Discovering different styles of Myanmar Tea Leaf Salad

Green tea leaves are much planted in Myanmar, especially in Shan State. There are historical stories of Myanmar and Shan people beginning eating tea leaf salad. When tea leaves are harvested, some  are dried for green tea and  some for drink of tea cup.

 People in Myanmar ferment tea leaves ,which can be used in the famous tea leaf salad “Laphet thoke”. But there are also pickled tea leaves called “A Nyunt”. All are types of Laphet. Would you wonder if Myanmar people eat tea leaf salad in many styles? Yes, there are actually different ways of living according to the local people's creativity.

We can say Laphet thoke is a dressing of Myanmar’s different ingredients. But those ingredients come from different parts of Myanmar. Tea leaves “Laphat” from Shan State, which is in the east of Myanmar. We get fried beans from the middle part of Myanmar where people grow crops. Dried prawns are collected from the  southern sea part of Myanmar. Onions, oil, tomatoes, ginger, spices etc., as well. You can see Myanmar‘s traditional Laphat thoke not only as a colorful plate but also hard work of the locality proving Myanmar. 

Tray of Laphet 

Traditional famous tray of Laphet

A typical tea leaf salad is dressed on a tray of lacquer. There are partitions in the lacquer and ingredients are served separately in a tray. Laphet with fried garlic and fresh garlic, fried peanuts, a mixture of beans, dried prawns, sesame seeds, fresh red tomatoes and lemon.  Usually eaten as a snack after lunch or dinner, kor at ahlu “donation ceremony”, funeral ceremonies and weddings. We can say it is a “Ceremonial style of Laphet”.

Restaurants  in Myanmar also entertain guest with the Laphat  tray. It is eaten after a meal because Laphat has a rich caffeine stimulant which can heal sleepiness and tiredness. You can eat Laphet Salad with tea or some people eat cooked rice mixed with Laphet and together with fired yolk.

Laphet Thoke

What is a Laphet Thoke “tea leaf salad”?

Here, the next style of Laphet thoke‘s constituents are chopped lettuce, chopped tomatoes, laphat (fermented tea leaves), fried peas, roasted peanuts, sesame seeds, chopped garlic, with fresh lime juice. This Laphet dressing is also oil based, mostly with peanut oil. Fish sauce can be added if you like saltiness. Slices of onions are also options.  All of them are mixed properly, it is a “Laphet thoke” tea leaf salad we always call.

People in Myitkyina (northern part of Myanmar) eat adding pea flour. It seems  a little sticky but is quite delicious. There are tea leaf salads which have a lot of tea leaves, also there are many beans according to the different parts of Myanmar.

Laphet thoke as creativity of locality

 In Yangon, there are carts in the evening we can often see. The carts selling Laphet thoke, with hot steamed beans with plucked corn, chopped tomatoes, fried anchovy fish, some chilies, slices of  boiled djenkol beans. They all are displayed with fermented tea leaves. And a kind of warmth we can feel, people buy it as they go home from work, have rice or have it with family, friends.

Corn & laphet salad

       Feeling active whenever we hear the Laphat, Laphet thoke. Such a collection of different tastes, different colors, different places, it is what we aspire to be. Providing unity with many health benefits,we can say it is a wise cultural heritage dish of Myanmar.

      Hope you can feel varied feelings of “Laphet thoke” in Myanmar and can comment  which one is your most favorite one.

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