Tea Leaf Salad | Laphet Thoke
Updated: Mar 21, 2019
Origin - Myanmar
Laphet Thoke (လက်ဖက်သုပ်) is a Burmese tea leaf salad which consists of fermented tea leaves. Yep you heard that right. Not just your usual dried tea leaves but Laphet Thoke is made with fermented or pickled tea leaves. In fact, the dish is so important to Burmese culture that during the harvest, only the best leaves are kept for fermentation while the rest are dried and made for drinking tea. The fermenting helps to reduce the bitter taste of the leaves.
The traditional tea leaf salad consists of not only the fermented tea leaves but also green cabbage, dried shrimp, tomatoes, peanuts, chilis, fried garlic, and toasted sesames.
[ Fun Fact ]
The tea leaf fermentation process involves briefly steaming them, before packing the leaves into a pit lined with bamboo which are then pressed by heavy weights to encourage the fermentation. The whole tedious process takes about 3 to 4 months.
[ History ]
Historically, in Burma, tea leaves were used as a symbol of peace and were commonly offered as a gift to neighboring kingdoms as a means of settling dispute. Fermented leaves were exchanged or consumed in the presence of the enemy, more often than not, in the form of Laphet Thoke. Nowadays, the dish is eaten as a snack while on the go or offered to guests as a friendly gesture.
[ How to Eat ]Enjoy the combination of textures and savory, salty, and mildly sour flavors by mixing the ingredients together!