Fermented tea leaf, pickled tea leat
Local name
Miang-dorng Miang-faat Miang-prieo
Fresh leaves of the tea plant: Camellia sinensis (Chaa).
Fish normally used:
Fermentation: 3-4 months.
Storage life: 3 months.
Production: Small scale industries in the North.
Properties: Yellowish green with characteristic aroma and astringent taste for Miang-faat but sour taste for Miang-prieo.
Lactobacillus sp.
1. The tea leaves for production of Miang are picked 4 times a year, from April to May, June to July, August to October and from November to December. The leaves are tied into small bundles of about 300 grams each. The bundles must be steamed at once to ensure the quality of the Miang. The steaming takes two hours or more, during which the colour of the leaves change from green to yellowish green. If the leaves are not steamed properly they spoil and turn brown. (The steaming destroys the enzyme which oxidises polyphenol compounds into aflavin compounds which cause the leaves to turn brown.).
2. After steaming, the bundles are untied to cool them and retied carefully to hold them together during fermentation. They are then carefully packed in a cement tank lined with bananal leaves and covered with banana leaves or a plastic sheet. The covering helps to exclude oxygen which encourages the development of yeasts and spoiling of bacteria. Large stones are placed on TOP to maintain the pressure. Exposure of Miang to air may also cause the leaves to turn brown. For Miang-faat, fermentation takes about 3 months. For Miang-prieo the preparation of the leaves is the same as that for Miang-faat, except that in the fermenting period, water is added to fill the tank and exclude the air. The fermentation takes place under anaerobic conditions and is mature in at least 4 months.
3. After fermentation, the Miang is packed in woven bamboo basket-like containers lined with banana leaves or a plastic sheet. It stays fresh for about 1 month.
Miang is eaten with salt or with condiments such as roasted peanuts, roasted coconut, shredded ginger, syrup or tamarind juice. The Northern Thai people, especially in villages, chew Miang daily mainly after meals.