Hpa-An
Kan Nar St, Hpa-An
Zwe Ka Bin Street, Ward (4), Hpa-An