Work Stream

Marma Food Festival

Aroyee Chefs Represent Quay Asia in Bandarban

Marma people eat delicious food.

But young Marmas  aren’t learning how to cook their traditional recipes. These days it’s easy to make food using the ingredients you find in every shop like instant noodles.

Marmas use fruits, vegetables and herbs from the forest or from their small garden farms. Some of these are very rare.

Some things like their “fala” are good for your health. And drinking tea made from hibiscus helps with coughs and colds.

At the top of my post you can see a big bowl of hibiscus flowers.

Fala is like ginger and often cooked with chicken. But these days people just use ginger instead because it’s easy to find in the bazar.

Most people from outside the area don’t know these local ingredients.

And so that’s how I found myself at the Bandarban Food Festival. The Himalica Project and the Bandarban Hill District Council organised the event.

I went to the festival with my colleague Kishur Tripura. Kishur, like me, is from Khagrachhari. Here’s a photo of him.

Kishur at the Bandarban Food Festival
Kishur Trying Marma Food

Now-a-days you find more tourists coming to Bandarban. And the idea is to ask local restaurants to put traditional dishes on their menu.

So people visiting can taste typical Marma food. And there might be jobs for young Marma women and men in these restaurants.

At the festival we got to try the very delicious Marma cuisine

I’m a Chakma from Khagrachhari and so I knew some of the Marma dishes and ingredients. But there were a few surprises even for me.

The Marmas eat sticky rice topped with roasted sesame seeds and mixed with shredded coconut as a kind of sweet. We also eat sticky rice as our dessert but we don’t add sesame seeds or coconut.

Kishur said his favourite dish was “mungdih”. Neither of us had ever eaten this.

Mungdih has thirteen ingredients such as sliced boiled eggs, lentil fritter, peppercorns, flat leaf coriander, ground chilli and noodles.

A Marma dish known as "mungdih"
Delicious Mungdih

So what you do is mix your ingredients in a bowl and then pour a broth on top. The broth is made from tamarind, ginger, garlic and onions. It’s really delicious.

I hope that the Marma’s can keep making their traditional dishes. They are really tasty. And they’re made from ingredients that are grown naturally in Bandarban.

So it makes sense to me that they should eat these foods – they are special. Why would they want to eat instant noodles?

By the way, that’s why I like working with Aroyee. We take ingredients from the Chittagong Hill Tracts and make Thai delicious recipes.

Then we serve our clients beautiful dinners. It makes me proud of my home district and our food.

The company sent me to attend the Bandarban food festival. I had never been an official representative before. I was excited. You will know more about the training and support I get in Quay Asia’s next post.

Aroyee Supports Marma Cuisine
Jesmin Speaking at Bandarban Food Festival

From Aroyee

Jesmin joined Quay Asia as a trainee chef in February 2016. She’s now progressed to Junior Chef and hopes to pass an examination early next year to become a Chef with Aroyee.

Aroyee is fine dining in the comfort of your home. A venture facilitated by Quay Asia Ltd.

2 replies on “Marma Food Festival”

Brilliant. Great to hear traditional food being showcased. Old recipes are like treasures and must be preserved. Kudos for this effort and kudos to Aroyee for sending people to experience this. Wish I could go…

That’s a great story. I am really very much excited to know about the different names of the dishes and ingredients Marma people and our indigenous people use……….. looking forward to experience them! Living in the same country but how different food and culture they have! Thank you Jesmin for sharing your experience with us.

Comments are closed.