Shwe yin aye — literally, something that cools and refreshes — is probably just as effective on a Yangon street as it was on a blacktop schoolyard.
Sticky rice, gels of coconut and assorted colorful agars, and scissor-snipped white bread were drenched in several ladles of coconut milk and tapioca (or perhaps sago) pearls; durian optional.
Several years ago this annual festival migrated from the Lower East Side to a slightly more shaded schoolyard on the Upper West, while maintaining a varied menu that always offers something new. At the most recent celebration I scarfed down a simple yet stunningly good plate of pork and seafood noodles, advertised by a sign written with Roman characters, Burmese script, and (at upper left) a telling emoticon. Also shown: steamed rice cakes with black sesame seeds, which were cut to pieces and dressed with coconut and syrup. For more photos of savories and sweets from multiple festivals, see the slideshow.
ThinGyan Association Burmese New Year Water Festival
P.S. 9 playground, 100 West 84th St. (Columbus-Amsterdam Aves.), Manhattan
(The 2014 festival was held on July 27)