“Kya Zhan Athoke” — Burmese Glass Noodle Salad

I decided to try a recipe from the Motherland 🇲🇲 called “Kya Zhan Athoke”. An “Athoke” is a Burmese Salad — but unlike typical western salads that consist of greens, some form of acid and some form of fat, burmese salads are so much more than that. You can find almost anything in a burmese salad; the only consistent thing seems to be that they are made by hand and at room temperature (i.e. no cooking).

There are many types of Athoke and you can find a list of them here (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_thoke). A “Kya Zhan” Athoke (“Ky” in Burmese is pronounced like the English “Ch”) is a salad made with Glass Noodles or Cellophane Noodles.

In Malaysia, Glass Noodles are are known as “Sohun” and available at most grocery shops and supermarkets. It should not be confused with “Bihun” or Rice Vermicelli — Sohun is made from starch, whereas Bihun is made from rice.

What I enjoy about Kya Zan Athoke is the explosion of contrasting flavours. You have the smoothness of the noodles, the heat from the chilli oil, and even flavours like saltiness and sourness are each provided by two different ingredients, creating variations in the taste of each mouthful.

My mum has made “Kya Zhan Athoke” many times, but since we are once again under Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) and I had to make this on my own, I was guided by a YouTube Video from SS&P which I recommend watching.

I could understand a few Burmese key words but was mostly guided by the onscreen English labels and eye-balled the rest. Therefore my quantities are more the Malaysian style of “agak-agak”, i.e. here or there. But with this kind of food you often end up tweaking the result by adding more of a certain ingredient until yoo get it to taste exactly as you want.


There are quite a number of ingredients to prepare. Actually, since there is no real cooking involved, almost the entire recipe is prep work.

Into a large mixing bowl, layer the ingredients, starting with the sohun and potatoes; then the garlic, pounded dry shrimp , pounded peanuts, coriander, belachan, chilli oil, chicken powder, 2½ tbsp tamarind juice, 1½ tbsp fish sauce, green chillies, lime juice (I ended up using 2 limes).

Then use your hands (which is a requirement for Burmese Lethoke !) and mix the ingredients well. If you’re preparing this dish for many, it is better to use plastic gloves, but since I was just doing it for myself, I got the full sensory experience with bare hands.

Taste the result … and add more ingredients to get the right balance you desire.

The final result …

Serve on a plate or bowl, ensuring each serving has a good mix of ingredients. I just ended up eating it directly from the mixing bowl and finished the whole lot!

Originally posted on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/shahada/posts/10158079952528178

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