I’ve read a lot about milk tea in Hong Kong – and coming from the UK, it did not sound special to me. In the UK, almost everyone drinks tea with milk (on a side note: I remember the confusion when I asked my colleagues what tea they would like to drink, as I was making a round of tea for them. They said white tea – so the first time I heard white tea, I was looking for special green tea in the kitchen. Of course, my colleagues laughed! They told me they wanted to have normal tea with milk. How could I have known that white tea is tea with milk and black tea is tea without milk! Obvious, of course, but only to the English).
On Monday I asked my Hong Kong colleagues about this special tea – they smiled and said I should try it, it’s famous and can be drunken hot or cold. Ok, so I tried it today (we went to a local place for lunch and had rice with BBQ pork – the set menus often come with milk tea) and I decided to go for the warm option. The tea arrived (the English would say: ‘a strong brew’) and I noticed some very thick milk – I tasted it and said: ‘ah condensed milk!’.
How wrong I was – it’s not condensed milk. It’s evaporated milk – according to Wikipedia, that’s a huge difference and what makes this tea so special! The use of evaporated milk instead of milk and sugar, gives the tea a richer feel. It’s nice, but it’s bitter without sugar – and with sugar it feels as if it is already half a meal. I can see how people can have this in the afternoon (as a snack) – but not together with lunch. It’s a bit too much!
Here’s me with cold milk tea and tapioca pearls – yummy, but almost a full meal in itself.