Food writer Stefan Gates crosses the border into Burma to camp with the Karen people, who have been fighting against the Burmese military government for nearly 60 years. The government uses food as a weapon to suppress the Karen people by prohibiting farming and confiscating what little food is grown. Rice delivered by Thai charities is the only food that makes it into the villages.
Gates travels with the Karen National Liberation Army to a village in the jungle that is attempting to farm despite the government's repressive actions. The villagers perform a ceremony honoring the harvest, which includes a meal of rice and pork. The Burmese Army loots villages for food when they suspect rebels soldiers are nearby.
Karen soldiers travel with little equipment and use bamboo to make pots and cooking tools. Patrols last for months and the soldiers eat whatever animals they can catch or shoot.
Gates and the Karen soldiers spend their third night in the jungle before reaching a village in the morning. Villagers commonly prepare meals from what they can find in the jungle, such as maggots. The villagers are isolated from basic services like medical care.
Gates leaves the jungle patrol, being given a bamboo cooking pot as a gift. Back in the village, he is given betel nut, a Karen specialty of tobacco soaked in lime paste and wrapped in leaves.
Credits: Cooking In The Danger Zone: Series 2: Burma
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Stefan Gates goes to the heart of the longest running conflict of modern times, in Burma. Surviving off the land by eating jungle animals, he spends a week with the Karen villagers and rebels as they scavenge and hunt to stay alive.
Length: 30 minutes
Copyright date: ©2007
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