Totally untrue. The food is delicious and because I’ve never eaten anything like it before, I have to try everything. Sorry, stomach. Here are some of my highlights.
Tea leaf salad
Myanmar is one of only a few countries where tea is eaten as well as drunk. As soon as they are picked, the leaves are steamed, pressed, rolled, packed and then weighed down and left to ferment for up to 2 years.
The fermented leaves are then eaten in a variety of ways including sugared as a snack, or in tea leaf salad (pictured above).
This delicious salad contains (in addition to the leaves) fried garlic, toasted sesame and pumpkin seeds, fried yellow split peas, peanuts, fresh tomato, dried shimp and green chillies. It is dressed with fish sauce, peanut or sesame oil and lime juice. Some days I’ve eaten it for both lunch and dinner.
The salad is called lahpet but can also be written in English as laphat, laphet, lephet, leppet or letpet.
Ordering a traditional curry is very exciting because you are also presented with a set of side dishes and condiments, the nature of which is a mystery until they arrive (and sometimes after they arrive).
They can include a yellow split pea dhal, cut vegetables, green tomato salad, pickled eggplant, dried fish, ground dried fish, pickled mango, fermented soybeans, and many other possibilities.
In addition there is always a soup and steamed rice. My favourite curry is one containing whole hard boiled eggs in a spicy tomato sauce.
Burmese tea is strong and black, served with a dollop of condensed milk. In the morning, tea houses serve it with a variety of snacks such as sweetcorn fritters, pork buns, samosas, chapati, naan, something resembling a doughnut and various types of cake. Green tea is always served as well.
Each tea house is different so again these are a mystery until they arrive.
When we leave Myanmar it’s going to be very boring to order something from a menu and receive only that 🙁