I'm a big fan of Burmese tea leaf salad (laphet thoke, lephet thote, lap pat dok, among many other English transliterations), which I first came to know and love at Mandalay Restaurant in San Francisco. But my home in Santa Cruz County, California is too far from the nearest Burmese restaurant to make my craving an easy one to satisfy.
I'm looking for a source of tea leaves (laphet) so I can prepare my own tea leaf salad. I've asked at a couple of Burmese restaurants; at one I was told "We know this Burmese sailor, and whenever he comes to San Francisco he brings us a big supply." Interesting, but not too useful for me, as I don't know even a single officer of the Myanmar Merchant Marine. At another restaurant the staff claimed perfect ignorance of the source of their leaves, perhaps fearing that I was a Treasury agent in search of Burmese trade ban violators.
And so I turn to you, Chowhounds. Can anyone provide a source for Burmese laphet tea leaves? Thanks.