Today on Friday’s Featured Food we’re off to Myanmar for one of their special dishes. While backpacking there recently it would have been ridiculous not to try a “tea leaf salad”, known locally as Lahpet Thohk. This is very much a local speciality, only found in this form in Myanmar itself. Most local restaurants will have it – ask around. The first place I tried it in was in the small town of Amarapura, near Mandalay. Amarapura is famous for its U Bein Bridge – apparently the longest teak bridge in the world.
What’s in a Myanmar Tea Leaf Salad?
It can vary and there are a lot of online recipes out there – but my advice is just to buy it in a restaurant in Myanmar – don’t try to make it at home. Though for the record, it normally has these things in it: Tea leaves (normally green and dried), nuts, green cabbage, cilantro, chopped ginger, lime juice (squeezed), salt, garlic paste, chopped onions, chillies, peanut oil, garlic, sesame seeds, beans, chopped tomatoes. So in all honesty quite a lot of ingredients. I’ve also heard of some with fish oil and shrimp in it though the one I tried didn’t have that.
How much does Tea Leaf Salad in Myanmar cost?
Don’t pay more than 1,000 Kyat ($1 US) but expect to pay much less – normally 500 Kyat for a decent portion. While this may not be a main meal, it’s totally ideal for lunch. My portion was 500 Kyat.
Where can you get a Burmese Tea Leaf salad?
Most local restaurants in Myanmar will have it. Just ask for an English menu and you can normally find it on there. If not ask for “Lahpet Thohk” and you’ll get it. I first tried it in the town of Amarapura sitting by the U Bein Bridge near Mandalay. Immense. The sun sank shortly after in this remote town by a river.
What was my tea leaf salad in Amarapura like?
I loved it to be honest and I had more tea leaf salad in Myanmar after this. This was a total shock to me as Burmese/Myanmar food is quite frankly awful. Of all the countries I have visited the Myanmar food is probably bottom of the list. Dried peas on stale bread for breakfast? So in my opinion Myanmar food is totally terrible. That’s why I’m delighted to feature Tea Leaf Salad today as it was the surprise in the pack. I ordered it expecting it to be as equally disgusting as my previous Myanmar meals only to find I devoured it.
Watching the sunset on U Bein Bridge, Amarapura after eating my tea leaf salad:
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