We have a long list of things to do before we leave [IN TWO WEEKS OH HEAVENS]. Some of the list are must do's (like get Hamish's immigration status taken care of. Ahem.). Other things are a wish list. On the wish list: dinner at the Burmese mall. I'd heard about it a while ago but it came up again when my colleagues were in town. And we finally got it checked off!

Singapore supposedly hosts the largest Burmese population outside of Myanmar and one of Singapore's many malls, Peninsula Plaza, has several Burmese shops and restaurants in the basement. The signs outside of many of the shops were in the Burmese language/script.

Inle Myanmar Restaurant had been recommended (and is right at the base of the escalator), so we went there and ordered a spread:
  • a selection of fritters (tofu, gourd, onion and pennywort); 
  • shan khua hswe, sticky noodles with pickled vegetables, sesame seeds, and chicken 
  • butter chicken curry with rice
  • and the pièce de résistance: pickled tea leaf salad (the green salad piled in the bowl)
Everything was good, but my boss had RAVED about the pickled tea leaf salad he'd had before in the US, and this was worth the enthusiasm. Tea is common in Myanmar and pickled tea leaf salad, or lahpet, is a core Burmese dish. Pickled tea leaves--young tea leaves fermented in bamboo vats--serve as the base along with sesame oil, garlic, chili, tomatoes, shredded cabbage, peanuts. ginger, and maybe more. The fermented tea give it a great umami flavor--almost as if there's some really good Parmesan in there. But I'm pretty sure there's not. 

The traditional way to serve it is in a round, segmented dish with the tea leaves in the center and the other ingredients around the perimeter and mixed at the table--maybe similar to the Chinese New Year blessing salad? Inle has it that way, but our server suggested the pre-mixed salad for us. Better for you, he said. Though we were unsure if he meant the mixed salad is actually better? Or that he doubted our personal salad-mixing-skills.

I'm not sure how much of what I eat Hamish gets to enjoy, but we'll go ahead and give her credit for this. She has such an international palate.