Burmese food at Lahpet in Hackney [London]

I love Burmese food and was very excited to see the menu at Lahpet in Hackney. We booked a table last weekend and it was a great experience – definitely recommended if you like Burmese food.

The tea leaf salad was probably the prettiest presentation I’ve seen, with big lumps of multi-colored tomato. I had mixed feelings about the tomatoes – the tea leaves were whole and some bites of the salad were all tomato, no leaf, which was a shame because I love the prominent earthy, funky flavor of tea leaves paired with the crunch of nuts and pulses. More crunch + more leaf, please.

Coconut noodles with chicken was rich and gravy-like sauce with a hefty amount of chicken thigh and a boiled egg. My husband loved the slow-braised pork belly with crackling and fermented soy bean sauce.

Lahpet is in residence at Tuck Shop, a coworking space in Hackney which is available for desk rental on weekdays, so the restaurant is only open at night and on weekends. I’m not sure how long they’ll be there, but if you like Burmese food, it’s worth going.

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Hmmph, I never had a tea leaf salad that had quantity of tomato to the point that I remember the tomatoes. Set aside the bites with no leaves and all tomatoes, how do you think the prominence of tomatoes in a tea leaf salad?

I was thrown! I actually had to look up a picture of the tea leaf salad at my favorite place, Mandalay in San Francisco, to see if there were any tomatoes in it at all. In this photo of the Mandalay salad, they’re there, but not prominent (so much so that I don’t even remember them!). The Mandalay salad is almost mulch-like in appearance when blended, which might put off people who are unfamiliar with tea leaf salad, but the flavor was extraordinary.

Whereas here is my London tea leaf salad:

I think the big tomatoes perhaps look more salady and welcoming to people who haven’t tried it before (and given the number of Burmese restaurants in London, one might assume that many/most people haven’t had it?). Also, I’d guess that the tomatoes are a practical (and cost-saving) addition, abundant in the UK.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

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