Miang is a Thai snack made from fermented wild tea leaves wrapped up tightly into a chewable pouch that packs a caffeine buzz stronger than a cup of coffee. A bag full of these energy-boosting, antioxidant-rich treats only costs 5 baht (15 cents).
Miang (mee-yang) is loaded with caffeine from wild tea leaves, so you’ll get a quick buzz of energy after chewing on it for a few minutes. And because miang is loaded with antioxidants, it’s said that chewing it everyday will make you appear younger (many elderly Thai people chew on miang regularly).
This energy-boosting treat originated in northern Thailand near the Burmese border. To make miang, wild green tea leaves are mixed with salt and left to ferment in a jar outdoors. In the north of Thailand and in Laos, farmers and hill tribe folk often chew on this stuff for energy while working on the mountainous hillsides.
How to Chew Miang
Chewing this weird Thai snack is kind of similar to chewing tobacco, except it’s actually beneficial to your health. Place the tea leaf pouch in your cheek and suck on it for a while. Once it starts to dry up, you can chew on it to derive even more of the green tea antioxidants and caffeine. It’s edible, so swallow it once you’re finishing chewing.
I tried it myself when a Thai friend offered me some “Thai chewing gum.” My face immediately puckered up and I almost spit it out. The flavor is bitter as all hell. Some experienced miang makers prepare the fermented tea leaves with coconut shavings and ginger slices to counterbalance the bitterness.
Once the caffeine buzz kicks in, you’re golden. It’s a great rush and a quick pick-me-up when you’re feeling drained. If you come to northern Thailand, pick up a bag of miang and try it for yourself. Just be ready to pucker your face up.