Mimi and laphet
I grew up in Yangon, Myanmar before I moved to Australia, Sydney. Most Sundays when I was in primary school, my mom gathered up her brother and sister families for monastery trips in regional Yangon. With all the children between 3 families, 14 people in where 9 children are squeeze into 2 Toyota corollas for road trips. After 45 min to an hour drive, crowd is pretty hungry when we get to monastery, especially us. Monks there are already expecting their regular crowd with a bowl of tea leaf salad and some maria biscuits. The salad didn’t last long with hungry children, it all finished within minutes. It was always like that throughout my childhood as my mom is always up for donations for different reasons in different festivals or occasions. We went to many different monasteries in different parts of Myanmar to help out the communities and people in need. Every time we arrive, a bowl of laphet was greeting us though they were prepared by different people and variation.
This is how exactly I remember my childhood, fun, heart-warming, adventure, summer, generosity, road trip and laphet thoke (tea leaf salad). Many years later, I prepare laphet thoke in different variations for different occasions and it still can warm my heart up very much. In the bowl, there is fermented tea leaf, a couple of fried lentils and legumes like split peas, peanuts, sesame seeds, pepita, sunflower seeds, flat beans, garlic chips, broad beans sometime some sun-dried shrimps. At homes, laphet thoke is prepared as a mixed salad paired with more green such as shredded cabbage, tomatoes, boiled corns, raw garlic and chillies. When I developed Mimi’s laphet tea dressing, I capture the same fresh and natural taste the way I remember, based my dressing on local farm produces for freshness and source the best quality fermented tea from tea growing region from Burma to keep it authentic and best quality.
Now when you visit Yangon, former capital city of Myanmar, you can find laphet thoke carts in china town. It is widely common wherever you travel Myanmar at tea shops (they called cafe tea shops) and street vendors.