Who drank the first cup of tea?
Legend has it that almost 5000 years ago Emperor Shen Nung of China discovered tea when leaves from a wild tree blew into his pot of boiling water. He was immediately interested in the pleasant scent of the resulting brew and drank some. How did this discovery make it’s way to Burma?
According to a famous Myanmar poet, Ponnya (1812-1867), the first tea seeds were given to the Palaung people while they were still living in what is now western China over 2000 years ago. It was grown in this region for centuries at it was the Palaung people that began storing the tea in covered pits in the ground to attempt to preserve them for longer. What they discovered was that during the storage the tea would ferment creating pickled tea that was very pleasant to eat.
Since that time the eating of laphet in a salad has become a widely practiced custom throughout Burma. It is used as a welcoming gesture of generosity as well as in traditional ceremonies. The delicious earthy taste of laphet pairs well with vegetables in a salad as it helps bring out the natural flavour and doesn’t overpower it. As Burma has been closed off from much of the world the taste and benefits of pickled tea leaves aren’t widely known. By making the world’s first Tea Sauce I hope to share the magic of pickled tea with the world!