Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Burmese Tea Leaf Salad

Tea Leaf Salad (La Phet Thote) is a traditional Burmese dish. If you order this in a restaurant it will generally be presented with the ingredients separated on the plate and the waiter will mix it at the table, similar to a traditional Caesar salad. It's a specialty of Burmese restaurants that taunt their American customers with a delicious dish that is incredibly hard to replicate unless you have a contact in Burma who can ship you the pickled tea leaves that are central to this dish. I have tried to recreate this dish as best I can making good use of the local asian supermarket and the wonders of the Internet, and once you've gathered all the ingredients it is a very easy salad to assemble.

5 garlic cloves, sliced
1/3 cup La Phet (pickled tea leaves)
Peanut Oil
2 tsp Dried Shrimp
1 tsp Toasted Sesame Seeds
2 tsp Fried Yellow Beans
Chopped cabbage or lettuce
3 tsp Chopped Peanuts
2 Roughly Chopped Tomatoes
Lemon Wedge

Fry the garlic slices in a small amount of peanut oil until golden brown. I suggest buying pre-made fried yellow beans though. Add 3 to 4 tsp peanut oil to the La Phet and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes.

Place chopped lettuce on plate and place the La Phet in the center of the plate and then place the sesame seeds, peanuts, tomatoes, dried shrimp, fried yellow beans, fried garlic and lemon wedge around the center of the plate. This can then be mixed at the table. Squeeze the lemon juice on top of the tea leaves and then toss the salad. If this presentation is not desired, feel free to mix all the ingredients in one bowl and toss.

Note: You can find La Phet in some Asian supermarkets, but you might have more luck looking online for a Burmese supplier; there are a few that carry La Phet.


  1. Hello Hannah,

    I'd like to talk with you about using your recipe in a book on Cooking with Tea that I'm finishing up. Please email me at crgold@comcast.net at your convenience. Respectfully Yours, C Gold

  2. I can't find ANY online source for laphet. Can you suggest any?

  3. Fish sauce is most important ingredient for this dish. By the way, use cabbage instead of lettuce otherwise you will have watering burmese tea leaf salad.



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