I’m hoping to buy some lahpet to make my own tea leaf salad at home. It’s been a while since I’ve purchased any Burmese tea leaves in a grocery store. I remember that New May Wah in the Richmond used to sell packages of the leaves. Does anyone know if they still do? Would also be interested in East Bay or SE Bay (e.g. Fremont, Hayward) that sell them. Or other places in SF.
I’m ideally looking for the packaged versions that are on the shelf at room temp (as opposed to in the fridge or pre-packed with salad ingredients). Last time I really checked was pre-pandemic, and pre-coup (in Burma), so not sure how available they are these days.
Thanks in advance for any updated info!
You can find laphet packets in the Southeast Asian grocery stores along International Boulevard, I’ve seen them there even post-coup/post-pandemic. I think International Lao Market had a good selection of laphet on sale, while Mithapheap had just one brand (it was a good one, though!)
You can also get the Burma Superstar version of the dressing at Berkeley Bowl.
Thank you so much – I’ll check out International Lao market and Mithapheap! And I’ll report back if/when I find it.
I finally had a chance to check out both of these stores. Thanks again for the recommendation.
First stop was International Lao Market – they had two kinds of laphet. One was a 10-pack of the small bags on the right hand side of the photo, with the label “Hot and Sour” and with the cartoon characters. The other only came in a big box, and I didn’t buy that (and didn’t take a picture). The man at the store was very nice and helpful (though he didn’t know much about Burmese products), and it’s a cute little store. Not surprisingly, seemed like they had more specialities geared toward Lao food. I bought the pack of fried chilies that’s in the picture, and they are really tasty. They’re surprisingly not spicy – seems like they took mild chilies and de-seeded them before frying w/ lots of sesame seeds. Crunchy and addictive.
After stopping by here, I went around the corner to Mithapheap. Also received a warm welcome and helpful service from the ladies who work there. Their Burmese products are a bit less organized and spread out, and I was able to buy individual packs of laphet for $1 each. They had the same “Hot and Sour” brand I had already purchased, but they also had another brand that I bought to do a taste-test. This store currently has many types of seedlings of different Asian vegetables, and they also had a good fruit selection. It’s a bigger store with more variety than I remembered (last time I was there was probably 7 years ago). Among the Burmese products was the large bag of crispy fried beans. Both types of laphet that I bought come with the beans, but it’s nice to have these extras for making other types of salads. I haven’t opened them yet though, so can’t comment on how they are!
I did do a homemade-tea-leaf-salad taste test a couple nights later, using cherry tomatoes, cabbage, and the packs I had purchased. The “Hot&Sour” brand with the cartoon characters was, to my taste, much better. The leaves were in larger pieces, and it wasn’t too spicy or salty. Meanwhile, the other brand was more mushed up, and also much stronger in taste (both sour and spicy). I felt it had too much additives, and also was simply too spicy for me. I’d rather stick to the plainer brand, and then I can add my own fish sauce/chili to taste.
So, overall, this was a useful adventure and I really appreciate Adesh_Thapliyal for the advice!