Burmese salads
Laphet thoke.JPG
A serving of laphet thoke (pickled tea leaf salad) before mixing.
CourseSnack, Entree, Side dish
Place of originMyanmar
Associated national cuisineBurmese cuisine
Serving temperatureCold or room temperature
Main ingredientsVarious
Similar dishesThai salads, Vietnamese salads
This article contains Burmese script. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Burmese script.

Burmese salads (Burmese: အသုပ်; transliterated athoke or athouk) are a diverse category of indigenous salads in Burmese cuisine. Burmese salads are made of cooked and raw ingredients that are mixed by hand to combine and balance a wide-ranging array of flavors and textures.[1] Burmese salads are eaten as standalone snacks, as side dishes paired with Burmese curries, and as entrees.[2] The iconic laphet thoke (fermented tea leaf salad) is traditionally eaten as a palate cleanser at the end of a meal.[3]

Ingredients

A street vendor preparing tophu thoke (tofu salad).
A street vendor preparing tophu thoke (tofu salad).

Burmese salads are typically centered on one major ingredient, ranging from starches (e.g., rice and noodles) and cooked ingredients (e.g., Burmese fritters and proteins) to raw fruits and vegetables. Common starches used in Burmese salads include rice, egg noodles, rice vermicelli, rice noodles, and potatoes. Burmese salads may also feature raw vegetables and fruits, such as tomatoes, cabbage, onions, kaffir lime, long beans, and mangoes. Fermented ingredients, including lahpet (pickled tea leaves), ngapi (fish paste), pon ye gyi (fermented bean paste), and pickled ginger, also feature prominently in several classic Burmese salads.[4]

The salad ingredients are dressed with various seasonings, including chili oil, garlic oil, and sesame oil, toasted chickpea flour, lime juice, fish sauce, tamarind paste, peanuts, and fried garlic, and then thoroughly mixed by hand.[1][3] Aromatic fresh herbs like coriander, mint, lime leaves, and green onions are also used to garnish Burmese salads.

List of Burmese salads

Samuza thoke, made with chopped pieces of samosa and a light curry broth
Samuza thoke, made with chopped pieces of samosa and a light curry broth

While the repertoire of Burmese salads has not been codified, Burmese salads are invariably suffixed with the word "-thoke" (သုပ်; lit.'to mix by hand') in the Burmese language. Burmese salads are typically named after the salad's central ingredient (e.g., pomelo, ginger, etc.). Common Burmese salads are listed below.

Fermented products

Pickled tea and ginger salad served in a traditional Burmese lacquer tray.
Pickled tea and ginger salad served in a traditional Burmese lacquer tray.

Vegetables and herbs

A plate of myinkhwaywet thoke featuring raw pennywort leaves.
A plate of myinkhwaywet thoke featuring raw pennywort leaves.

Fruits

Thayet chin thoke, a fermented green mango salad with onions, chilli, roasted peanuts, sesame and peanut oil
Thayet chin thoke, a fermented green mango salad with onions, chilli, roasted peanuts, sesame and peanut oil

Seafood and meat

Rice and noodles

A plate of khauk swe thoke (noodle salad)
A plate of khauk swe thoke (noodle salad)

Other

Shan tofu salad as served in Yangon, Myanmar
Shan tofu salad as served in Yangon, Myanmar

Regional adaptations

Cambodia

Mee kola
Mee kola

Mee kola (Khmer: មីកូឡា or មីកុឡា), commonly called Burmese-style noodles, is a Cambodian noodle dish that originated among the Kola people, who originally descended from Burmese migrants to Cambodia's northwest.[21] The noodle salad consists of steamed rice vermicelli, cooked with soy sauce and garlic chives, and served with pickled vegetables (e.g., papaya, carrot, and cucumber), hardboiled eggs, sweet garlic fish sauce, dried shrimp, and crushed peanuts, and garnished with lime and chili flakes.[22][23][24] The dish has become a popular street food in Cambodia.[23]

India

Following the 1962 Burmese coup d'état, over 300,000 Burmese Indians returned to their ancestral homes in India.[25] Many refugees settled in the port city of Madras (now Chennai), where a community around Burma Bazaar in George Town formed.[26] Burmese Indian refugees there became street hawkers, selling a dish locally called atho (அத்தோ), which is an adaptation of khauk swe thoke, the Burmese noodle salad.[26] Atho is a mixture of noodles, shredded cabbage and onions garnished with tamarind, salt, fried onions, chili flakes, garlic and ajinomoto seasoning.[27][28]

See also

References

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