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Rakhine Traditional Ngapi

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Jun 29, 2008

From Van Sa Rakhita Magazine, Volume 1- Issue 3 2008 January by Aung Zan

Fish paste of "Ngapi"(ငပိ) is very common in Myanmar. But the way it is prepared may vary from place to place. In lower parts of Myanmar, "Ngan Pyar Ye"(ငံျပာရည္) is extracted before "Ngapi" is made. But in Rakhine Land, the people don't extract fish-sauce from the paste. Therefore, Rakhine traditional "Ngapi" are more sticky and carder than the Burmese.

Rakhine traditional "Ngapi" are prepared in the cold season when the air is less humid than rest of the year. Much water from the "Ngapi" need to be evaporated from it so as to last longer, especially till the end of the rainy season. Little shrimps and fish called "Mhyine Shay"(မွ်ိဳင္ေခ်) and "Mhike Kay"(မႈိက္ေက) are dried in the sun for a couple of days and then pounded. Such process is done during the day when the sun is hot. It is usually carried out by damsels in fishing villages. There are many folk songs leading to the skimming of fish and pounding them into "Ngapi". Good Ngapi depends on the pounding as well as the type of fish and shrimps.

There are two types of "Ngapi", "Mhyine Ngapi"(မွ်ိဳင္ငပိ၊ မွ်င္ငပိ) and "NgaNgapi"(ငါးငပိ). The taste differs, but the choice depends on the users. But the main point in making "Ngapi" is, it must be free from sand and dust. "Mhyine Ngapi" is usually pinkish in color and "NgaNgapi" are bit gray.

Rakhine people use "Ngapi" in all their fish and vegetable curries. Fish or vegetables which cannot be cooked with "Ngapi" are considered as untasty. Due to this, some fish like sardines and tuna are unpopular among the Rakhine crusine.

Best "Ngapi" fetch good price among the town and city dwellers. On the other hand, the inferior quality are eaten by poorer inhabitants living in the country or in the hills.

Nobody knows how "Ngapi" came into use. It can be traced in China, the whole of South-east Asia and some parts of Bangladesh. It may first come into use when people started to think preserving fish was scarce.

"Ngapi" being made from shrimps and little fish is rich in protein. With all the bones pounded together, it contains calcium, iodine and phosphorous. As it sends out putrid smell, some westerners may dislike, while eating it. As for most Rakhine fish as well as vegetables cooked with "Ngapi" is their tradition and specialty.
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ငါးပိအေၾကာင္း Details ေရးထားတာ အင္တာနက္ေပၚမွာ ေတာ္ေတာ္ေလး ရွားပါတယ္။ ဒါ႕ေၾကာင္႕ 2008 ခု ဇန္န၀ါရီလထုတ္ ၀ံသ ရကၡိတမဂၢဇင္းပါ ေဆာင္းပါးရွင္ ေအာင္ဇံရဲ႕ ရခိုင္႕ရိုးရာ ငပိအေၾကာင္း ဖတ္ရႈႏိုင္ေစဖို႕ ေ၀မွ်လိုက္ပါေၾကာင္း။

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ငါးပိကို ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံတြင္ မည္သည့္ အခ်ိန္မွ စတင္စားေသာက္ခဲ့ေၾကာင္းကို အေသးစိတ္သိလုိပါသည္။

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