Hong Kong-Style Milk Tea

Milk tea is a famous drink here in Hong Kong. I like this type of strong and smooth tea very much.
Not every coffee shops / chàh-châan-têng or street food stalls (or cooked-food stallls) / daaih-pàaih-dong can make a good milk tea. I like comparing not only the flavour but also the presentation of milk teas.
The proportion, quality and type (red and black) of tea leaves used in the preparation as well as additional "secret" ingredients make all the difference between a good and excellent tea . It is said that egg shells or even a little bit of brandy are sometimes added in!  It is also said - as a joke - that the best teas are those strained through "used" ladies tights (sî-maht / silk socks).  Anyway the recipes are a secret.

The tea, which is kept hot in a boiler, is made on order and the brew is poured over 2-3cm of evaporated milk. The latter brings smoothness to the tea and lightens its dark reddish-brown colour whereas the quality of the brew gives its strong and specific flavour.

A pineapple bun is a good match for your milk tea and a good start for the day.  I found a blog this morning with an article written by a guy obviously missing his bô-lòh-bâau a lot explaining how a pineapple bun should be! Beautiful descriptions!  If I ever find his blog again I will add it here.  (www............).  A warm cocktail bun / gài-méih-bâau (bun with a moist coconut filling) is also a very tasty addition to a milk tea. But I will say no more about Hong Kong style buns in this post and will write another article later.

The quality of evaporated milk also alter the overall flavour of the milk tea.

You might or not add sugar in it.  I personally don't. Some places offer a choice of granulated brown and white sugar in individual packages on the tables. Others have a metal sugar bowl with a spoon. Sometimes, if the spoon has touched the drink and got wet, it is coated with dried sugar and it does not seem so "clean" to use. You understand now why I learnt to have my milk teas without sugar and always have them unsweetened!

I like the stainless metal tumbler in which milk tea is served at Pandaria Cake Shop. Their teas are quite smooth and not too strong. First I found the feeling of the metal on my lips a bit weird. Now I don't mind it and like holding the metal tumbler. Although it looks heavy with its thick rim it is light (hollow). The double wall tumbler is good at keeping the hot drink hot longer.

Milk Tea at Pandaria Cake Shop (Science Park)

Ideal match for a smooth milk tea: a pineapple bun
Milk tea in plastic glass at Fresh
A few days ago I had a late breakfast at Fresh (see above pic.) with a hot milk tea. The tea was served in a blue plastic tumbler (and a beige plastic coffee spoon). I will rank the quality of this milk tea as below average. However, I had the same breakfast and milk tea before served in a ceramic cup and it tasted much better. It is said that drinking wine in the right wine glass changes the taste of the wine. Similarly, I believe that drinking in a plastic glass does not give the best flavour to the tea.  I don't like milk tea served in plastic glass.

Black & White evaporated milk

One of the best milk teas in town is Tsui Wah's. There, the milk tea is served in a funny ceramic cup (see pic. below). This kind of happy-looking cartoon-like face can only make me smile. The warm orange-brownish colour reflects the quality of the brew and quantity of evaporated milk. Besides, the thickness of the ceramic cup, the saucer, the metal tea spoon, and also the atmosphere of the restaurant make my tea drinking even more enjoyable.

Milk Tea at Tsui Wah

Read more>> on my blog dated May 24, 2011