Burmese Tea

One doesn’t hear a whole lot about Burma, or its name on the map – Myanmar, much less about how they take their tea, but as Eatocracy on CNN finds – there is a thriving tea culture in Burma,

Tea shops are an integral part of daily life across Burma. In the early morning and early evening, groups gather at tea shops to drink, snack and socialize, often for hours on end. A thermos of clear Chinese-style tea comes standard at every table to drink in between cups of milk tea, made heady with a thick pour of sweetened condensed milk. Snacks are either brought to your table automatically or ordered à la carte, and might include sweet sesame seed cakes, fried samosas and crullers or steamed Chinese-style dim sum.

There is burmese tea to be found there. The love of tea doesn’t stop there though – apparently burmese tea lovers not only love to drink tea, but eat it. Lahpet, meaning “wet tea”, is pickled tea served with various other things and is a popular street food. It is often served in a tea leaf salad.

Here is a recipe via Penn Appetit for Tea Leaf Salad, or La Phet Thote

5 garlic cloves, sliced
1/3 cup La Phet (pickled tea leaves)
Peanut Oil
2 tsp Dried Shrimp
1 tsp Toasted Sesame Seeds
2 tsp Fried Yellow Beans
Chopped cabbage or lettuce
3 tsp Chopped Peanuts
2 Roughly Chopped Tomatoes
Lemon Wedge

Fry the garlic slices in a small amount of peanut oil until golden brown. I suggest buying pre-made fried yellow beans though. Add 3 to 4 tsp peanut oil to the La Phet and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes.

Place chopped lettuce on plate and place the La Phet in the center of the plate and then place the sesame seeds, peanuts, tomatoes, dried shrimp, fried yellow beans, fried garlic and lemon wedge around the center of the plate. This can then be mixed at the table. Squeeze the lemon juice on top of the tea leaves and then toss the salad. If this presentation is not desired, feel free to mix all the ingredients in one bowl and toss.

The idea of this burmese tea recipe is something interesting to try. It is one thing to add tea flavor to dishes than actually eating the stuff. It is sure to be an experience, if anything. Maybe it’ll give you some idea what to do with your tea, even if it isn’t pickling it.

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