Asian Dishes

A Burmese Delicacy: Laphet Thoke

A Burmese Delicacy: Laphet Thoke

Now and then, many of us will enjoy a refreshing cup of green tea. However, did you know there’s a country where many people ‘eat’ green tea leaves regularly? The Burmese dish “laphet thoke” translates to English as “green tea leaf salad”. It claims to be the only culinary dish in the world that uses (fermented/pickled) green tea leaves as its main ingredient. The unconventional salad is a staple, available at almost every food stall and restaurant in the country. As a rival to mohinga, laphet thoke is widely regarded as the national dish. The Burmese have been enjoying the spicy, tangy, earthy-tasting salad for more than five centuries.

Photo credit: Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In ancient Myanmar (Burma), the dish was traditionally served as a symbolic peace gesture between warring factions. While it was once served as a palate cleanser at the end of a meal, it is now eaten as a snack, side dish or entrée. As well as the essential pickled tea leaves, laphet thoke has several other key ingredients. These are finely chopped tomato, thinly sliced cabbage, fried peas, crushed roast peanuts, toasted sesame seeds, dried shrimp, ginger and garlic. The salad dressing is usually made from peanut oil, fish sauce and lime juice. The dish can be served as a platter or plated with the ingredients already combined.

Here’s a simple-to-follow recipe to make the tangy, sour-tasting, delicious salad:

Laphet Thoke (Green Tea Leaf Salad)


¾ cup drained fermented tea leaves (shop bought or homemade)
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
3 tablespoons roasted peanuts
1 tablespoon fried garlic (thinly sliced)
1 tablespoon fried yellow split peas (soaked overnight)
1 tomato (sliced into thin wedges)
2 tablespoons dried shrimp floss
1 cup of cabbage (thinly shredded)
1" piece of ginger
1 Thai chilli (optional)


Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon peanut oil

Mix all the ingredients thoroughly together and then drizzle with garlic oil to finish.


Header Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Leave a Reply

Skip to toolbar