In Burma, the best food is often eaten at home and recipes are handed down through the family, generation by generation. With each family the recipes have a unique touch, sometimes a secrete ingredient or detail that makes the dish outstanding.
I wanted to share my family’s recipes and explore new recipes from different regions that are little known outside Burma.
How did hsaba start?
The idea for hsaba began when I noticed that over the course of many years living away from Burma, my family had altered recipes and replaced ingredients that were hard to find. I wanted to strip away these adaptations and rediscover home-cooked Burmese food that my family cooked and ate when I was growing up in Rangoon.
In 2004 I returned to Burma with my husband. Travelling through the country and staying with relatives allowed me to taste the authentic flavours and see the techniques that cannot be learnt living so far away.
Why is it called hsaba?
Pronounced sar-bah (silent h), it is a phonetic version for Burmese words which means please eat. During our visit to Burma, my husband who did not know a word of Burmese quickly learnt his first Burmese words. They were hsaba which we heard many times. To me, hsaba is a reminder of the hospitality and generosity of the people we met on our journey, who invited us to eat with them and shared their recipes.