Chan Son / The Irrawaddy

Preparing Southeast Asian Snakehead

Chan Son The Irrawaddy

As in other parts of Southeast Asia, snakehead (Nga Yant in Burmese) is a popular freshwater fish known for its sweet and tender meat. It can be eaten in various ways, from curried with seed pods to stir-fried. The dried snakehead slow-roasted in a charcoal stove over a small fire and then pounded and soaked in peanut oil is a traditional food consumed with white rice across the nation. It can be enjoyed with simply a pot of green tea as well.

On the beach of Satkalay Village in Kyimyindaing Township across the river from Rangon, the whole process of preparing these snakeheads unfolds. Women slice the fish that come from fish farms and rivers in neighboring Bago and Irrawaddy divisions. They remove the offal (the intestines of Nga Yant is another popular delicacy) and spines before the meat is dried in the sun. Afterwards, slices of meat are roasted, pounded, packed and delivered to supermarkets.