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Mar 17, 2007 03:44 PM

Pulled Tea (Teh-Tarik)

How does it taste? Has anyone tried the packaged version? Is it sold anywhere in the US?

Bigjeff on the Food Media & News board provided a link to a blogger who put together these great collage mosaics of Asian food.

One of the collages was of Malaysian pulled tea

A little info on wiki about it

Tea with condensed milk and sometimes with ginger water added (teh halia) is poured back and forth ... pulled from one container to another ... to produce a froth ... sort of like cappuccino .

I haven't read a lot of favorable things about the taste though. Wiki says it is like "syrup and vending machine tea, the distinctive flavour of the tea leaves being obliterated by lashings of sugar and condensed milk."

What about the coffee version - kopi tarik? Any good? Anything like cappuccino?

It seems you can buy pulled tea bags now. Anyone tried them? Is this like buying bottled cappuccino ... not the same. I'm not clear from this tea review site if they liked it or not. They just said which brand tasted the best to them.

Do Malasian restaurants in the US ever serve this?

As long as I'm asking ... what is the deal with these tea acrobats? What country does that and why?

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  1. The tea used is very similar to that used in Thai iced tea.

    It's typically served by Indian drink (sarabat) stalls in Singapore. When made properly it can be balanced and invigorating, and is mostly sweetened by condensed milk, rarely so with sugar. I've had a satisfying version at Aneka Rasa in Boston, so it is definitely available in the US.

    1. Teh Tarik is a Malaysian drink which is basically strong black tea mixed with condensed milk, evaporated milk and sometimes sugar then "pulled" to create a froth on top. Pulling the tea also helps to cool it down somewhat. Not sure when it started but in Malaysia, they are found pretty much everywhere particularly Indian or Malay stalls.

      1. The pulling also oxygenates the tea mixture, which makes the flavor much more available to your tastebuds. Think of how tasters of wine and coffee test their samples, and you'll get the general idea. The ginger enlivens the flavor even more. I personally like it this way, as it is a surprisingly perfect match with tea, condensed milk, and sugar.

        4 Replies
        1. re: bulavinaka

          ...Mmmmm, I'm interested! Where can I find this in Southern California?

          1. re: liu

            Great question, but I personally don't know of any here... it's a true skill that I can't see being replicated by most. I actually tried doing this just with water from a pitcher to a glass and showered myself at first. Then, as I got a LITTLE better, I moved on to tea, and it wasn't the same. You might have some luck if you go to some of the Indian-intensive places in SoCal, like Artesia, as the tea-pullers were always Indian, and I can easily see this being applied to teas like Chai. I know that this method of tea is popular in Malaysia and Singapore, but it's getting harder to find restaurants in SoCal that first of all serve this kind of food, and then I personally don't know of any that do this method of tea. Sorry!

            1. re: bulavinaka

              Artesia -- good idea and we do enjoy walking the main boulevard there. Thanks!

              1. re: liu

                Good luck, and let us know if you strike gold! Thanks!

        2. I lived in Singapore for about a year and had pulled tea on many occasions. It is delicious and like nothing that I have ever had before. However, it is not thirst-quenching because it is too sweet and the predominance of fresh ginger makes it literally (chemically) hot. I thought for a long time that the vendors were adding chilis, or somethng with a capsaicin-like quality to it, but my Singaporean friends told me that it was just the intense ginger favor that gave it the "burny" quality. Don't get me wrong: I recommend it, but order something cold to quench your thirst.

          7 Replies
          1. re: gfr1111

            I agree that it's not so thirst-quenching. I looked at it more like a dessert. But the intensity of the ginger was something that I really enjoyed. It's kind of like using aftershave after shaving. Too me, it was very refreshing in the hot humid weather of Southeast Asia. Again, the pulling of the tea injects alot of air into the mix, thereby intensifying the availability of the flavors. Can you imagine if tea-pullers used chilli? I would normally get just the regular ginger tea that you could get everywhere - the kind that is served in plastic bags - which is something that is easier to duplicate here. But to experience a Teh Tarik again will probably have to wait until we go back to KL or Singapore.

            1. re: bulavinaka

              "But to experience a Teh Takik again will probably have to wait until we go backto KL or Singapore."

              Oh, let's not give up yet! Someone "out there" must know where in the LA area this is available...please do post! I'm not buying my ticket to Malaysia just yet!

              1. re: liu

                OK, so I have a defeatist attitude on this one... but to me it's like looking for a cobbler - any cobbler - in the Little India part of Singapore! Neither place seems to have the urban genetic makeup to fathom such great yet distinct food experiences of each other. However, who could have ever thought 20 years ago that boba would have a chance to become near-mainstream over here? Who knows... Country and Western music is popular in the Solomon Islands - would Teh Tarik be much further off the cross-cultural phenomenon scale? Maybe I should hold out for tall pour?

                1. re: bulavinaka

                  I hear 'ya! Los Angeles -- what a great city! I think it might just be possible here!

                2. re: liu

                  You wouldn't? I would in a heartbeat-- you know, if grad school hadn't turned out to be the worst money-making scheme ever.

                  1. re: PseudoNerd

                    PseudoNerd -- If anyone can find it in this city, I know YOU can...and what's more, I know you will!

                    Please do post while you are sipping!

                3. re: bulavinaka

                  btw.. the pulled tea flavoured with ginger is actually called 'teh halia' (in singapore), while the pulled tea without ginger is called 'teh tarik'. just in case you order teh tarik in singapore and wonder why its not spicy :)

              2. I will venture a partial guess concerning the tea acrobats. I know that some Chinese restaurants, both in China and in places like Singapore, feature tea masters who serve tea, typically eight treasures tea I believe, using those long-spouted pots and a variety of acrobatic moves.