The Unique Flavors of Burma

Ashley Chan | July 20, 2022

If you like spicy and savory foods, look no further than the cuisine of Burma. More popularly known as Myanmar, the biggest mainland country in the Southeast Asia region, Burmese food is notable for its curries and seafood dishes. Although, what many people may not know, is that tea plays an essential role in their culture.

Tea was popularized in East Asian countries like Japan and China, which are often recognized as the origins of the earthy and herbal drink. However, unlike most countries, Myanmar has incorporated tea not only as a beverage but also into its dishes. Lahpet (fermented tea) is a delicacy that is the star ingredient in one of Burma's most traditional appetizers- Lahpet thoke (fermented tea leaves salad). Made with green tea leaves, the healthy and delicious salad is rich in antioxidants and fresh vegetables. This 2,000-year-old dish is a symbol of peace and is often given to guests as a gesture of hospitality. As every recipe is, the preparation is unique based on every family. It can be served with each ingredient individually separated, or mixed homogeneously. Some of the main ingredients include lahpet, sesame seeds, roasted peanuts, split peas, tomatoes, cabbage, garlic, and chilies, and all topped with a hint of lime. It may not be your traditional lettuce and spinach salad, but it is just as good. If you're looking for something different, tangy, spicy, and earthy, this dish is for you.