Hong Kong is known for its milk tea, which originated during the city’s British colonial days, and with 900 million glasses consumed each year, it’s clear Hongkongers love a good cuppa. But with each outlet whipping up its own secret recipe, knowing where to find the crème de la crème of milky cha can be a challenge. Luckily for us, our friends over at Sam the Local have done the rounds to help avid tea drinkers find the perfect cup.
Milk tea has become a ubiquitous part of Hong Kong culture. Sweetened or unsweetened, hot or cold, Hongkongers drink it in the summer and winter with their breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner. Hong Kong milk tea is commonly made with a combination of black tea leaves, and is known for its smooth texture and depth of tea flavour. It is often referred to as “pantyhose milk tea” because the tea is poured through a sackcloth (generally a white bag with many small holes) several times, which eventually becomes dyed brown and looks like pantyhose. With time, however, the famous drink has evolved into many different varieties, and here are some of the best ones around.
1. Hot Milk Tea With Evaporated Milk (奶茶)
This is the most common method that is used to make milk tea in Hong Kong. It is made with a combination of tea leaves, evaporated milk (shops mostly use the Black and White brand because it leads to smoother milk tea), and then some sugar which you can add in yourself. In some cases, however, the sugar is already added for you. Simple yet satisfying, this is milk tea served the classic way.
Perfect for: Those who like their drinks served hot and not too sweet.
Where can you find this: Australia Dairy Company, 47-49 Parkes St., Jordan, (+852) 2730 1356
2. Hot Milk Tea With Condensed Milk (茶走)
This variety has the tea, but the evaporated milk and sugar is taken away, and replaced with condensed milk, giving it both the creamy milk flavour and sweetness. In the picture above, you can see the condensed milk at the bottom of the cup. Don’t forget to mix it up to get a nice, balanced favour.
Perfect for: Those who enjoy hot drinks, and want their tea pre-sweetened with a smoother texture.
Where can you find this: For Kee Restaurant, 200 Hollywood Rd., Sheung Wan, (+852) 2546 8947
3. Cold Milk Tea in a Cup (凍奶茶)
If you fancy something colder, you can ask for a cup of cold milk tea, which is basically milk tea served with ice. You can request to have less ice and/or less sugar in it too. Capital Cafe in Wan Chai is rumoured to use Hokkaido milk for its milk tea, and serves delicious scrambled eggs and condensed milk on toast to go with it!
Perfect for: Those who want a cold cup of this Hong Kong favourite.
Where can you find this: Capital Café, Shop B1, G/F, Kwong Sang Hong Building, 6 Heard Street, Wan Chai, (+852) 2666 7666
4. Cold Milk Tea in a Bottle (樽仔凍奶茶)
Traditionally, when ice was less accessible, milk tea was poured into empty soda bottles, such as Coca-Cola bottles, and then placed in the refrigerator to cool it down. Some restaurants still use the traditional glass bottles to store milk tea, while others such as Mrs Tang Cafe now use plastic bottles for that old-school nostalgia.
Perfect for: Those who want a unique spin on their milk tea and a taste of the old days.
Where can you find this: Mrs Tang Cafe, Shop 1, King Palace Plaza, 55 King Yip Street, Kwun Tong, (+852) 2617 3238
5. Cold Milk Tea in a Bowl of Ice (冰鎮奶茶)
There are some cafes in Hong Kong that really take into consideration the fact that some customers might not want their cold milk tea to be diluted by ice cubes. In this case, they take the cup or bottle and put it in a bowl of ice to keep the milk tea cold. Ingenious!
Perfect for: Those who want cold milk tea, but don’t want it watered down.
Where can you find this: Tai Hing, No. 75, G/F, NMP, 14 Science Museum Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, (+852) 2722 0701
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