Mont di is a collective term for Burmese cuisine dishes made with thin rice noodles. The vermicelli is used fresh, as it ferments quickly in Myanmar’s tropical climate. There are a number of dishes and the Rakhine mont di of the Arakanese from western Myanmar is the most popular. Mandalay mont di is another well known dish.
Rakhine mont di is the most popular dish in association with the Rakhine people. It is a semi staple dish of the Rakhine State. It comes in two forms: salad or soup.
The soup is the more common version, in which rice vermicelli is mixed with a thin soup made of dagger tooth pike conger, called thinbaw htoe in Arakanese, nga shwe, Rakhine ngapi and lemongrass. Dry roasted pike conger eel flakes, fried onion and garlic, fresh coriander, red and green chili paste are added. It is also called arpu sharpu which roughly means ‘hot throat, hot tongue’, due to the green chili paste. Some add fried pulverised nga phe and pork rind.
In the dry salad form, the same ingredients are mixed into a colourful combination. The green chili paste gives the white rice vermicelli a slight greenish in colour.
Mandalay in Myanmar
Mandalay is quite different from Rakhine mont di. It uses meat instead of marine fish, as Mandalayis an inland city located in Central Myanmar. The meat is cooked as a sauce and added to the noodles like a salad. Another difference is that larger rice noodles is used instead, similar to nan gyi thoke.