Pickled Tea Leaf Rice

Well, here we are, three years after I started this blog, and I am finally getting around to posting the recipe for which it is named. Better late than never, right? Pickled tea leaves are a favorite of mine, and I think there is nothing like them in the world. I am a bit at a loss to describe them adequately. They have the flavor of green tea, with the flavor of fermentation; they are slightly bitter, slightly salty, and they leave a bit of a tangy aftertaste on the tongue for a few moments.…

Traditional Burmese Sour Soup

Traditional Burmese sour soup: it is served in most restaurants, alongside platefuls of rice and little dishes with different curries. You can pour spoonfuls of it onto your rice and mix it with a curry, or you can just drink it right out of the bowl. Usually the restaurant staff will keep refilling your bowl of sour soup unless you ask them to stop; I rarely ask them to stop—such is my love for sour soup. (Ironically, you don’t receive bottomless water when you eat out in this part of the world, you have to order a bottle of it.…

Coconut Milk Noodles

Coconut Milk Noodles

(Ohng No Khao Swe)

IMG_5719

“Coconut milk noodles” – that is the direct translation from the Myanmar name for this dish. A lot of dishes here have simple and sometimes vague names—“Chinese Muslim fried rice”, “wide fried noodles”, “soaked, long and fried”—names which do not always explain the flavor, contents, or texture of the dish. I struggled to give this recipe a proper title in English, afraid that a direct translation of the name would leads you to believe that the noodles themselves are made from coconut milk (which does sound pretty great, actually).…

Beansprouts and Tofu, lightly fried

IMG_5461

I am typically not a huge fan of either bean sprouts or tofu. However, this particular arrangement of the two has become a new favorite in our house. Some days, I don’t get to the market early enough to get the best meat, and some days, I just don’t feel like cooking meat; these sorts of days often come on the heels of meat purchases that proved to be tough and unpalatable. (My last attempt at beef curry involved what must have been a very old water buffalo.…

Burmese Sour Soup

Sour Soup (Chin Hin)

IMG_4823

IMG_4806

When we moved here last January, one of the first dishes I fell for was sour soup. It is served alongside curry dishes at many small curry and rice shops, and you usually are served a bottomless bowl of the stuff. There are a ton of variations on it, and I hope to share more of them with you in the months to come. This soup is called sour soup, but I don’t even know if the English word “sour” would be an apt description for it.

Mundi in the Morning

IMG_2640

 

About one half of a mile from our gate, there is a little shop we like to frequent. It runs out of a tiny street side home with thin metal walls and a corrugated metal roof. The patrons eat outside of this edifice under brightly colored umbrellas. We can tell whether or not it is open as soon as we turn off our street, as the child-sized tables and chairs will be out on the edge of the street, waiting for occupants.…

Why Pickled Tea Leaves?

I first visited Myanmar in 2013, and one of the first dishes I tried was called lahpet tho (click for image) or what speakers of English would call pickled tea leaf salad. I loved it, and ate plenty of it.

There are a variety of ways in which lahpet tho is served, but it is almost always brought to the table at the end of a meal. It will come on a neat little plate with separate piles of roasted peanuts, fried beans, chopped green or red tomatoes, roasted sesame seeds, fried garlic, and of course, the crown jewel: a nice cluster of fermented tea leaves.…