Burmese tea shops are the epitome of social life in Myanmar. You can find all types of people conversing over many snacks from nuts, to soups, to my favorite the rotti, and of course the famous sweet creamy Burmese tea. It is constantly alive and bustling with young children no older than 15 years old running around screaming orders for the customers needs. People will smile and greet you with their red betel stained teeth curious a lot of times where your from and what brings you to this part of the world. You immediately feel as if you are at home and welcome by all in these intimate street stalls.
Like coffee shops in the US they all have there specific setup such as low or high top seating and various types of cigarettes or cigars that they sell by the stick. Almost all are open air with some sort of roof be it tin or tarps to protect from rain and you can always find it crowded from 5am till close at 7pm or later. Families gather with there children for a mid afternoon snack and tea break from the hectic day of work and kids gather after school for a soda or glass of fresh milk. It is an oasis and pleasant break from a bustling city most of the time. A sanctuary of sorts to gather ones thoughts and get the days gossip from the neighborhood.
It is an intoxicating experience and really exposes you to the typical Myanmar even if it isn’t in direct communication. I can only imagine this ritual has been instilled for thousands of years in this culture. I picture peace talks and very important conversations on Burmese politics being made at these establishments realizing that no matter how different ones tribe or religion may be everybody slows down for a good cup of tea. The typical tea is always free and unlimited, but the sweet tea is my favorite made with special milk (condensed milk usually) and everybody has there favorite mix that the serving boys memorize overtime which leaves a sense of comfort.