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Shan State Recipes (Thai Yai); Stir Fried Potatoes with Pork. Great Recipes From Burma (Myanmar)

Updated on September 26, 2008

Hearty Tai Yai Food!

Dicing The Ingredients


A lot of Burmese migrants work as chefs in my restaurant. The political/economic situation in their country has led to an enormous exodus into Thailand, and much of the labor force in this country is in fact displaced workers from more northerly Burma (Myanmar).

Those that work with me belong to the Shan people, which is an ethnic group/nation state within Burma. The Shan living in Thailand will eat Thai food, when it comes to that, but they much prefer their own cooking, and so in the restaurant, over the years, I have enjoyed the daily the aromas of Shan cuisine as the staff prepare their evening meals.

Actually, I have enjoyed more than just the aromas…I have enjoyed the food! - And the recipe that follows is one of my very favorite dishes, and one I request for myself with regularity.

Shan food is great, not well known outside of Burma/Thailand, and recipes of the cuisine are rarely translated into English, and I hope to convince my staff to prepare a number of their favorite dishes as they share these recipes with the world.

I hope you try them and enjoy them as much as I do!

Fried potatoes and pork

  • 1/2 lb of pork shoulder, diced. Any cut will do though…
  • 1 large potato, boiled and diced
  • 1 whole medium onion, sliced
  • 1 large plum tomato
  • 3 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • ½ cup of vegetable oil
  • ¾ tsp of salt
  • A pinch of MSG
  • 1 tsp of dried chili pepper (or 3-4 fresh Thai bird chili peppers)

Easy Steps

  1. In a wok or heavy frying pan, heat the oil over medium (Shan food is not low fat…but you rarely see a fat Shan person!). When heated, add the crushed (not chopped) garlic, and fry for 20-30 seconds, or until starting to color.
  2. Add the onion to the oil, and cook, stirring often, until the onion is well cooked and very soft and sweet. 10 - 15 minutes.
  3. Add in the tomato and stir cooking until the tomato has all but disintegrated into the sauce.

  4. Add the pork cubes and stir cooking until cooked through (only a couple of minutes).
  5. Add in the cooked boiled potato cubes and the chili and stir-fry until heated through and slightly browned.
  6. Season with salt and a pinch of MSG, and taste to adjust the seasoning – adding more salt if necessary.

Serve with rice for a very satisfying dinner for 2 – and one that although comes from the tropics, is rib sticking enough for a cold night anywhere in the world.


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      Sai 5 years ago

      Hi John,

      I hope you are still up for getting more recipes from Shan as we will be looking out for more. Thanks for this recipe.

      An away shan