Burmese for fermented or pickled tea, lahpet is something of a national delicacy in Myanmar. In the past, it was traded as a peace offering between warring kingdoms and today is still offered when settling disputes.
Lahpet is traditionally made by steaming fresh tea leaves before drying or fermenting them. The leaves are then heaped together into a pulp and placed in bamboo baskets, which are then put into pits and weighed down until ready.
The end result is a pickled tea that is slightly sweet and sour in taste and leafy in texture. While used in a number of dishes, the most popular is lahpet thohk, a pickled tea salad often accompanied by a cup of green tea. Sounds lovely, doesn't it?
Want to experience the flavors of this popular Burmese delicacy? Here’s a good version that’s a bit quicker than the conventional method.
How to Make Pickled Tea (Lahpet)
- Place 1 cup (250ml) vinegar, ¾ ounce (20g) green tea (We use Sencha Sunrise), and 1 cup (250ml) water in a pan over medium heat.
- Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Drain, rinse and discard any hard pieces. Squeeze out excess liquid.
- Blend with 5½ tablespoons sesame oil, 4 tablespoons peanut oil, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, and 2 chopped garlic cloves. Stir in 2 tablespoons lemon juice.
- Serve and enjoy. Your pickled tea can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
Fun fact: There’s a saying that demonstrates the importance of laphet in Burmese culture: “Of all the fruit, the mango’s the best; of all the meat, pork’s the best; of all the leaves, lahpet’s the best.”
For more tea-inspired recipes, click here.