The favorite smoke on the streets of Myanmar is what they call a cheroot. It’s a small handwrapped hybrid of a filter cigarette and a cigar, costs about ten cents at almost any food stall, and smokes in about 20 minutes.
Now, we have been known to try a cigar occasionally. And we found out about the local cheroots on our first day in Myanmar, at a street noodle stall in Yangon. There one of the sous-chefs was smoking one, saw us eyeing itt and offered another to us. You should know how difficult, if not impossible it is to find a cigar in SE Asia. People just don’t smoke them in the other countries, so maybe you could find a ridiculously expensive one at a resort hotel or those stinky Dutch Masters cigarillos. Anyway, once we were offered a cheroot, it was hard to refuse. And it was pretty good, like a mild and pleasant Dominican one.
Many days later, we saw them being made, and I am pleased to report that the cheroot is not only much more complicated to make than a cigar, which is usually just a few tobacco leaves rolled up, but all the cheroot’s many components are fully organic. Here is the recipe:
- Prepare chopped tobacco
- Mix in a variety of natural flavorings if you prefer, usually anise or mint
- Roll up 5 tobacco leaves on a stick
- Fill the tobacco leaves with desired quantity of chopped tobacco
- Brush prepared rice paste as glue on the leaves and roll around the chopped tobacco
- Attach a filter made of corn husks spiced with tamarind and pineapple
- Cut the filter to the right size
- Attach a rice paper band
- Light it up.
So, go organic; try a cheroot.
(We’ve slow internet access for now, so no pictures available, but CLICK HERE to view a slideshow of previous pictures from Myanmar at the end of the Myanmar itinerary page.)