After one month living in Myanmar I am gathering my first impression of the tea culture here. For a tea sommelier it is truly a dream come true. Tea is present in every aspect of life and is by far the most important drink after water here.
The very first impression you get is the street tea culture as it is present in many Asian cultures. Myanmar people are fans of Indian Style tea with a big dollop of condensed milk with sugar.
Everybody has their own preference, some like it sweeter or less sweet, stronger or less strong. If you are a frequent customer to a particular tea stall, the tea barista will know your style and prepare according to your liking.
All over the city and most dominant in the downtown area, little colorful plastic chairs await their customers. Just order a small snack like a samosa and tea will automatically be served, normally Chinese style light green tea. In the canteen in my work place at WFP, big thermos jugs are on each table filled with light green tea and cute little small tea cups in order to enjoy a few round of tea.
So far I have run into two tea houses, The Acacia Tea Salon and the Rangoon Teahouse. I immediately fell in love with the Acacia Tea House as it reminded me of my regular joint, Babbingtons in Rome and this tea house has every chance to be that place in Yangon for me.
The food range is amazing from light French to seafood and pasta dishes. A traditional high tea is offered as well as an extensive tea menu. A separate blog on this tea house is well deserved for this restaurant. The staff is very friendly and the flow of tea is almost unlimited as new hot water arrives once the tea pot is finished. The tea house also sells an exquisite line of loose leaf teas mainly from China and Japan.
The other Tea house, Rangoon Tea House is located in the touristy downtown area and serves traditional Myanmar food. Tea is here not only on the menu as a drink but has found its way into the food and the deserts.
Here is where I first tried an important dish from the Myanmar cuisine, Lapeth thoke. It is a salad with lots of crunchy things and pickled tea leafs, a very tasty dish. No visit to Myanmar is complete without having tried this amazing salad.
I am looking forward to exploring this amazing tea culture and sharing my most interesting finds with you. As we have a bit more space in our Yangon house than in our Rome apartment, Ms. Tea has agreed to dedicate one room of the house as a tea room. In my mind I am already designing it and it will be a wonderful social and meditation room for our family and guests. Can’t wait to share with you the final result…