The Taste of Laphet: History, Flavour and Benefits
The history of laphet, also spelled lahpet, dates back over 2,000 years in the Myanmar region. Unlike other countries, which solely consume tea leaves in drinks, Myanmar both eats the stuff, too. A 2015 article, entered into the Journal of Ethnic Food, explains that “apart from the drinking form of tea, fermented pickled tea, the so-called laphet, is another form of tea leaf that is habitually eaten in Myanmar.”
There is a common saying in the area: of all the fruit, mango is best; of all the meat, pork is best; and of all the leaves, lahpet is best.
Perhaps one of the reasons why this delicacy, laphet tea, is consumed so excitedly is the complex, delicious flavor. During the 3 to 4 month process, naturally occurring microbes ferment the tea leaves, creating unique flavour profiles. After the fermentation process, those same tea leaves, now resembling pulp, are combined with minced garlic, ground chilli, salt, lemon juice and peanut oil – often with small quantities of other seasonings – in order to establish a wonderfully rich and appetizing laphet.
The people of Myanmar has found all manner of usages for this super food, both for snacks and meal times, but perhaps the most famous is the lahpet thoke, a tea leaf salad. In fact, the nation has long been known for its delicious and remarkably healthy salads.
Short of actually travelling across the globe, you may be left wondering exactly where to buy an amazing laphet flavour. You can easily replicate the mesmerising taste of the dish by finding inventive products that follow these ancient traditions, like Mimi’s Laphet Tea Dressing, the first saucy tea dressing… and try it you should, for significant health benefits as well as delicious flavour.
Mimi’s dressing has 53.2% less calories and 89.1% less sugar than comparable Balsamic Vinegar products, without sacrificing brilliant taste, created by mixing earthy green tea, lime, sesame, garlic and chilli.
Plant-based and gluten-free, Mimi’s Laphet Tea Dressing contains tea leaves grown and prepared in Burma, but is mixed and bottled in Victoria, Australia. In essence, the product combines authentic ingredients and customary methods with the convenience and familiarity of a salad dressing.
Green tea has gained celebrity status in the food world, thanks to then numerous benefits. According to a 2010 article in journal Chinese Medicine, “green tea consumption has been linked to the prevention of many types of cancer… [and] may reduce the risk of many chronic diseases… In particular, green tea may lower blood pressure and thus reduce the risk of stroke and coronary heart disease.”
Historically, fermented tea leaves were known as peace symbols and, for tribes in conflict, used as peace offerings. Perhaps it’s too surprising when we consider the naturally calming influence a cup of tea has over us. Perhaps, then, learning from other cultures and using tea leaves in your meals, making your own laphet salad with Mimi’s Laphet Tea Dressing, is just as worthwhile, too.
If you’d like to learn more about the history of Laphet, check out the full article in Journal of Ethnic Food. For more information on the potential health benefits of tea, go to this 2013 article in Current Pharmaceutical Design.