When I mention my wonderful culinary experience in Myanmar I’m responded by either, a snicker of disbelief or one of wonderment. 

          Burmese (Myanmar) food – at large – is an untapped food industry and commonly misunderstood. It’s far and beyond dirty street food (although that exists, and in Thailand too), but Burmese food is wonderfully fresh and earthly, with intricate textures and exotic ingredients that vary from state to state. Most of all, like the people, the dishes are deeper and more layered than we may think. 

          Almost a year ago, The Evening Standard wrote “Why Burmese cuisine is set to be London’s hottest foodie trend” and just recently in New York there’s an underground food scene happening. 

          But Bangkok foodies need not travel far to try authentic Burmese cuisine, now that Kat and her mother have opened up their online delivery service which begins service today! Bangkok Foodies gets the exclusive with Kat on the launch of Ma Sabai’s Kitchen.  

FULL NAMES (NICKNAME): Ma Sabai (Yvonne), Katalliyah S. Bunnag (Kat), Manop Sujaritpinij (Victor)

BUSINESS NAME: Ma Sabai’s Kitchen
OCCUPATION/POSITION: Ma Sabai – House wife/ and Owner of Ma Sabai’s Kitchen

          Kat – Co-Founder of Ma Sabai’s Kitchen plus Operation, Sales & Marketing for Ma Sabai’s Kitchen, Co-Founder of As You Wish Services

          Victor Instructor at Webster University, Co- Owner of Maltech Thailand, Co-Founder and Creative Director for Ma Sabai’s Kitchen

Ma Sabai's Kitchen

BKF: Tell us a bit about your backgrounds?

          KAT: Ma Sabai started helping out in the kitchen since she was a little girl from peeling garlic, red onions to washing vegetables. It was not only until she turned 12 years she showed more interest in cooking, where back in the days they did not have proper stoves or gas valves but used the traditional coal stove, making the dishes much more delicious.

BKF: Why the name Ma Sabai’s Kitchen? What does it mean? 

          KAT: Ma Sabai’s (mah sa-bae’s or meaning Jasmine flower in Burmese) Kitchen started with a nostalgic feeling that turned into a vision of sharing a hearty, Myanmar and Southwestern Tai food made with the finest ingredients and best of all MSG FREE guaranteed.

          At Ma Sabai’s Kitchen we are delivering only the best and authentic Myanmar & Southwestern Tai influenced cuisine right to your door.

BKF: Why did you both decide to open a Burmese food delivery restaurant?

          KAT: It was always my mom’s passion to cook. She always loved having people eat her food. It was her happiness. Once when I was in school she had a little shop for almost a year at the school’s canteen, which turned into a big hit. However years passed and with her passion still alive she wanted to come back, and concluded that a delivery only service for Burmese food will be able to expand more rapidly. In the near future we are also planning to explore into the catering business as well.  Also we have seen a trend in Myanmar cuisine in many other cities like New York and London. 

BKF: What do you think is misunderstood about Burmese food in Thailand?

          KAT: Well as a Half Thai-Chinese, Burmese-Irish, yes I think it Burmese food has been misunderstood in Thailand for too long and it’s about time we all just had an open mind about other types of cuisine in the South East Asian region. However we are very happy to see more and more Burmese restaurant forming in Thailand.

          What is misunderstood, would be a more of a cultural difference however taste wise would be being dirty, too oily and not daring to try new types of cuisine.

Ma Sabai's Kitchen

 

BKF: Would you say you are the first to do this in Bangkok?

          KAT: We may say yes but in different aspect like being the first for delivery only, MSG FREE, Home cooked and using only top quality produce. But if generally being the first introducing Myanmar cuisine in then no, we are not the first.

BKF: Would you say that many think that Burmese food is inferior to Thai? Less tasty and complex for example.

          KAT: We would not say that any type of cuisine is inferior to any other cuisine since we all are different in our own unique ways due to culture, geography and the ingredients in the South East Asian region. There are many dishes especially in the Southwestern Tai cuisine that are shared between Thai, Myanmar, China and India. **ไทยใหญ่ is an old race in the northern thai area where is mixed culture of Thai and Myanmar

Ma Sabai's Kitchen

BKF: Describe what you think is the true culinary root and taste of Burmese food?

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          KAT: True culinary root and the taste of Burmese food, great questions indeed…. The greatest influence would be from China and India. Burmese food is a mixture of both cuisine and a great touch of Southeast Asian ingredients.  

          Additionally, growing up with Ma Sabai’s cooking, her Burmese food were only made with the freshest ingredients and a whole lot of passion.

Ma Sabai's Kitchen

 

BKF: What are the biggest differences to Thai food?

          Growing up to loving both foods, the biggest difference that is noticed in the taste is that Burmese food is salty/spicy rather than sweet/spicy like Thai food.

BKF: What do you think took so long for people in Thailand to become curious about Burmese food. Fermented Tea Leaf salad for example seems to be a request often asked by the Bangkok Foodies.

          KAT: We strongly think it is the cultural difference and not daring to try. But with the ASEAN opened we think it got us all closer and supportive of one another.

          Especially Fermented Tea Leaf Salad I would also say one of a popular request, due to its interesting ingredients like the tea leaf and its the fresh taste of the veggies and nut mix condiments. It is also one of our favorite salads of all time. Kat can eat it almost everyday. She says its the best hangover dish 😛

BKF: Are you taking a modern approach or keeping it strictly traditional?

          KAT: We would say strictly traditional in terms of the cooking process in how Ma Sabai grew up cooking but we would like to vamp up the brand to a more modern approach, using eco-friendly delivery food containers and being an online delivery business.

BKF: Will you adapt ingredients and taste to suit the local Thai palate?

          KAT: This will be homemade in Ma Sabai’s way and recipes from when she was little and started cooking.

BKF: How can we start ordering?

          KAT: We are almost ready!! However we will need to reconfirm the exact date once again. Just a few touch ups and we will be ready to order.

Ma Sabai's Kitchen

 

BKF: Do you deliver to all of Bangkok areas?

          KAT: Yes!! We will be available on LINE MAN so where ever they deliver yes we will be able to go

BKF: What will be on your menu and the price range?

          KAT: TBC

BKF: What do you think will be the feedback?

          KAT: We have been getting great feedback from friends and family already. But obviously we are grateful for all the support we have already received even before the proper launch.

BKF: What do you hope to achieve with introducing Burmese food onto the market commercially?

         KAT: We hope to achieve more understanding to the Burmese and the Southwestern Tai cuisine and a chance for people to explore their taste buds to a more traditional Burmese & Southwestern Tai homecooked food.

BKF: Do you hope to change the opinion of Burmese food in Thailand and how?

          KAT: Yes definitely, we think that Burmese food has been negatively judged without given a chance. However now with the world’s trends, understanding and approval of the Burmese culture, its cuisine is more widely appreciated and consumed. We are very happy to see and grow to become one of the global culinary phenomenon by offering our delivery services and in the near future to expand into the catering business.

BKF: HOW TO ORDER?

          KAT: Please Order via LINE MAN only! 

Ma Sabai's Kitchen

BUSINESS ADDRESS: Ramkamheang 24 – No shop front, Delivery Only
OPENING HOURS: Monday to Saturday 9am – 9pm
BUSINESS CONTACT: 0818200269 soon
EMAIL: masabaiskitchen@gmail.com
FACEBOOK/IG: Ma Sabai’s Kitchen and masabaiskitchen