Many people are unfamiliar with traditional Burmese cuisine and, if they were to look through the index in The Burma Cookbook, they'd be forgiven for thinking that some of the dishes listed had inspired kitschy tiki restaurants such as Trader Vic's: the authors even give a recipe for crab Rangoon and pineapple cooler (which they suggest serving with mint sprigs, rather than a colourful paper umbrella).

In their introduction, authors Robert Carmack and Morrison Polkinghorne write, "Myanmar's cuisine and cooking culture embraces aspects from all neighbours while retaining a distinct style unique to Burma alone. From India comes a predilection for dry spices, yet only turmeric and a mild paprika-like chilli powder are ubiquitous … To its east lies Thailand and its chilli-fiery dishes, and vibrantly tart citrus-flavoured salads. Yet in Myanmar, the flavours are less assertive … and likely to be tamed or melded with chickpea flour or ground peanut. Indeed, the popularity of pulses delineates Myanmar's foodstuffs from the Southeast, linking it more firmly westward to India, or to China's Yunnan province to the northeast …

"Burmese fare has long been incorrectly considered Indian-derivative. Yet it has a distinctly different flavour profile and techniques. On top of that, there are the three historic kingdoms of Myanmar: Bamar, Arakan and Mon, plus its patchwork of some eight major national ethnic races, and some 136 secondary ethnic groups, all of which exert influence on the national cookery."

Recipes include tuna tartare; dried fish salad; osso buco curry; mohinga (a fish and rice vermicelli soup that many consider to be Myanmar's national dish); roselle (hibiscus) soup; pineapple and coconut jam; Mandalay festival noodles; tea leaf salad; and Rakhine fisherman's stew.

The Burma Cookbook by Robert Carmack and Morrison Polkinghorne