Today’s dish of the day is a sweet, thirst-quenching drink that has been getting plenty of attention and modification. You may know it as milk tea, teh susu or just as the name here suggests – Nanyang Milk Tea.
In any case, these drinks all refer to the same thing. Milk tea itself is pretty straightforward – you can picture it as a serving of tea sweetened with some milk! If you are visiting a local kopitiam, you will definitely see Nanyang Milk Tea or its variations in the menu.
What is Nanyang Milk Tea
Nanyang Milk Tea is a type of sweetened red tea prepared using the ‘teh tarik’ method in Malaysia and Singapore.
The resulting taste of all that mixing and pulling is a beverage with silky smooth texture. Often, you’ll find that this tea is best enjoyed with some fresh toast while chatting, making this drink a popular one among the elderly in Southeast Asia. This drink is often served in kopitiams, and you can find them everywhere!
The base of Nanyang Milk Tea, red tea, can be bitter when served on its own. This is why fresh milk was added to the drink in the first place! With the addition of milk, the resulting flavour is one that is more pleasant to the palate of those who prefer their drink to be less bitter.
Nanyang Milk Tea can also be made with non-dairy creamers to replace the variety of milk used to make this drink, so you don’t need to worry about lactose intolerance getting in the way of your enjoyment of this drink.
Nanyang Milk Tea can be served hot or cold, making this drink a sweet and cooling option on a hot day, and a delicious, warming beverage on a cold one.
History of Nanyang Milk Tea
With Nanyang Milk Tea so heavily based on the tea-pulling method, you’ll have to trace its origins back to the Indian Muslims in Peninsular Malaysia who came up with teh tarik in the first place.
While its predecessor was prepared with black tea and condensed milk, Nanyang Milk Tea is a mixture of red tea with normal milk. You also won’t find so many frothy bubbles on Nanyang Milk Tea because the tea isn’t mixed around as much as teh tarik would be.
There is also an interesting bit of history about how milk came to be added into tea in the first place, and this story started in the 17th and 18th century where china cups were a little too fragile for the heat from freshly-boiled tea.
In order to overcome this problem, cold milk was added into the cup first to cool the liquid before the tea is even poured in! With this simple addition, the china cups no longer crack from the heat, and a sweet beverage was created.
Types of Nanyang Milk Tea
Today, there are so many different types of Nanyang Milk Tea! In Singapore, for example, you’ll find variations with some grass jelly in it, topped with cream, with boba pearls and many more.
Even in the basic mix itself – milk and tea, there are many variations. You can use red tea or black tea; condensed milk, powdered milk or fresh milk. There are just so many variations to play around with that you never know if it’s really Nanyang milk tea!
You can even find Nanyang milk tea being sold as an instant tea beverage in some online stores today. However, it is actually its sister product, Nanyang coffee, that is more popular as of late.
Where to Find Nanyang Milk Tea in Malaysia
Want to enjoy some Nanyang Milk Tea straight from the comforts of your home? Try it out now at Uncle Chong’s Local Delights (Kuala Lumpur) on foodpanda!