Khaung Daing village

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On our spare day in Inle Lake, we decided to walk to the nearby village of Khaung Daing just to see what was there. And, although we were walking along a small country road, we still came across powerful symbols of faith. These huge elaborate temples/stupas/pagodas seem to be everywhere. This one was undergoing renovation/rebuilding and you can see the builder with his spirit level lining up the wall decorations.

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We knew that the village had a place called Tofu Palace, so that was what we were heading for. On the way we met Mr. Soe Lwin Oo who came to chat with us. It turned out that he ran food tours of his village, so we had a cup of tea and waited to be joined by some young back packers who had booked a tour today.

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Back in 2010, the villagers persuaded the government to help cover costs to upgrade the access road. Soe is a tourist guide, so he worked with others to improve the look of the village, make a proper rubbish recycling system, and generally make it suitable for tourists. You give a donation for the tour which goes to the village as everthing is done for the benefit of all. (Go to Tofu Palace FB page for contact information.)

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Everyone’s favourite were these sticky donuts. One lady shapes the paste into small donuts and puts them on a hot pan. When browned, another lady loads them onto a stick which she then dunks in a sugary concoction.

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This room was a hive of activity, with hot pans of stuff being worked and moved on to the next station. Soe said that timing was important, but there were no clocks here and no thermostat controls on these ovens!

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This lady was making a brown sugar mochi-like rice flour cake.

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You may not be able to see clearly here, but this guy is pushing a chickpea-based paste through a grater directly into a pan of boiling oil. The young lady is frying paste squeezed through a mold onto a flat piece of wood before going into the hot oil. They make savory snacks of all shapes and sizes using a basic set of molds. In total, this village produces 22 different sweets/snacks.

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Here is the speciality of chickpea tofu. It is made from yellow split peas and chickpea flour and is very versatile and tasty too.

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We stopped at a roadside cafe making yummy hot snacks. There’s a lot of similarity between all these foods and traditional foods of Japan.

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Many snacks are prepared in dried form so they can be more easily transported to markets elsewhere in the region.

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The people here have a liking for sweets, and make pulled sugar candies…. delicious when still fresh and malleable.!

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And, since we are in a rice growing region, there is a still for making rice wine. The equipment did look antique and even the cobwebs had cobwebs, but the drink was good, just like Japanese sake.

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And to accompany the rice wine, salted/flavoured roasted beans, seeds, and nuts!

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A tour that was supposed to last 45 minutes took a lot longer, but no one minded that. We finished with more tea and hot deep fried chickpea tofu with a spicy dipping sauce, and were so glad that we’d bumped into Soe on our walk through his village.

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© Helen Gray 2021