Fancy Your Tea Pickled?

07Mar07



Originally uploaded by pessoa.

A popular snack in Myanmar (formerly Burma) is pickled tea. Although the Burmese produce green and black tea in relatively substantial quantities (they produce about 90 million kilos of tea annually), the production of pickled tea makes up about 17% of total volume.

Young and old in Myanmar fond of the pickled tea, which is a traditional delicacy. The pickled tea, mixed with fried garlic, sesame and groundnut, is served at merit sharing ceremonies and weddings.
It depicts friendship and hospitality. We invite you to visit our hill ranges where tea is grown. We will entertain you with a plate of delicious pickled tea, which is rich in mixed light sweet and bitter tastes. Source: MT & K Tourism Company.

I grew up eating that magnificent Burmese tour de force, Khowsuey (albeit an Indian variation – *very* popular in Calcutta), so just about anything with fried garlic sounds delicious.

What’s interesting is that apparently (and this is something I did not know), Burma has a native variety of the tea plant called Camellia arrawadimis. However, the same website (Myanmar Tea) says on a different page that only Camellia assamica (the Assam plant) and Camellia sinensis (the China plant) are actually produced. So what exactly is Camellia arrawadimis? I’d love to know.

On the business front, there seems to be growing cooperation between India and Burma now with regards to tea cultivation, which I hope will prove to be a positive development for Burmese tea farmers.

Have any of you ever tried a Burmese tea?

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