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5 Things You Didn't Know About Tea In Singapore

Teh is a serious culture in Singapore with deep roots in history, no matter what ethnic background you come from. For instance, did you know that teh tarik originated from the time of Indian-Muslim immigrants who set up drinks stands for the workers at rubber plantations around the Malay Peninsula after World War II? The Indians substituted their spiced chai for a tea that had heavier milk, hence creating teh tarik.

To celebrate Internationl Tea Day today (May 21), here are some other things you might now know about tea in Singapore:

1. What makes teh tarik so special?

Our unique spin on the Indian style of heavily sweetened milky black tea is teh tarik, which literally translates to ‘pulled tea’. Tea dust and condensed milk are mixed together in a long cotton tea filter and then repeatedly poured from one iron beaker to another. This theatrical ‘pulling’ mixes the tea and gives it a foamy, frothy appearance. In fact, it’s worth hopping over the border to watch Malaysia’s annual pouring competitions where teh artisans juggle tea through the air without spilling a drop.

2. Can’t decide between tea and a cappuccino?

Now you don’t have to. Ask for a teh cino at any hawker centre, for a cup half-filled with condensed milk, mixed with water and filled to the top with teh tarik. The resulting drink looks like a cappuccino, hence the name.

3. Teh Tarik-inspired foods

Can’t get enough of your teh Tarik fix? Luckily, there are many food products inspired by this milk tea flavour. The teh tarik KitKat, or as it’s officially known as KitKat Duo Milk Tea, is a rare commodity, as is King's Potong Teh Tarik ice cream multipack.

4. Bubble tea is officially food too

Think ice creams, croissants, hot pots, bread and pizza. Bubble tea is so popular, we’ve changed it into an edible treat. When you’re craving for something more than just the drink, check out the Bubble Tea Ice Cream at Shuang Yeh’s Boba Milk Tea ice-cream bars. 

6. What is Singapore’s most expensive tea?

That would be TWG Tea’s Gold Yin Zhen Tea at S$1,029.50 per 50g (currently OOS, in case you uh, had money to burn for this). The exclusive Yin Zhen white tea leaves (also known as silver needles), are plated with 24 carat gold and are sourced from the famous tea-producing Fujian region in China. Expect a warm aroma with notes of vanilla and caramel, with a woody mineral aftertaste. 

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