Geographically, Myanmar is the second largest country in South East Asia. It is the largest among inland countries of ASEAN. Area is about the total area of England and France.
Myanmar is an agricultural country. Ninety percent of the populations are farmers. The main crop is rice among various kinds. Since time immemorial rice was grown on the hilly regions and plains. And rice is used as food in various methods-cook, fry, boil, dry and etc. Snacks are made from grinded rice by using one of these methods.
Rice noodles are given three names according to size. The biggest noodles, which are a bit smaller than Udon, are called Nangyi. Smaller noodles are called Nantay. The noodles like flat noodles are called Nanpya. Salad made of Nangyi is called Nangyi salad. Noodles used in Mohinga are Nanthay (small noodles). These small noodles are eaten with chicken, fish, prawn, fritters and vegetables as salad. The salad is served with thin gravy and is called Motilakthoke. It is common for Myanmar people to eat this noodles salad with soup.
At this point, I would like to explain something about the origin of Mohinga. But I still cannot find exact facts and evidences. But I will give some facts I have studied so far.
There is no written evidence about Mohinga in historical records like stone inscriptions, palm-leave inscriptions and Parabaik (writing tablet made of paper, cloth or metal in the form of accordion fold).
The word Mote was first used in the literature of Konbon period (18-19 century AD). U Pu Nya, a famous playwright of Konbon period wrote "round rings like Motehin ". in one of his plays. Mote is the same as Mohinga. It can be assumed that Mohinga was already in existence in the period. Because Mohinga is called Mote in some regions.
Moreover, a lot of equipment used in making rice powder and dough were unearthed lately. The earliest objects were from Pyu period. Considering this fact, we can come to the conclusion that since the time rice was first eaten there were snacks made from rice and Mote and Mohinga, which were eaten as a substitute of rice. So we can assume that the origin of Mohinga began from Pyu period (1-9 century AD).
I also notice that about selling Mohinga was written in a novel published at the early time of colonial era. Sayagyi U Yan Aung, a noted writer of that time illustrated about people from all walks of life of Myanmar in his novels. A newspaper called Toetetyay carried his novel Anya Tha Galay (young man from upper country). The main character of that novel was a young man who earned a living by selling Mohinga with a Sinehtan (cane or bamboo frame work slung from a yoke to carry things).
At this point, I would like to explain something about selling Mohinga with a Sinehtan.
At the one end of the yoke rice noodles and other ingredients such as chilies, onions, and fritters are neatly put. At the other end a charcoal oven is placed. On it the pot of gravy is put. The hawker sells Mohinga shouldering the yoke, shouting "Mohinga", going street after street. The water to be used for washing the dishes can be asked from the customers and nearby houses. Ingredients of Mohinga in this story were peas, garlic, onions, lemon grass, ginger, soft core and tender layers of stem of banana plant and etc. In that region, fish is not used in cooking Mohinga for it is scarce.
In Southern part of Myanmar, apart from above mentioned ingredients, Ngaiji (small fresh-water catfish Heteropneustes fossilis), Ngakhu (kind of fresh water catfish Clarius batrachus) and Ngapano (small snake-head fish Ophiocephalus punctatus) are used in cooking Mohinga. Although there are many kinds of fish, other fish are not used in preparing Mohinga. The concept of using these fish in Mohinga in cooking gravy was handed down by words. So, it can be assumed that these kinds of fish are the best for preparing Mohinga. And Mohinga can be prepared as vegetarian food.
I once read a cookbook of court of Myanmar monarchs. Although the book carried various kinds of preparing rice, curries and snacks, it expressed nothing about Mohinga. Considering that fact, it did not seem to be a snack for Royal people like kings and queens. But court people would eat Mohinga.
But ordinary people eat Mohinga daily. There is nothing new about it. That is why nobody recorded about Mohinga in written form as a special matter. Therefore there are not any other references for making a guess except some phrases in the play I have mentioned earlier. Mohinga is used to serve the people in various social and cultural gatherings. Moreover, it is easily available, cheap and tasty. And it is served at the special receptions and functions. These days Mohinga is in vogue in Myanmar among both Myanmar people and foreigners.
With beautiful mountain ranges, abundance of natural resources and cultural heritage, Myanmar will never run out destinations. There were a lot of visitors who became to like Mohinga after trying eating it during their visit to Myanmar.
Recently, a competition of Mohinga was held in Yangon. A wide variety of methods of cooking Mohinga was presented and demonstrated in that competition. Recipe for Mohinga contains no chemicals and are natural ingredients. Moreover, it is a healthy food and contains no fat. So, it can be eaten as a diet.
Mohinga shops are opened near clinics and hospitals and sells Mohinga for patients. The patients who have recovered from their illness usually have a desire to eat Mohinga. Everyone can eat Mohinga regardless of race, religion, age and time. That is why everybody likes it. Nowadays, instant Mohinga, which can be eaten with boiling water, is available in Myanmar.
A tourist who ate Mohinga every morning while he was in Myanmar said, "Myanmar fast food Mohinga is healthy one. So, there is no need to sell any European food like hamburgers and hot dogs. More Mohinga shops should be opened."