On today’s “episode” of #ThirstyThursday, I got to thinking about a deep subject: milk tea has such a large grey area.
If the word ‘milk’ comes first, does that mean that it should taste mainly of milk?
But given that the word ‘tea’ is at the back, that should be the actual focus of the drink, right?
Just what is considered a legit milk tea?
For me, a milk tea can never be perfect without pearls — but that’s not that point. The point is: if I willingly buy a cup of milk tea without pearls, then it’s a legit milk tea. And I say this without a shadow of a doubt.
Trust me, I hardly ever buy milk tea on its own at Koi and LiHO.
Lan Fong Yuen Hong Kong Milk Tea
Yet, Lan Fong Yuen’s small cup of Hong Kong milk tea has got me coming back for more.
The best part? It costs you $2.80 at 7-Eleven and NTUC stores; that’s cheaper than Koi and LiHO (unless you’re a student).
What exactly made this famous brand, famous? We’re here to find out.
Truly Hong Kong
The beauty of this little cup of goodness is that it stays true to its name. Lan Fong Yuen’s Hong Kong Street Milk Tea is distinctly and irrefutably Hong Kong. Comparatively, Koi and LiHO’s cup of milk tea may taste like milk and tea, but there isn’t a place that I can attribute its taste to.
This milk tea is legit Hong Kong’s style, unlike our version which tastes predominantly of milk.
One sip in and the strong tea taste comes through immediately, reminiscent of our teh tarik. Why this was so surprising, was because the first few ingredients were occupied by condensed milk and sugar.
Intense Yet Not Overly Sweet
Yet, it doesn’t taste overly sweet when combined with the prominent tea taste. Having tried my friend’s 100% sugar Koi, this feels like a blessing.
If this were a drink at Koi, the sugar level would probably be 25%.
The intense tea flavour makes sense considering they used black tea, which is characterised by its bitter taste. With the condensed milk and sugar to cover up the bitterness, the heavy tea flavour is able to shine through amidst the subtle sweetness.
In terms of texture, this milk tea sits in the sweet spot between dilute and creamy. However, I would say that the texture is definitely thicker than Koi or LiHO.
The combination of intensity and texture gave rise to a flavour that continues to sit at the back of your throat for some time. Along with it, there is a tannic aftertaste to the milk tea (basically, a drying sensation).
Because of that, I would recommend drinking some water in between sips to make the experience more comfortable. For one, I definitely would not be able to finish the cup in one go.
Interestingly, there was also a cautionary note on the packaging (how could milk tea possibly be harmful?).
Apparently, insomniacs shouldn’t drink this at night because of the caffeinated black tea. If you’re particularly susceptible to caffeine, this is probably not a good idea at night too.
That being said, this cup of tea was extremely enjoyable despite its risks — if it could transport you to Hong Kong, it very well would with its signature taste.
Should You Buy This?
For $2.80, this small cup takes you on a mini trip to Hong Kong’s very own Lan Fong Yuen; and for that, I give this 4/5.
For those who have only ever known Koi and LiHO as their holy grail milk tea, this cup will surely bring the brands down their pedestal.