A Tale of Pulling Tea

Sweet times on the streets of Malaysia and Singapore.

This iconic hot milk tea beverage is an absolute staple of Malaysia and Singapore. It’s easily recognizable by the bubbly surface and small glass cups with handles – you’ll soon see people everywhere drinking it.

Teh Tarik means “pulled tea”, after the pouring action used when making it. After brewing “Tea Dust” through a stocking filter and adding a generous dose of condensed milk, the tea is pulled, or poured rapidly back and forth from great heights between two steel jugs. You can’t help admire the skill needed to do with without spilling a drop.

For a little extra kick try Teh Haliah which comes with ginger.

A glass of Teh Tarik costs around around 30 cents. It’s commonly served in Indian restaurants and roadside Mamak stalls. It seems especially popular with men who gather in small groups around a table and chat over a glass or two.

The sweetness of the condensed milk in Teh Tarik might come as a shock. You can ask for Teh Tarik kurang manis which in Malay means “less sweet”, or Teh-C which comes with unsweetened evaporated milk. The unsweetened version doesn’t come with the bubbly surface and tastes similar to Hong Kong style milk tea.

I have huge affection for Teh Tarik. My wanderings through Malaysia and Singapore wouldn’t have been the same without it.

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