If you drink brewed tea, you will be graceful and your dreams will come true. What a cool!
Ledi Sayadaw U Ñanadhaja (1846 – 1923)
Tea is commonly consumed at social events, and many cultures have created intricate formal ceremonies for these events. Myanmar is one of the few countries in the world that have traditionally grown tea to eat as well. Tea plays a prominent role in the culture and daily life of the Myanmar people.
Tea is not only drunk but eaten in Myanmar. It is called lahpet so (tea wet) in contrast to lahpet chauk (tea dry) or akyan jauk (crude dry) with which green tea—yeinway jan or lahpet yeijan meaning plain or crude tea—is made. Laphet is a national tradition and all special occasions such as festivals and weddings will include it.
Myanmar people believed that tea growing was first initiated and introduced during the Bagan era. Legend has it that King Alaung Sithu, (AD1113-1167) on his majestic royal tour to Namhsan, a small town in Northern Shan State, presented some tea seeds to the local Palaung people in that area.
People of all ages and backgrounds enjoy this tea. Boiling laphet tea is a daily morning routine in most Burmese households and guests can expect to be served a cup while visiting.
In the Shan State of Myanmar where most of the tea is grown, and also Kachin State, tea is dry-roasted in a pan before adding boiling water to make green tea. It is the national drink in a predominantly Buddhist country with no national tipple other than the palm toddy. Tea sweetened with milk is known as lahpet yeijo made with acho jauk (sweet dry) or black tea and prepared the Indian way, brewed and sweetened with condensed milk.
It was introduced to Myanmar by Indian immigrants some of whom set up teashops known as kaka hsaing, later evolving to just lahpetyei hsaing (teashop).
Drinking tea is a national pastime, and teashops are a regular part of everyday Burmese life. In fact, you won’t find such a vast number of teashops and tea culture anywhere else in Asia. Sometimes it seems the vast majority of Myanmar people are drinking tea at any given time.
Different regions also favor different varieties of tea, black, green, or oolong, and use different flavorings, such as milk, sugar or herbs. The temperature and strength of the tea likewise varies widely.
Myanmar's street culture is basically a tea culture as people, mostly men but also women and families, hang out in tea shops reading the paper or chatting away with friends, exchanging news, gossip and jokes, nursing cups of Indian tea served with a diverse range of snacks from cream cakes to Chinese fried breadsticks (youtiao) and steamed buns (baozi) to Indian naan bread and samosas. Green tea is customarily the first thing to be served free of charge as soon as a customer sits down at a table in all restaurants as well as teashops.
Teashops are found from the smallest village to major cities in every neighborhood up and down the country. They are open from the crack of dawn for breakfast till late in the evening, and some are open 24 hours catering for long distance drivers and travelers.
Tea is a refreshing choice with no natural sodium, fat, carbonation, or sugar. When unsweetened, tea is almost completely calorie-free. Some of the other health benefits of tea include promoting proper
fluid balance and heart health as well as cancer prevention. Tea contains naturally occurring antioxidant compounds.
There are a wide variety of tea types and flavors which Myanmar people like. They are the most popular flavors of Myanmar people.
Note: Kyaukpadaung is a town in Mandalay Region and known as the city of Jaggery.
A Great Monks’ Views
Ledi Sayadaw U Ñanadhaja (1 December 1846 – 27 June 1923) was an influential Theravada Buddhist monk. He wrote about tea that “If you drink brewed tea, you will be graceful and your dreams will come true. What a cool!”