Than Than is a little grocery store along the Yarraman train station line on 236 Railway Parade in the South East suburbs of Noble Park. It is part of a small strip of shops that carry ethnic products.
I was told about the whereabouts of this shop by a friend a few years ago when I was looking for some Burmese fermented tea leaves. Fermented tea leaves you say ? Yes, to make a Burmese fermented tea leaf salad called Lapethoke. Needless to say, it is an acquired taste, much like eating mouldy blue cheese. However, the taste is far from being alike.
Pre-packed Lapethoke with all the necessary ingredients. All you have to do is mix together and enjoy.
One can make it from scratch as you can buy all the ingredients from Than Than's shop, but they also have it pre-packed with all the ingredients one needs packaged together, along with a separate packet of the tea leaves that is already seasoned. You can buy 10 individual serves for $10 or you can buy larger pre-packaged packs.
Than Than is filled with not just Burmese products, but also groceries from other asian countries like India, Thailand etc.
I come here frequently to buy Burmese hot chilli sour plums, another favourite of mine, and a few other snacks or 'sweets' as I call them. Its pretty normal for an Asian after meal snack to be savoury and hot rather than sweet.
Myanmar's national dish, Mohinga can now be bought pre-packed.
On the shelves I noticed a package containing what seemed to be a pre-packed kit for making Myanmar's national dish, Mohinga. Sacré bleu, what next? I had to buy one to see if it turns out well, but have not cooked it yet. I hope it does, because the pre-packed Lapethoke is amazingly good and addictive, hmmm... or is that the tea?
Traditionally, Burmese curries did not contain curry powders.
I also had a little discussion with Than Than about the curry powder as traditional Burmese curries never use curry powder. They would spice the curries with natural fresh ingredients like lemon grass, chillies, shrimp paste, fish sauce, fresh coriander and so on.
Than Than has always been in business. Her reasons were simple. Coming in as a refugee with her husband and children, they knew it would be difficult to get jobs with the level of education they had, so they decided to have their own business to bring in an income. It did not just happen - it took many years of hard work in cleaning jobs since they arrived in Australia 18 years ago. They lived in Canberra for eight and a half years, but found that expenses were too high for them to cope and decided to move to Melbourne. She and her husband have had the Asian grocery store for four years.
Thank you Than Than, for your grocery store where I can buy all the yummy Burmese snacks and Lapethoke, and I wish you every success and lots of customers.
A small strip of shops on Railway Parade in Noble Park.