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La Phet Thote (Fermented Tea Salad)

dawn.1o9's picture
One of the famous side-dishes of Myanmar is la phet thote. La Phet means pickled tea leaves and thote means salad. So if you translate in English, it'll be "Pickled Tea Leaves Salad".
Ingredients
  Laphet 5 Teaspoon (fermented tea leaves)
  Garlic 2 Teaspoon (crispy fried)
  Crispy fried yellow beans 2 Teaspoon
  Roasted peanuts 2 Teaspoon
  Sesame seeds 1 Teaspoon (toasted)
  Chopped tomato 1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs)
  Chopped cabbage 1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs)
  Dried prawns 1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs)
  Peeled garlic 1 Tablespoon
  Green chili 1 Tablespoon
  Lime juice 1⁄2 Teaspoon
  Peanut oil 3 Teaspoon
Directions

First, put laphet (fermented tea leaves) into a bowl. If you want your laphet to be spicy, pound la-phet and green chili together in a mortar. It'll became a paste. Pour 3 teaspoons of peanut oil. Leave it for awhile so that laphet can soak up the oil.

Put in crispy fried garlic, crispy fried yellow beans, roasted peanuts and sesame seeds in the bowl. Mix them together. You can also add chopped tomato, chopped cabbage, dried prawns, peeled garlic and green chili as you like.

Put 1/2 teaspoon of limejuice, and some fish sauce to your liking.

(Another way)

Some people don't like mixed laphet thote. So what you can do is put crispy fried garlic, fried yellow beans, roasted peanuts and salad separately in a flat dish. Mix laphet and oil together (adding lime juice and salt as seasoning) and put them in the plate. The eater can take a little bit of each with his spoon and leave out the parts that he doesn't like.

Recipe Summary

Difficulty Level: 
Very Easy
Cuisine: 
Asian
Course: 
Appetizer
Taste: 
Savory
Feel: 
Velvety
Method: 
Blending
Dish: 
Salad
Interest: 
Everyday, Healthy, Quick
Preparation Time: 
10 Minutes
Servings: 
1
Story
The making of the pickled tea is abit complicated. In Myanmar, the steamed leaves are heaped together in a pulp mass and thrown into basket and left until the next day. The baskets are then put into pits in the ground and covered with heavy weights placed on top of each. Inspection is often made to see how fermentation is progressing and sometimes there is re-steaming . There are pickled tea leaves brands such as Pin Pyo Ywat Nu, Yuzana, A Yee Taung, etc. There are also different sorts of la-phet. There's one type of laphet called "shuu-shel" which is a descriptive word of the condition of your mouth when you eat that extra-spicy la-phet. Another type is chin-set, which means spicy and sour. In this recipe, you gotta have some fermented (or pickled) tea leaves. I don't know how to make one myself, and I just buy ready-made fermented tea leaves.
Subtitle: 
Fermented Tea Salad

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17 Comments

shantihhh's picture
This amazing "salad" is one of the most unique dishes I have ever eaten anywhere (I have traveled to 70 countries including China many time, Thailand 30+, and so on) and have only found this in Myanmar. I have read that laphet orginated with the Shan people so perhaps in parts of Thailand and Yunnan where there are Shans it could be eaten. In Mae Hong Song area of Thailand there are many Shan who excaped from Myanmar. Unknown to many in the west the Shan state was separate before the military take over of the government. The term "Shan" is believed to be a Burmese variation on "Siam," which surely indicates that the ethnic Burmese believed that the "Shan" were a Thai (Tai) people. The Shan language shares many commonlities with the Thai language. Efforts by Shan and other ethnic leaders to negotiate with the Burmese government for more equitable rights for their people ended abruptly with the coup of 1962, when the army led by general Ne Win seized power in Burma (Myanmar). Since then, successive military regimes have ruled the country, refusing to relinquish power. In the elections of 1990, the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) won the second highest number of seats nationwide after the National League for Democracy, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, but the army refused to honour the results. Members of the SNLD have since suffered harassment in the same way as other opposition party members. We all pray one day the Shan state wins it's due freedom!!!
shantihhh's picture
This amazing "salad" is one of the most unique dishes I have ever eaten anywhere (I have traveled to 70 countries including China many time, Thailand 30+, and so on) and have only found this in Myanmar. I have read that laphet orginated with the Shan people so perhaps in parts of Thailand and Yunnan where there are Shans it could be eaten. In Mae Hong Song area of Thailand there are many Shan who excaped from Myanmar. Unknown to many in the west the Shan state was separate before the military take over of the government. The term "Shan" is believed to be a Burmese variation on "Siam," which surely indicates that the ethnic Burmese believed that the "Shan" were a Thai (Tai) people. The Shan language shares many commonlities with the Thai language. Efforts by Shan and other ethnic leaders to negotiate with the Burmese government for more equitable rights for their people ended abruptly with the coup of 1962, when the army led by general Ne Win seized power in Burma (Myanmar). Since then, successive military regimes have ruled the country, refusing to relinquish power. In the elections of 1990, the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) won the second highest number of seats nationwide after the National League for Democracy, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, but the army refused to honour the results. Members of the SNLD have since suffered harassment in the same way as other opposition party members. We all pray one day the Shan state wins it's due freedom!!!
shantihhh's picture
This amazing "salad" is one of the most unique dishes I have ever eaten anywhere (I have traveled to 70 countries including China many time, Thailand 30+, and so on) and have only found this in Myanmar. I have read that laphet orginated with the Shan people so perhaps in parts of Thailand and Yunnan where there are Shans it could be eaten. In Mae Hong Song area of Thailand there are many Shan who excaped from Myanmar. Unknown to many in the west the Shan state was separate before the military take over of the government. The term "Shan" is believed to be a Burmese variation on "Siam," which surely indicates that the ethnic Burmese believed that the "Shan" were a Thai (Tai) people. The Shan language shares many commonlities with the Thai language. Efforts by Shan and other ethnic leaders to negotiate with the Burmese government for more equitable rights for their people ended abruptly with the coup of 1962, when the army led by general Ne Win seized power in Burma (Myanmar). Since then, successive military regimes have ruled the country, refusing to relinquish power. In the elections of 1990, the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) won the second highest number of seats nationwide after the National League for Democracy, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, but the army refused to honour the results. Members of the SNLD have since suffered harassment in the same way as other opposition party members. We all pray one day the Shan state wins it's due freedom!!!
shantihhh's picture
Don't know why it posted 3 X sorry.
shantihhh's picture
laphet is what I have always seen written, but it is pronnounced la-p-h-et. The p and a breathy h sound are very typical in SE Asia. For instance the River Phyra is not fyra, but is pronounced p-h-rya. Very difficult concept for Westerns. Many of the sounds in Thai and other SE Asian languages like Laotian and Burmese have sounds we don't have so to get the correct sound letter combinations are used. For instance the dt and gk sounds. Example: Dtom yum Gkoong (hot & Sour Shrimp Soup). Lahb Gkai is another where some say and spell laab or larb gai, but to get the real sound it Lahb Gkai. BTW this is a popular chicken salad in Isan, which is often spelled Isarn, Isaan, or ? Even in SE Asia signs in English will use different spellings for the same street/soi name. Of course then there is the 5 tones of many Asian languages, but that enters a difficult thing for most Western ears. These letter combination sounds can make very important differences as a word can hv a totally different meaning LOL I have made that mistake for the Thai word for banana spelling it phoentically wrong VBG BTW I think the writer above, Dawn lives in Buma/Myanmar. We have at least 3 that I know of from Myanmar here!
ZAungZ's picture
Hi there just wanted to correct the same old misinformation that pervades the web on the topic of the Shan . This misinformation is predominantly Thai driven and is wholly inaccurate and it's surprising to see it even on some innocuous food blog . Firstly Shan isn't from Siam for many reasons I won't go into , it's improbable . The term has been in use in |Burma before the area known as Syam had any brush with Tai invaders from the north . The Thais / Siamese propagate this misnomer to justify their Tai-ness and have somewhat of an identity crisis . Secondly the Shan states have been tributary states with direct and indirect central control from Burmese kingdoms since the first Burmese Empire of the 11th century . This included various allegiances and marriages between Burmese royalty and Shan aristocracy ( with the Shan the majority of the time siding with the Burmese against either Siam or the Laotian kingdom of Lanxang . The region was semi-autonomous until the British merely introduced very centralised government after the annexation of Burma into British India but was not separate . If you want separate , then do people in the west know that North Thailand ( Chiang Mai and surrounding areas ) was a separate kingdom that was part of Burma until the late 18th century? Probably not . Sorry for the rant but please keep one sided political propaganda out of food blogs .
ZAungZ's picture
Hi there just wanted to correct the same old misinformation that pervades the web on the topic of the Shan . This misinformation is predominantly Thai driven and is wholly inaccurate and it's surprising to see it even on some innocuous food blog . Firstly Shan isn't from Siam for many reasons I won't go into , it's improbable . The term has been in use in |Burma before the area known as Syam had any brush with Tai invaders from the north . The Thais / Siamese propagate this misnomer to justify their Tai-ness and have somewhat of an identity crisis . Secondly the Shan states have been tributary states with direct and indirect central control from Burmese kingdoms since the first Burmese Empire of the 11th century . This included various allegiances and marriages between Burmese royalty and Shan aristocracy ( with the Shan the majority of the time siding with the Burmese against either Siam or the Laotian kingdom of Lanxang . The region was semi-autonomous until the British merely introduced very centralised government after the annexation of Burma into British India but was not separate . If you want separate , then do people in the west know that North Thailand ( Chiang Mai and surrounding areas ) was a separate kingdom that was part of Burma until the late 18th century? Probably not . Sorry for the rant but please keep one sided political propaganda out of food blogs .
ZAungZ's picture
Hi there just wanted to correct the same old misinformation that pervades the web on the topic of the Shan . This misinformation is predominantly Thai driven and is wholly inaccurate and it's surprising to see it even on some innocuous food blog . Firstly Shan isn't from Siam for many reasons I won't go into , it's improbable . The term has been in use in |Burma before the area known as Syam had any brush with Tai invaders from the north . The Thais / Siamese propagate this misnomer to justify their Tai-ness and have somewhat of an identity crisis . Secondly the Shan states have been tributary states with direct and indirect central control from Burmese kingdoms since the first Burmese Empire of the 11th century . This included various allegiances and marriages between Burmese royalty and Shan aristocracy ( with the Shan the majority of the time siding with the Burmese against either Siam or the Laotian kingdom of Lanxang . The region was semi-autonomous until the British merely introduced very centralised government after the annexation of Burma into British India but was not separate . If you want separate , then do people in the west know that North Thailand ( Chiang Mai and surrounding areas ) was a separate kingdom that was part of Burma until the late 18th century? Probably not . Sorry for the rant but please keep one sided political propaganda out of food blogs .
shantihhh's picture
ZaungZ My post was not a political rant as you have accused. I am a great supporter of the Burmese people! If the historical information is incorect I thank you for factual corrections. My comments about the Shan people also being in Thaialand and China was simply an observation and wondering if this unique fermented tea leaf salad might be also eaten by Shan people in those areas as well, a mere speculation from a foodie not a political rant. I know the history geographically of this area very well, and yes the borders certainly have changed over the centuries. For instance Isaan was actually with Laos in times past. All borders of the world have changed over the centuries and actually many still are changing. Nothing in my post was of a political stand other than my hope for the Burmese people to be free. If that is what you object to-so be it, but I pray one day things greatly improve for the wonderful people of Burma/Myanmar. I want to learn more of the strong and wonderful Burmese and their fabulous cuisine. Please understand my comments as they were meant and not with a hard heart. Please tell us more of Burmese cuisine and the cuisine of the Shan. I would love to learn more for sure.
ZAungZ's picture
ooops i've posted x3 as well , sorry for rant ,didn't mean it that way . it's just that i get tired of seeing the same stuff written on the web . it's almost cut and pasted . The problem is ( and you'll find Lao and Khmer posters feeling the same as me ) that Thailand has become so successful at promoting its culture to the west that it has effectively rewritten local history to suit itself . anyway enough of that . I'm a foodie too that's why i'm here and as far as i know lahpet is not available in either North Thailand or Yunnan . It may have originally been Shan ( which makes a lot of sense given tea is grown mainly on the plateau ) but it's considered very "Burmese" . Similarly I consider myself very "Burmese" although what i eat is probably more Shan and Yunnanese - i'm about 3/8 Shan and 3/8 Yunnanese.
shantihhh's picture
So is there any place in the US to buy fermented tea leaves? I am crazy for Laphet/lafet as I was corrected? Isn't the ph prounced p and a softer breathy h sound? rather than f sound of west? I just want to prounouce it properly, as it is the most amazing "salad". Actually isn't it often offered to guests? It was offered to us many times and you took some of the ingredients offered and made your own taste. This is simply a wow of flavours and textures-indescribable!
meemalee's picture
Hi ZAungZ! Are you the same ZAungZ who's subscribed to my dad's Youtube channel (Wagaung)? Welcome - I'm new here myself :-) Shantihhh - you said: "laphet is what I have always seen written, but it is pronnounced la-p-h-et. The p and a breathy h sound are very typical in SE Asia. For instance the River Phyra is not fyra, but is pronounced p-h-rya. Very difficult concept for Westerns." That's what I mean though. I mean, I know how it's pronounced, I'm Burmese - but it impedes understanding for anyone who's not Burmese who will automatically think that "PH" equals "F". Yes, the P is aspirated, but the best way to denote this (as far as I'm concerned) is "HP". Giving another example, a cousin of mine has the first name "Hpone" which she used to spell "Phone" as is the convention, until (non-Burmese) people kept asking her why her parents had named her "Telephone" ... I can't understand how or why these spellings have come about - it's not like we use the roman alphabet ourselves in Burma - we only transliterate to English so people who know English can understand how things are pronounced so it looks like we've missed the point somewhere!
shantihhh's picture
Many languages have different sounds for letters than in English which is a harsh and gutteral sounding language at best. The j in Spanish and also Serbo-Croatian is a y sound. My sil's name is Sejo pronounced Se-yo, but few say it properly unless spelt Seyo. Language is a complex study, as even in what is considered the English language, which has become the language of commerce in much of the world is not the same language as spoken in Australia or or the UK. It can be fun learning the variances even in English. We in the US do not have the finite tonal differences that occur in many Asian languages. So many languages to me are melodic like Malayalam which is a very quickly spoken language. I also think many variances in transliterating to English occur both from the speaker and the listener. So many variables and thus confusions which most likely are quite innocent and never meant to be an affront. Communication is always about what the other person hears and at best we often error on our end. I know I certainly am not a linguist, just a foodie who loves to learn of other cultures via their cuisines. I always try to learn some words in every language of countries we travel in. Do I pronouce them properly? Of course not, but I do try and I feel that honours the culture that I care enough to try and learn. Our western ears are not tuned to the tonality of many languages. Anyway, I still want to know if anyone knows of a US source for fermented tea leaves. I am all about good eats, as they say!
tatatizia's picture
Thank you very much for this recipe. It's great! I also would like to know if there are some sellers online to buy this fermented tea.
shantihhh's picture
Sources in San Francisco Bay Area Good Luck Yogurt 2217 Newpark Mall (upper level, next to Mervyn’s) Newark, CA 94560 (510) 745-7788 Burma Star corner of Clement Street and 4th Avenue, in the Richmond District http://www.burmasuperstar.com/ I do not know of any other sources outside Myanmar. We brought some back and it is simply a delightful salad, also snack. http://www.myanmartea.com/myanmarteaknowledge.htm Shanti/Mary-Anne
Johnlusf's picture
Two questions. First, how much chopped tomato or chopped cabbage should accompany the rest of the ingredients if one chose to include tomato and/or cabbage. Second, how should the pickled tea leaves be stored once the package is opened? Store it in a jar? and put it in the fridge? ziplock? Thanks!
Burmese Gril's picture
I am burmese and grew up eating this dish . . . you must use FISH sauce, not SOY sauce! :)