From boiled catfish soup to spicy fried frog, an eight-year-old in pyjamas and a chef’s hat is delighting Myanmar with her culinary prowess in a nation still being told to stay at home due to the coronavirus pandemic. Moe Myint May Thu’s mother posted a video online at the end of April showing off her daughter’s skills as the youngster threw together some spicy fried prawns. With her wide gap-toothed grin, the video has bounced across social media and brought stardom to the child along with an online moniker: “Little Chef”.
She now sells dishes to order — and is counting the dividends. “I just love cooking,” she tells AFP, during a break from the kitchen in her family’s Yangon flat. “It’s made us happy cooking together in the lockdown,” she says, adding she wants to translate her childhood passion into a career when she grows up. In her most popular video, which has nearly 200,000 views, the young star wears a unicorn-themed T-shirt as she gives instructions on how to make Myanmar breakfast favourite Mohingya, concocted with boiled catfish. Moe Myint May Thu has mastered 15 dishes, including tomato fish paste curry, pork stew and spicy fried frog.
Each meal sells for a flat-rate of 10,000 kyat ($7.20) and is delivered by the family at the end of each day, the whole operation under the guidance of the experienced hands of her social influencer mum, Honey Cho. The business venture is clearly paying off. One posted video shows the youngster feeding a pile of 10,000 kyat notes into her musical moneybox, cash she hopes to put towards a puppy. “It makes me very happy to see so many people from Myanmar and other countries sharing her videos,” says her mum, adding that her daughter’s self-confidence has increased.
The celebrity chef’s clips were initially posted on her mum’s social media pages, but have now gone live on her own Facebook account, gaining 8,000 likes in just four days. “She is so adorable that I keep losing attention and have to watch her videos again,” fan Pohnt Pohnt comments. Moe Myint May Thu plans to keep cooking until school starts in August, two months later than planned due to the coronavirus pandemic. Commercial capital Yangon is returning to normal despite authorities still urging people to stay at home. Myanmar has recorded 228 cases of the virus with six deaths.—AFP