Early in life, Myat Thu knew that his destiny as a cook lay in salads. Not the light, leafy green salads that are so common in American restaurants, but heavy, hearty Burmese salads.
Myat Thu grew up in Burma, also known as Myanmar. He was just 14 when his mother placed him in charge of making dinner. Unsure of what to prepare, he studied the salad vendors on the streets of Rangoon.
When President Obama sets off to Asia this weekend to highlight his so-called pivot to the region, he will make a bit of history: Obama will become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Myanmar.
The country, also known as Burma, was a pariah state for decades, ruled by a ruthless military dictatorship. That is changing, and the Obama administration has encouraged a dramatic reform process in the country. But it may be too early for a victory lap.